Experts estimate that leaky ducts can cost you hundreds of dollars in energy bills. Every time your HVAC unit kicks in, you’re bleeding money if you have leaky ducts.
So what do you do when you suspect such a problem? Do you need an entirely new duct system?
If you suspect that you have leaky ducts, you are in luck. A simple duct sealing job will keep conditioned air where it belongs and lower your energy bill at the same time. You don’t have to have a complete duct replacement to fix a leaky duct.
By the time you finish reading this article, you will understand why you need to have your ducts sealed and how to seal them properly.
The Problem of Leaky Ducts
Typical poorly-sealed duct systems lose approximately 40 percent of cooling and heating energy.
Every time your HVAC system kicks in, if your ducts leak, the cooled or heated air will leak into areas that you do not need heated or cooled such as your floor area or ceiling where the ducts lie.
This also means that you’re using precious energy to adequately cool and heat your home. Energy resources such as fossil fuels are precious. Every bit matters.
Thus when you seal your ducts, not only are you saving money, but you’re solving the bigger problem of a potential energy crisis.
You’re also saving your HVAC system. Picture yourself breathing through a straw as you run. Eventually, your respiratory system will collapse.
In the same way, leaky ducts will compromise the longevity of your HVAC system.
Benefits of Duct Sealing
When you have your ducts sealed, you prevent the loss of heated and cooled air. Sealing your ducts has several other benefits, though.
Reduce Dust and Dirt
Your return air duct sucks all air into your HVAC system. When you seal your ductwork, you keep your air cleaner.
Dust and dirt will sit around the outside of your ducts. As the return air ducts suck air into your system, the leaks will also allow dirt and dust into the ducts. Thus sealing the ducts will keep the dirt and dust where it belongs.
Because you’re keeping cool and warm air in the ducts, you will ultimately save money. The conditioned air moves swiftly from the conditioner in the HVAC system to the room where you want it.
If your ducts leak, your room won’t be as warm or cool as you want. Your HVAC system will continue to work hard and thus cost you more money.
Be a Responsible Consumer
When you have your ducts sealed, you ultimately save money, have cleaner air, and save the earth. You are a responsible consumer by using as few resources as possible to achieve the same effect of a cool or warm home. You end up using less fuel, and as a result, you contribute positively to a cleaner world.
How to DIY Seal a Duct
Before you call in the experts to seal your ducts, you need to determine if you have leaky ducts. Begin with a brief inspection on your own. Follow the line of your ducts and see if you see visible leaks or debris moving near them when your HVAC system is on.
Examine the ducts carefully for signs of rodents. You may find flexible ductwork that a rodent has chewed through. You may also find rodent droppings in the ductwork.
If you don’t currently have an HVAC company cleaning your ducts annually, schedule a duct cleaning the right way. Such a service will also help you identify if you have any leaks.
If you have small leaks, you may be able to seal the duct yourself. You can use duct tape or duct sealant. Specialized duct sealant will fill gaps and cracks in the ductwork.
In a pinch, use duct tape. If you have time, use duct sealant.
If you’re using silicone duct sealant, wear gloves. Then cover the sealant with a fabric mesh. The fabric mesh will help your joint stay flexible.
You can also use construction-grade tape or tin tape, though this may fall off after a while.
Contractor Duct Sealing Process
If you have a big problem, call a contractor. If you suspect you have several breaches or just bad ducts in general, a contractor can help you best. Plus, an HVAC professional can evaluate the quality of your duct system overall.
Here’s the basic process of what an HVAC contractor will do.
- Inspect all of the ducts in your home
- Detect duct leaks and problems
- Repair duct sections
- Replace entire duct sections
- Straighten bent and kinked ducts
- Tighten loose ductwork
- Plug holes, cracks, and breaches with construction-grade tape and seal
- Seal connections with specialized mastic, metal tape, and sealant
- Test the facility for carbon monoxide leaks
- Secure ducts to vents and registers
The HVAC professional will ensure you not only have sealed ducts but a safe home as well. They have the tools to reach the out-of-the-way ducts that you may not even know exist. They run indoor air quality tests as well to ensure your family is safe.
Seal the Ducts and Save
When you conduct a DIY duct sealing job or have a professional seal your ducts, you save in multiple ways. Your energy bill will go down, and you use fewer resources. You also save yourself the worry of wondering if your air quality is safe.
Do you suspect that you have leaky ducts? If so, contact us. Our full-service HVAC and plumbing company serves the greater St. Louis area.
We have served customers in St. Louis and the surrounding areas for over 40 years with our family-owned business that provides high-quality services at affordable prices.