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What Can Be Done About Duct Leakage?

Every year, thousands of dollars in energy costs are wasted due to leaky and inefficient ducts. In fact, duct leakage can reduce the energy efficiency in your home by anywhere from 20 to 40 percent. In turn, this can lead to a dramatic increase in your heating and cooling bills, in addition to a reduction in air quality that can then exacerbate allergies and lead to other respiratory conditions.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to address the problem. Below, we’ll discuss a few of the best options you have for dealing with duct leakage and related problems.

How Your Duct System Works

The HVAC system in your home is a large and complex one, with multiple devices all working in tandem to maintain your desired temperature. Heat is generated by a furnace, which then warms the air, while your air conditioner cools the home using a series of coils that contain refrigerant. Both systems then utilize the duct system to distribute the air throughout your building.

These ducts are simply a series of tubes that are concealed within the framework of your house. They all connect to a part of the system known as a duct trunk, which is usually connected directly to your furnace. A fan inside the system is used to blow the air through the ducts. Each of them then connects to a vent, usually at least one in each room of the home, so that the heated (or cooled) air can then enter the room.

What Can Go Wrong?

The ducts in your home are normally made from aluminum, which is a strong and lightweight metal that is nonetheless vulnerable to becoming damaged. Over time, aluminum can become corroded, especially if the dehumidifier in your HVAC system isn’t functioning at its maximum efficiency. This will cause moisture to build up in the ducts, which can lead to rust forming and eventually developing into holes in the system.

Ducts can also begin to leak due simply to age. The constant wear and tear caused by your HVAC system and the pull of gravity can eventually lead to small holes forming as well, which will allow air to escape. When it does, it will take valuable heat energy with it, forcing your HVAC system to work that much harder to heat up your home. This will directly translate to increased energy costs for you, the homeowner.

How to Tell When Your Ducts Are Leaking

View inside of air duct.

The ducts in residential buildings are hidden away from homeowners, concealed inside the framework of the building itself. As a result, it’s not always immediately obvious when they are not working at peak efficiency. There are, however, a few ways that you can tell when there is a problem with the ductwork.

If certain rooms do not heat up or cool down at the same rate, this can be a telltale sign. You may notice that, even with the furnace hard at work, some rooms seem to remain quite cold. This could be a result of heat energy leaking out somewhere near those rooms.

Rooms that seem to be extremely dusty no matter how much you vacuum can be another clear indicator that the ducts in your home are not in the best shape. Dust can enter the ductwork through the holes that have formed. That dust will then be distributed throughout the entire duct system and, ultimately, spewed into every room in your home.

Even if you don’t notice any obvious problems, it’s possible that you may be dealing with duct leakage if your duct system is very old and hasn’t been serviced in a while. Leakage isn’t the only problem that can happen if a duct system doesn’t get regular care either. Ducts can also see reduced efficiency as a result of dirt and dust building up inside of them. This problem can be dealt with by regular cleanings.

How to Deal With Duct Leakage

The first step when attacking duct leakage in your home is to have a trusted HVAC professional that can service the ductwork in your home regularly. Companies like Entek have been in the business for many decades and specialize in keeping the systems in your home operating at their very best.

There are several measures that an HVAC professional can take to repair ductwork, and you’ll have to weigh your options to decide which you think is best. In some cases, they can wrap the duct in duct tape, and it will improve the efficiency of the system. Note, however, that this is a temporary solution. Over time, the hole in the duct will eventually reassert itself and need to be fixed again.

A permanent solution that many HVAC professionals will opt for is simply to replace the ducts entirely. This will certainly work to get the system operating more efficiently, but as you might expect, it’s also the most expensive option, since it costs hundreds of dollars for every duct run that needs to be replaced.

Consider Using Aeroseal

Often, you can avoid replacing your entire system of ductwork by opting for new, advanced methods of duct leakage repair. One of the most popular new methods is known as Aeroseal. This method of sealing ducts is in-demand due to the fact that it offers an effective solution, locates any and all holes in the ductwork, and doesn’t require you to replace any of your existing infrastructure.

To seal your ducts with Aeroseal, your HVAC professional from Entek will block off all vents, fans, and other parts of the system. They’ll then introduce an aerosolized adhesive that will naturally find its way to holes and cracks in the ductwork. As it does so, these adhesive particles will build up until the compromised areas are entirely sealed off.

As your certified HVAC technician seals all of the holes in your duct system, they’ll use specialized software to keep track of the process. In this way, you can monitor your ductwork as it is repaired, finally being returned to its maximum efficiency. Once the work is done, you’ll be able to rest easy with your energy bill having been reduced back to its normal operating cost.

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