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Duct Leaks: The Monster in Your Home

air-duct-sealingSome homes have a monster inside them, and it’s responsible for eating up all the cooling energy. The cost to feed this monster can cost more than a quarter of your energy expenses. Worst of all, it never stops eating.

Just what is this monster? None other than leaks inside your ductwork!

Duct leaks are one of the biggest contributors to wasteful cooling and heating in Panama City, but fortunately, it can be stopped with the help of an HVAC contractor. We’ll explain how.

Why Are Duct Leaks a Problem?

Your ductwork requires an air-tight seal in order to distribute cooled or heated air throughout your home. Without this seal intact, you’ll find that some of the rooms do not receive enough air, and that will force your HVAC system to run longer. That’s one source of inefficiency caused by duct leaks.

The main cause of inefficiency, however, is from the leak itself. Any air that flows through the ducts will inevitably have to go past that leak. Whether it’s a tear in flexible ductwork or a disconnect between duct sections, a leak will suck up any air that passes. Energy Star has found that up to 30% of your airflow can be lost through these leaks.

How Do They Form?

The most common cause of duct leaks is often general aging combined with wear and tear. You shouldn’t anticipate duct leaks in your new HVAC system, but you will need to consider the age of the ducts themselves. If your home was not built for you, the current duct system may be overdue for a duct inspection.

Other ways that ducts form is through an infestation of pests. Rodents in your attic have been known to chew through flexible duct materials. It’s also not uncommon for someone working in the attic, perhaps installing insulation, to accidentally knock loose a section of ducts.

How Do They Get Fixed?

Before any repairs can be done, it’s essential to have a duct test performed by a professional. A duct test includes a measurement of the air pressure in the ducts, providing a definitive answer on whether or not the ducts have leaks. Then, various methods are used to pinpoint the location of each leak.

After finding all the leaks, the contractor will then seal the ducts using the appropriate methods. There are many different methods, but the most common is to apply epoxy to seal all the leaks. Then, they’ll wrap it with a special tape that can withstand the fluctuating temperatures in the ducts.

Is This a DIY Project?

Given the right tools, you might be able to seal some of the leaks yourself. However, doing a proper job is what’s going to be difficult.

An aging duct system will most likely have more than one leak, and they won’t always be visible or audible without the right tools. A DIY approach simply cannot ensure that all the leaks are discovered. Plus, if you do manage to seal all the leaks, you’ll need to make sure the ducts have the proper air pressure. Improper air pressure can cause damage to the actual HVAC unit itself, so it’s essential that you have a professional making all your repairs for you.

For any questions about duct testing and sealing, contact Alexander Air Conditioning, Inc.

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