duct testing

Duct Leak Testing: The Home Check You Never Knew You Needed

You are probably aware that the majority of homes force air through a duct system into the property for heating and cooling purposes. But did you know that leaks in the duct system of your home can cause massive issues? According to studies twenty-five percent of energy for cooling and heating the home can be wasted if the property has a poor duct system. With duct testing and sealing this issue can be eliminated.

How Does Your Duct System Work?

Your duct system is important through the winter months and the hotter seasons of the year. During the winter warm air is pushed through the home through the supply ducts while air from the house enters the system to be filtered and reheated.

In the summer months, cool air is pushed through while warm air is returned to be cooled and dehumidified. In many homes though, both processes are completely inefficient.

The Issues With Duct Leaks

The problem with duct systems is that air can leak out anywhere including:

  • Connections to vents or registers
  • Any joints
  • At any branches in the system
  • Between the furnace and the AC

Since there are so many places, it’s likely that your duct system has quite a few leaks. The issue here is obvious. With air leaking into your home, you get warm air that hasn’t been cooled and cool air that hasn’t been warmed. Dehumidified air may also escape leading to increased levels of moisture ,and generally, the whole system will need to work harder to keep your home the right temperature.

If you don’t know much about your duct system, don’t worry. It’s usually, totally out of sight and mind. That’s why you need to use tests to find a leak.

Testing Your Duct System

Using a duct system test as expert will:

  • Force air through the system under pressure
  • Measure airflow and pressure at different points
  • Determine whether there is a leak and where it is in the system

There are two types of tests that can be used. These are:

  • Duct Blaster Test – With this method all the supply and return vents are sealed. After this, air is pressurized and forced through the duct system using a Duct Blaster. Air flow is then measured to check and identify a leak. Typically an issue can be fixed immediately.
  • Blower Door Test – With a blow door test a box is placed over the door of the house to pressurize the home and the duct system. Differences within the system can then be measured to, once again, identify a leak. This method can also check for any leaks allowing air to escape inside the home itself.

While these are the two main options, there are other tests currently being evaluated for use.

How Do You Seal Leaks Once They Are Found?

There are 3 recommended ways to seal leaks once they are discovered. These are:

  • Aerosol sealants – providing a fast, efficient and effective solution if you have the product you can seal a leak in minutes.
  • Foil tape – using tape with mastic backing is a great option for quickly fixing up leaks
  • Duct mastic – This thick paste will form a tight seal that is completely permanent

Some people use cloth duct tape; however, this does tend to eventually come free.

Be aware, it’s important to run a second leak test to make sure the solution is effective.

Why Are Sealing Leaks So Important?

You might be wondering why sealing leaks in your duct system are so crucial. Well, if you have leaks, you are certainly going to spend more on heating and cooling your home. Ultimately, you’ll need to keep the system on for longer but use far more air overall. Particularly if you’re looking for a certain level of comfort or you want your home to be at the right temperature.

Ultimately, you will lose a quarter of the power of the air you are pumping into your home. So, if you have a four-ton air con system, you might only be getting the equivalent of three tons, but you will still be paying the same price.

As well as this, sealing your leaks will also mean that you can heat or cool your home a lot faster. You might even find you can get a smaller system if it’s operating at the highest efficiency.

Don’t forget that air won’t just be leaving through the leak; it could be entering as well. This means unclean air filled with anything from moisture to pollutants and even pesticides could be pumping into your home right now. So to summarise fix the leaks and you’ll:

  • Save a lot on energy
  • Keep clean air into your home
  • Improve the efficiency of your system and your home

If you think there is a leak in your duct system, get it tested and you can seal any leaks almost immediately.

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