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How do I Seal my Leaky Ducts?

Many consumers are looking for ways to save money through home improvements. Home sealing makes a huge difference in reducing heat exchange. Ducts are particularly important because of their integral role in the comfort control of your home. Your ducts represent approximately 40 percent of your HVAC-related energy costs, and leaky ducts can cause this number to rise. However, duct sealing really isn’t an ideal DIY project.

The Importance of Professional Diagnostics

A guess and check approach to duct diagnostics and repair can be ineffective at solving your energy usage problems. If you suspect that you have leaky ducts, you can do a simple check at your major intake and return ducts if they are accessible. Hold a piece of tissue near the joints while your system is operating. A leak in a return duct connection will cause the tissue to move away while a leak at the intake area will cause the tissue to cling to the joint.

Unfortunately, these aren’t the areas that are of greatest concern. The system of ducts branches off into walls, floors or ceiling spaces. Some ducts are installed in attics or basements. These unseen and sometimes inaccessible segments of your ductwork are tough to diagnose for leaks without the assistance of an expert. Professionals are equipped with tools like remote cameras, helpful for visually checking the interior areas of the ductwork. They are also trained to perform pressure tests to assess the airflow through the system. An HVAC technician takes the guesswork out of dealing with potential leaks.

Proper Materials for Duct Sealing

It’s a common perception that duct tape is the ideal product for sealing leaks. However, this material can lose its stickiness over time and disconnect from duct joints. There are different types of tapes and sealants used by HVAC professionals to take care of leaks. The location and nature of a leak may play a role in the material used for sealing.

Damaged Ducts

In some cases, a home’s ducts may be disconnected or damaged. The material from which the ductwork is made can be a factor. Leaks due to deterioration of duct materials may require the replacement of some sections. Mold damage could also lead to the need for renovation. When your ductwork is professionally inspected, you can benefit from an overall assessment of the condition of your ducts.

Having Your System Inspected

There are a few ways to initiate service if you need to have your ducts checked for leaks or other problems. These include:

  • Scheduling a duct inspection – this will target issues with your ducts and result in relevant recommendations
  • Having an energy audit performed – if your concern is related to high bills, this comprehensive evaluation of your home’s performance will include an assessment of leaks in your home
  • Requesting an HVAC tune-up – duct diagnostics are part of your seasonal optimization service

Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning is prepared to assist with any of these needs in your Fairfax County, VA home.  Please feel free to give us a call for additional information.

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