Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Sealing your HVAC ducts - Why it’s important and how to do it?

We all want an HVAC system that’s energy efficient. If you’ve tried everything from changing the air filters, to using a programmable thermostat, for lowering energy bills but nothing is working, then your ducts may be the issue. Leakage in ducts can affect a family’s comfort, and in a lot of cases you can easily fix the issue on your own.

What is duct leakage?

Leakage in ducts occurs when the conditioned air inside the house escapes the duct system via loosely connected ducts, holes, or incorrectly sealed duct connections. Leaky ducts lead to loss of 20 to 30 percent of the conditioned air running through the HVAC system. Duct leakage does not only decrease a house’s efficiency, but it may also release debris and dust from areas that surround the ducts into the air and increase energy bills.

Signs you have leaky ducts:

Duct leaks can slowly decrease an HVAC system’s efficiency. Here are a few telltale signs that your ductwork is leaking:

1. Your system is running, but you find some rooms cooler/ warmer than the others
2. Your energy bills have increased
3. Your rooms become dusty as you turn the unit on
4. You see peeling metal tape, sealant, or duct tape where some gaps or holes may have been taped up at an earlier time
5. The ductwork in your house is visibly tangled, crushed, or kinked

All the signs mentioned above signal towards an expensive duct leakage issue that may decrease an HVAC’s efficiency.

How to find out where the ducts are leaking?

The best place to begin your search is by analyzing the exposed ductwork. In case you have tile ceilings that are removable, remove them and look for ductwork. Are there any poorly connected joints? Do you see holes as a result of wear and tear, or tangled ductwork?

In case you don’t see any obvious leakage signs, use smoke test for locating problem areas. Turn the system to its fan setting and use incense. Pass the incense smoke over the exposed ducts. In case the smoke is pulled into or blown away from the joint, then you are experiencing leakage.

How to fix leaking ducts?

There are a few simple solutions that can help you fix the problem.

1. Seal the joints

If you see any loose connections, holes, or leaky joints, seal them with a duct mastic sealant or tape. Unlike conventional, rubber duct tape, sealants are more durable and offer better strength.

2. Inspect your vents and registers

Are the vents properly connected? If not, make sure you tighten the wall vents and seal gaps between the register connections and duct system to make sure you are not losing any valuable air. Creating tight connections can help you avoid leakage and keep the system running proficiently.

If you follow the tips mentioned above and still find your energy bills on the higher side then it is best to get in touch with a reputed HVAC expert.