Air conditioner (AC) air ducts are central to the operation of the AC. It's the air ducts that carry stale air out of the rooms and bring fresh conditioned air back. This means you have a real problem on your hands if your air ducts are running inefficiently. Here are the specific dangers associated with malfunctioning air ducts:
Increased Energy Bills
One of the worst things about leaking air ducts is reduced energy efficiency. The energy efficiency comes in because the leaks allow conditioned air to escape. This means outside (unconditioned air) will flow into the house to replace the lost conditioned air. The outside air has to be conditioned again, and this makes the AC work run longer than usual, leading to increased energy bills.
Poor Air Quality
Your air conditioner doesn't just cool your home; it also filters the air you breathe. This means if you are losing conditioned air, you are also losing clean air (that has passed through the filters). This allows outside air, which is dirty, to enter the house. Poor air quality can cause short-term health problems such as dizziness and headaches, as well as long-term health problems such as cardiovascular and respiratory ailments.
Another common problem with leaking air ducts is that they tend to create hot and cold spots in the house, which is a classic symptom of uneven heating. This happens because some of the rooms will be receiving conditioned air while others (whose ducts are leaking) will remain warm.
Leaking air ducts can also create moisture problems in your house. This happens when the return air ducts (if they are leaking) suck in moist air and deposits the moisture in different parts of the house. Note that increased humidity increases the risk of mold growth.
Frequent AC Malfunctions
Lastly, you are also in for a flurry of AC breakdowns if your air ducts are leaking. This is because you will be losing conditioned air and forcing your AC to run continuously in a bid to clean and condition dirty air from the outside. Such an overworked AC is more likely to break down than one that is running within its optimal parameters.
Professionally installed and maintained air ducts are not likely to experience frequent failures. However, with old age, even the best-maintained air ducts are likely to experience a few problems. Contact a maintenance for HVAC service for more information and assistance.