Air ducts are often out of sight, out of mind. As long as your home is staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer, you’re probably not too worried about what goes on behind the scenes. Unfortunately, dirty and leaky air ducts reduce the efficiency of your entire HVAC system. This means that you pay more money to be less comfortable. So, what can you do about it?
Duct sealing is one way to improve your system’s efficiency and experience better indoor air quality. Duct sealing simply involves blocking all holes, leaks, and cracks in your ductwork, usually with an aerosol. Sealing your ducts keeps your conditioned air in and dust, debris, and other contaminants out.
As a professional air duct cleaner in southern Colorado, Planet Duct is here to explain common duct-sealing methods and how to know if you need to have your air ducts professionally inspected.
Signs of Leaky Air Ducts
If your home is suffering from uncomfortable temperatures, energy bills that are too high, and a dust-filled environment, you may have leaky air ducts. The most obvious signs of air duct leakage include:
• Uninsulated or unsecured access panels
• Visible gaps between joints
• Cracks in the ductwork
• Clogged air filters
• High energy bills in both winter and summer
If you notice any of these signs, contact a professional HVAC technician to have them inspect your ducts for damage.
Is Duct Sealing Worth It?
The short answer is: absolutely. Energy Star estimates that 20-30% of the air that moves through your home’s duct system is lost through leaks, holes, or poorly connected ducts.
Duct sealing can reduce your energy bills and keep your home more comfortable. Another benefit of duct seal is that it improves your home’s air quality. Sealing air ducts keeps dust, dirt, dander, spores, and other pollutants out – reducing the risk of respiratory illnesses or allergies by keeping indoor air healthier overall.
Duct Sealing Methods
There are four main methods of duct sealing that you can choose from:
- A duct lining, like Duct Armor
When choosing a duct sealing method, you’ll want to consider cost, durability, and whether you’re willing to hire a professional for installation.
Taping holes in your ductwork is by far the cheapest option. In this case, however, you get what you pay for. If you only have 1 or 2 leaks in your system and you’re willing to check the tape often, you might be okay. But the adhesive will come apart and lose its stickiness over time, leaving you right back where you started. If you decide to tape your ductwork as a temporary solution use foil or butyl tape, NEVER duct tape.
Mastic is a sticky sealant that you can apply to leaks and holes with a paintbrush or caulking gun. This adhesive is much more durable than tape, but can also be rather messy. In addition, if the hole or crack you’re trying to patch is bigger than a quarter inch, mastic alone may not be enough.
Aeroseal is one of the more expensive duct sealing options, but is also highly effective and provides long-lasting results. An Aeroseal technician will come to your house to apply the aerosol duct treatment. First, they will block all vents and registers with foam plugs and then hook flexible tubing up to your duct system through a temporary access hole.
The entire system will be pressurized to check for leaks before the sealant is released. Aeroseal is very precise, using the exact amount of sealant needed to seal holes and cracks. You’ll even get a comparison of how much air escapes the pressurized ducts before and after Aeroseal treatment.
Duct Armor is a water-based latex lining that you can have professionally installed in your home. It is applied directly to the inside of your ductwork and once it dries, it creates a seamless barrier between the ducts and any dust or debris that may be outside.
In addition to providing an effective way to keep contaminants out of your home, Duct Armor also helps improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. The lining acts as an insulator, meaning less energy is lost through ducts when air temperature changes.
DIY Duct Sealing
While DIY duct sealing may seem like a desirable option to save money, homeowners should consider the potential risks before opting for this route. DIY duct sealing can be difficult as it requires precision work to identify and address all leaks in your HVAC system. Not only can a poorly sealed system result in heating or cooling losses, but also allows contaminants into your ductwork that can lead to odors and respiratory issues.
Additionally, without professional support, system performance issues can go unnoticed. A good duct sealing contractor will also perform air quality tests to ensure your system is safe. That said, DIY duct sealing can be suitable in some cases—just be sure to use quality materials and follow all safety precautions.
Schedule a Duct Sealing Appointment
Duct sealing is a great way to improve indoor air quality, reduce energy costs and make sure your HVAC system is functioning as efficiently as possible. Consider scheduling a duct sealing appointment with Planet Duct if you think there may be an issue with your system. We offer Aeroseal and Duct Armor services that are tailored to meet your specific needs. Don’t wait—contact us today to find out more.