Importance of ductwork sealing

How To Save Money By Sealing Ductwork From The Inside Of Your Iowa Home

August 13, 2021

After having a professional service your furnace or A/C, you expect your home to be comfortable and for the temperature to be even throughout your home. That won't be the case if you have leaky air ducts that go unaddressed.

The next time you’re due for routine HVAC maintenance, ask your HVAC professional to thoroughly inspect your air ducts and seal your ductwork as needed. This service isn’t typically included in a routine maintenance visit, so be prepared to ask about the additional cost of repairing and fixing any ductwork issues that your technician finds.

How Leaky Ductwork Impacts Energy Efficiency & Home Comfort In Iowa

Air ducts are designed to transport conditioned airflow to various rooms of your home. If your ductwork system is designed and installed to HVAC-industry standards, you should be able to easily adjust your indoor temperature and enjoy quality home comfort.

However, in older homes, you’ll often find air duct systems that were designed and installed cheaply using inferior sealing materials that break down or unravel over time. In the end, leaky duct seams or fallen ducts prevent balanced airflow and even temperatures. This means one area of your house will end up too cold and another too hot. This also means your HVAC equipment will be working harder to keep you comfortable, and you’ll end up paying more for your inefficient heating and cooling system to run.

To avoid these issues and more, check your air ducts and make sure they’re properly sealed.

Benefits of Sealing Your Air Ducts

Fixing ductwork leaks ensures that your heating and cooling dollars are spent to keep you comfortable in the areas you actually spend time — not unused areas in your basement, crawl space or attic. In addition to optimal home comfort, you may expect the following benefits when you’re finished sealing ductwork from the inside.

Greater Energy Efficiency

Sealing ductwork will make your home more energy efficient. Leaky ducts lose 20-30 percent of heating and cooling energy before airflow reaches the living spaces. Well-sealed ducts will reduce the amount of heating and cooling energy lost.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

Eliminating ductwork leaks can improve your indoor air quality. Ductwork that hasn’t been sealed properly can draw in contaminants from outside into your living spaces. It can intensify issues like musty basements and bring cold attic air into living areas. Sealed ductwork creates a better barrier between the living spaces and unconditioned areas.

Less Wear & Tear On Your HVAC System

Heated and cooled air pours out of cracks in poorly sealed ductwork, forcing your furnace and A/C to pick up the slack by running more often and working harder. The extra load increases wear on your HVAC equipment. The extra wear could shorten the life of your system and necessitate more repairs.

Reduced Risk Of HVAC Exhaust Backdrafting

Backdrafting occurs when exhaust gases are pulled back into the home due to air pressure changes. Leaks in ductwork can create pressure changes and suck harmful fumes inside. Fumes can cause discomfort or even major health problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning, so be sure to seal ductwork leaks to keep your family safe and healthy.

Most Common Air Duct Sealing Methods In Iowa

There are many ways that an HVAC professional can seal air duct leaks. Having a properly sealed system of air ducts will make your home more energy efficient and safer. The following are some of the most common duct sealing methods and materials used by professional technicians.

Sealing Ductwork With Mastic

Many HVAC professionals will seal a leaky air duct with mastic, a high-grade construction adhesive with a gooey consistency similar to peanut butter. Sealing with mastic can be messy work and will be done by using disposable materials or a putty knife. Mastic should only be used on ductwork gaps 1/16" wide and gaps should be reinforced with fiberglass tape.

Sealing Ductwork With Duct Tape

Duct sealing is the original use for duct tape! However, the tape you find in the hardware store is not the type of duct tape needed for air duct sealing. Duct tape used to seal ductwork must have a UL 181B label, which can be hard to find and long-term performance isn’t guaranteed.

There are different types of tape that an HVAC professional can use to help seal ducts.

Different Types Of Duct Tape

Oriented Polypropylene Duct Tape

To seal the inner core of ducts and to repair the outer jacket, an HVAC technician can use oriented polypropylene (OPP) tape. This type of tape has a film-backing, unlike cloth-backed tape (which is what normal duct tape has). As long as ductwork joints using OPP tape are sealed with clamps, your home’s ductwork should be good to go.

Butyl Duct Tape

This type of tape is foil-backed, making it perform much better than cloth-backed tape, but it can be much more expensive. The adhesive on the foil-back is butyl-adhesive, which can be similar to some types of window flashings. This type of tape takes longer to dry out and will stay flexible, making it a better option than cloth-backed tape.

Want A More Efficient Home? Get a Home Energy Audit From Lozier!

One of the best ways to evaluate your home’s efficiency and determine ways to enhance your HVAC performance is to get a professional home energy audit. Contact the heating and cooling professionals at Lozier to schedule a home energy audit. We’ll help you find air duct leaks and give recommendations on improving your overall HVAC efficiency. Contact us today or give us a call at 515-267-1000.