You probably don't think about your home's duct system, but you should. A typical duct system can lose up to 40 percent of conditioned air that flows through it. By making a few adjustments and having yearly maintenance done, you can save up to 20 percent on your heating and cooling costs every year.
Why should you check your ducts for leaks? In addition to allowing heated air to escape the duct system and flow into dead spaces between the walls and floor boards, leaky ducts also allow unfiltered air into the system. This can bring in poor quality air from between the walls, in the garage or in the attic spaces. It can also lead to increased humidity, leading to mold and mildew problems.
What causes a leaky duct system? The constant heating and cooling of the ducts causes them to expand and contract, putting strain on the joints. Mastic sealant, metal tape and other duct-joining materials often lose their adhesive properties over time. This can lead to small leaks. In addition, when the air pressure in a room increases (due to a door being slammed or a window being shut), this extra pressure forces air back into the duct system. This air puts more pressure on the ducts and may force its way out in the weakest spots.
Where are leaks located? Leaks are usually found at duct joints, near the air handler and near vents. A line of dust near the joint is a common sign of a leak.
How should you seal a leaky duct system? Any leaks that you can identify can be sealed with mastic or acrylic-adhesive foil tape. Do not use standard duct tape. It will dry out and fail because of the rubber-based glue.
Tips for Maximizing Your Ductwork Efficiency
- Add weatherstripping to the inside edge of your registers to prevent air leaks.
- Move furniture and rugs away from the registers to avoid compromising air flow.
- Check and change your HVAC system air filter regularly.
If you suspect a leaky duct system in your Fort Wayne area home, please contact us at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning, proudly serving the Fort Wayne area for 50 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about leaky duct systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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