No matter what you do to ensure your heating and air conditioning units are in top form, if the air ducts through which they send heated or cooled air are leaky, much of the attention that you’ve given to these units is going for naught.
Getting your Ducts in a Row
Up to 20 percent of the air generated by a home’s HVAC units can be lost due to leaky ducts, according to the ENERGY STAR program. Leaky ductwork can put a homeowner at a disadvantage in more than a few ways. When air from a forced-air furnace or air conditioning unit seeps through holes, cracks or spaces in a home’s ductwork, these units have to work harder to heat or cool the home. This results in wasted energy, dollars and increased wear and tear on equipment.
In order to make sure a home’s HVAC system is operating at peak efficiency, homeowners should carefully inspect their ductwork for even the smallest openings that may be allowing air to leak through. Special attention should be paid to areas such as attachment and connection points, curved sections of ductwork and around vents and registers.
Areas within ductwork that are open or not thoroughly sealed can be addressed by applying UL-approved mastic sealant tape, foil tape or other heat-approved sealants. Adding insulation to ductwork in areas such as basements or crawlspaces is also extremely helpful.
Additionally, there are likely to be “hidden” or hard-to-access sections of ductwork within a home. Although a homeowner may be perfectly capable of adequately sealing a good percentage of ductwork leaks on their own, it would be wise to contact a heating and cooling professional to ensure all ductwork in the home is tightly sealed.