HVAC System in Your Crawl Space? You May Be Breathing Dirty Air
Customers frequently call us to come out and perform a mold inspection when they smell moldy, musty odors or feel generally unwell when in their home. In these situations, one of the first components we check is the HVAC system, especially when it’s located in the crawl space.
5 Reasons the Crawl Space is the Wrong Place for Your HVAC System
The location of your HVAC system is more important than many people think, and the crawl space may be the most unfavorable area to house your HVAC system.
- Access to the unit is often limited and difficult.
- If your air filter is located at the unit, you have to change it either by ducking into the crawl space yourself, or by hiring someone to do it for you.
- Crawl spaces are almost always humid, dirty, and full of stagnant air.
- Even the best HVAC systems are prone to leaks. HVAC systems may leak at the supply, return, or air filter cover. Leaks in the HVAC system reduce the system’s efficiency, increase heating and cooling costs and potentially introduce dirty, unfiltered air into the living space of the home.
- An HVAC system can add moisture to a crawl space through condensation or leaking condensate drain/lines. More moisture means that you are more likely to have problems with mold.
Is Your HVAC System Sucking in Nasty Crawl Space Air?
A leak in the supply or return lines can suck dirty air into the ducts and blow it directly into your home. On several occasions, we have performed inspections where the only real problem was that the HVAC system was sucking in unfiltered air.
We’ve discovered disconnected supply and return ducts, loose and leaking joints between sections of ductwork. We have seen missing air filters and covers, and unsealed ductwork. We have even seen holes chewed into flex ducts by rodents, rodents—dead and alive—inside ductwork.
In a particularly bad situation, air filters are located inside the floor or walls inside the home, and there is a leak in the return ducts. In this case, airflow is slightly restricted by the filters. Like water, air will take the path of least resistance. Unfiltered air from the crawl space will be drawn directly into the return ducts. This dirty air is then heated or cooled, and blown directly back into the living space through the supply ducts.
Improperly sealed and leaking returns and supplies are more common in older homes, but newer homes are not immune to these problems.
How Branch Environmental Can Help
At Branch Environmental, we provide comprehensive packages that address the air quality inside your home, basement, and crawl space.
Call us at 706-418-2728 or schedule an appointment online today. We can help if you need a basement assessment, crawl space inspection, or indoor air quality inspection. As part of our inspection, we will check your HVAC system for signs of leaks that could negatively impact your indoor air quality.
To learn more about factors that affect the air you breathe inside your home, check out our other posts about indoor air quality and mold.
Branch Environmental – Because nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick.
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