EL CAJON, CALIFORNIA-Saving money on energy costs could be as simple as sealing ductwork throughout your home or business.

When ducts are well-designed they keep your home cool in the summer and warm in winter, improve indoor air quality by minimizing pollutants and allergens in the air, and help you conserve energy and money on utility bills.

“If you have leaky or poorly designed ductwork, you are wasting money on utility bills and could be compromising your family’s comfort and health,” says Gabriel Carini, an El Cajon air conditioning and heating expert.

The telltale signs of bad ductwork are rooms with drastic temperature variations-hard to keep cool in summer and too cold in winter, chemical smells infiltrating the indoor air, excessive dust, stuffy rooms that never seem to feel comfortable and steadily rising utility bills. If you notice any or all of these, it is probably in your best interest to have the duct system examined for leaks, blockages or poor design.

“Duct systems that are efficient and well-designed will distribute air properly throughout your home without leaking, keeping all of the rooms at a comfortable temperature,” says Carini, a Lakeside cooling and heating provider of more than a decade.

The most common culprits are leaky, torn, and disconnected ducts, poorly sealed registers and grills, leaks at furnace and filter slot, and kinks in flexible ductwork restricting airflow. Some ducts are installed in dropped ceilings, in corners of rooms, into the attic or built into raised floors, but they should always be well-sealed regardless of where they are.

Average Californians use 30 percent of their total energy usage for heating and cooling their homes, according to the California Energy Commission, and they estimate that 30 percent of that conditioned air goes to waste due to leaks or poorly designed ductwork.

“This one improvement can yield substantial rewards, both in comfort and reduced energy bills, without a large upfront cost. By sealing duct leaks, a homeowner can save 10 to 20 percent of the energy required to heat and cool a home,” Carini says.

There are other simple and effective ways to improve and maintain the HVAC system and keep the home cooler. Insulation for any uninsulated ductwork is a good first step but also keep furniture and other objects from blocking the air flow through registers, change filters regularly and vacuum or dust registers to remove any dust buildup.

Schedule an appointment with a La Mesa air conditioning repair and service technician from Carini Heating, Air and Plumbing to find out if your home has leaky ductwork and how you can benefit from sealing or reconfiguring it.