Your home’s duct work can be robbing you of 10-30% of your heating or cooling. Building Codes recently changed to require that duct work be sealed when it is installed, and now in some communities, the ducts must be tested to prove they are sealed. That’s good news for homeowners and for the environment. But, if your home’s duct work is more than 7 years old, they are probably not sealed. Leaky ducts can be the cause of poor air flow that results in uneven temperature distribution in the home – some rooms are too hot or too cold.
Leaky ducts running through unconditioned attics and/or crawlspaces can result in serious energy and money waste, and potential indoor air quality issues. Leaky ducts pull air into the house, and you don’t know from where. I have seen many homes with significant gaps and openings in the ducts that pull in air from damp crawlspaces and musty attics. A well sealed system will improve the comfort of your home, reduce the operating costs, and save money. Take a look for yourself. Check your ducts (if you can) and look all the connections. Are they sealed? Duct tape does not count since it doesn’t seal. Proper sealing uses a thick mastic that is painted onto every connection and seam, and in some cases has mesh tape embedded in the mastic. I bet you will be able to find places where you can see the leaky seams, holes and gaps in the ducts. A good clue is to look for dust gathered around a small opening in the return lines, or moving cobwebs around supply lines. Learn more from the Energy Star brochure on Duct Sealing. Click Here
How leaky are your ducts? The best way to find out is with a duct pressure test. In a full home energy audit, a duct test evaluates the duct leakage and determine how much leakage goes outside the home (serious energy loss).