Leaky ductwork contributes to significant energy waste in many homes. In a typical home, 20 percent of the air that travels through the ductwork is lost through leaks, according to the U.S. government’s Energy Star program.
Sealing the cracks and gaps in your HVAC system’s air-delivery system will eliminate much of this energy waste. Sealing your ducts will also improve the air quality in your home by preventing contaminants from entering the ductwork through holes.
To increase energy efficiency and reduce contaminants:
- Check your accessible ductwork for leaks. Pay special attention to the connections between ducts and look for any holes in the ductwork. Use your hand to feel for any slight drafts along the lengths of your accessible ducts. Use a a tissue to test for leaks in return ducts (the ducts that deliver air from your living spaces back to your cooling or heating equipment). If the tissue is pulled toward the duct, you have a leak.
- You can seal many ducts yourself. Seal leaks using duct mastic and foil tape. Replace any duct tape with foil tape for a tighter seal. Fabric-backed “duct tape” is actually inadequate for the job.
- Call an HVAC contractor to repair leaks in hard-to-reach ducts. HVAC technicians have special tools that help them repair the ducts that you can’t.
Another tip for boosting energy efficiency: Remove blockages to airflow. Check the area around all your accessible vents and grilles. Make sure rugs, drapes or curtains, furniture or other potential obstructions aren’t hindering the airflow to and from your ductwork. Check the ductwork itself for kinks (in flexible ducting) that might be hindering airflow.
For more information about sealing your ducts or improving the air quality and energy efficiency of your home, contact the experts at Conditioned Air. We serve homeowners throughout Southwest Florida.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Ductwork image via Shutterstock