Finding Duct Leaks

Seal Your Ducts For Increased HVAC Efficiency

One of the most common configurations of equipment for heating and cooling a home is a furnace and air conditioner. These two machines are placed in a central location and the hot or cold air they generate is then pushed through all parts of a house through a system of ducts. If you are looking for improved Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, or HVAC, performance, you should look into sealing holes in your ducts.

How Ducts Develop Leaks

As a fan pushes heated or cooled air through your system of ducts, the air exerts outward pressure against the walls of your ducts. This pressure is not enough to cause immediate damage, but after a few years of constant pressure and constant cycles of heating and cooling, leaks develop in the joints and seams. The more leaks develop, the more air they syphon away from your HVAC system, and the longer it takes to heat or cool your home. In other words, leaky ducts make your HVAC system inefficient—up to 40% less efficient than they should be.  

Locating Leaks

If your ducts are buried behind the walls of your home, you will have no choice but to call in a duct company to inspect your ducts. They will have to use special scopes to inspect the interior of your ducts. On the other hand, if you have exposed ducts running through an unfinished attic, basement, or crawlspace, you can use the following steps to conduct your own inspection:

1. Turn your thermostat to the "fan" position. 

2. Grab a stick of incense, a marker, and a match and access your ducts.

3. Light the incense and run it along the joints and seams in your ducts. 

4. Use the marker to mark any place where air escaping from your ducts disturbs the smoke from the incense.

Sealing Your Ducts

Once you have finished inspecting your ducts, you can use duct mastic to seal the ducts. Simply turn your thermostat to the off position and use a paintbrush or putty knife to lay on a thick coat of mastic. Give the mastic time to dry before you turn your thermostat back on. 

Sealing leaky ducts is not too difficult as long as you can access your ducts. On the other hand, if you can't access your ducts, then you will need to call in a duct company to do the work for you. Even with the cost of a service call, you will end up saving money in the long run. Contact local professionals, such as those from A Absolute Plumbing & Heating, for further assistance.