I live in a 6 year old condo. My wife and I have always thought that the HVAC system never seemed to work all that well in either heat or cooling mode (you have to crank temp. setpoints up/down excessively). I checked the burners in the winter and refrig. system in the summer but everything has always checked out KO. Not too long ago, I opened up a 4"x4" hole in the ceiling in our lower level to fish some alarm cable through the ceiling. While I was working, the blower came on and all the drywall dust that I had just created was blown through the hole directly into my face. Suddenly, it ocurred to me that the problem may be due to a break in one (or more) of the duct joints. The problem is, the duct work is installed above our lower level ceiling (drywall) and completely hidden. Plumbers often use cameras mounted on long, flexible cables to check out u/g sewers, pipes, etc. Is there any type of similar device that an HVAC contractor/tech could fish into the ductwork to determine if (and perhaps where) we have a break in our system, precluding the need to destroy our entire lower level ceiling?
Thanks in advance,
seal all pipe & wire penetrations in attic, along with sealing around elec boxes --
you have a leak, use the $ to fix, rather than further testing
Check out ;
no camera or access needed to repair duct leaks,it's "fix a flat" for your duct system.
This is an interesting problem. Your ductwork is leaking and is located between the attic floor drywall and the ceiling drywall for the home as I understand it from the information you provided. Now 99% of the time sealing for leaks is the proper remedy and aeroseal is pricey but your best and only option in the described situation.
However you should have an HVAC contractor determine the extent of the leakage there are various ways to do this from a delta q test which is the most accurate or a ductblaster test.
If the leakage is minor you may be better off doing nothing
as you are conditioning the space your duct is in through the leakage. Sealing if it is minor leakage would then make the duct in unconditioned space and depending on the length of the ducts could actually cause your system to be less efficient due to the heat gain the ducts would recieve from being in unconditioned space after the ducts were sealed.
This determination would have to be made and elevaluated by either a HVAC contractor or possibly some home performance raters may be capable of doing it as well.
if you wanted to send a camera thru ducts to see if something was wide open you could contact a duct cleaning company. ask if they have video inspec equip. then you could measure how far in problem is and only disturb small area of ceiling.