The majority of ductwork is concealed inside walls, ceilings, crawl spaces or attics. Although it’s tucked out of sight, the duct system shouldn’t be ignored. This branching network of pipes serves a vital function and directly impacts comfort, efficiency, air quality and safety. Even tiny flaws can allow a tremendous amount of energy waste and add to the workload of the heating and cooling systems. However, until fairly recently, locating holes and imperfections was a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. HVAC contractors needed to carefully inspect the ducts, detect each leak and manually seal them. A process called Aeroseal was developed to attack the problem from the inside. It is a non-toxic aerosol process that resolves gaps and cracks and reduces leakage without causing a big mess. In most cases, it is over 90% effective.
The US Department of Energy has found that between 25 and 40% of heating and cooling energy generated by the typical HVAC system is lost to leaking ducts. That adds up to hundreds of dollars for homeowners each year. Scheduling a thorough duct inspection, testing and repair is definitely worthwhile. Consider that the duct system is comprised of two sides, the supply and return. The supply ducts provides heated or cooled air into the various rooms of the home while the return side draws air back into the system. It is then reconditioned and recirculated. Holes in the return ducts pull unconditioned air into the ducts from attics, basements, crawl spaces and garages. This air is often laced with dust, dirt, mold spores, fumes, bacteria and other pollutants. When spread throughout the home, it is breathed by occupants and creates a severe health risk. Coughing, sneezing, headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, and aggravated symptoms of asthma and allergies can all be blamed on the ductwork.
Sealing leaks at the connections, seams, intersections and corners, as well as holes, prevents unwanted air from infiltrating the home. It promotes superior air quality and a cleaner, healthier indoor environment. Plus, sealing leaks is one of the easiest ways to trim down monthly energy bills by up to 50%. The process is not invasive or time-consuming. A qualified HVAC contractor begins with an inspection and test. The technician will block off all supply and return vents and determine the extent of the problem. The efficiency of the duct system is measured in CFM or cubic feet per minute. If sealing is necessary, the procedure is computer operated. Aeroseal patented aerosol mist is pumped into the duct system at a high rate of pressure. The mist is laced with polymer adhesive particles. Where the air leaks from the ducts, the particles adhere to the edges and seal the leak from the inside. The adhesive particles are capable of sealing gaps up to a one-inch diameter. They do not coat the ducts or leave behind any residue or unpleasant smells. Once the sealing process is completed, the HVAC contractor will conduct a post leakage test. With the supply and return registers still blocked, he will verify if the sealing was successful and provide a written verification. Homeowners usually notice a significant improvement in the home environment.
There are quite a few signs to indicate problems with the duct system. Leaks in the system allow conditioned air to escape into crawl spaces, walls and attics. The heated or cooled air is not delivered to the intended destination. This results in rooms that are uncomfortably hot or cold, no matter how the thermostat is adjusted. These same flaws draw in mold, dust, odors and other contaminants which affect air quality. Musty smells coming from the vents or a buildup of dust on surfaces indicates issues with the ducts. High energy bills are another warning sign. The HVAC system is forced to run longer and work harder to achieve comfort. It not only costs more to operate the furnace and air conditioner every month but the equipment is more likely to succumb to malfunction or premature failure. Excessive humidity is another sign of leaking ducts. There’s also safety concerns involved which includes the potential of backdrafting from gas appliances.
As the air conditioner and furnace operate, the ducts naturally expand and contract. Over time, this leads to leaks in the duct system. The Aeroseal process eliminates those leaks and prevents energy losses. You’re going to enjoy more consistent temperature and better overall comfort. There will be fewer contaminants circulating in the air, effectively improving indoor air quality and protecting against numerous health problems. You won’t need to dust or vacuum as often and save money on heating and cooling costs. Because Aeroseal takes advantage of the latest technology, it provides greater benefits with fewer drawbacks. The process only takes a couple of hours and causes no mess or damage. It accesses the entirety of the duct system and resolves even the tiniest flaws and gaps. It is important, however, to find an HVAC contractor who is qualified in Aeroseal. Technicians are specifically trained in the process and equipped with the tools and technology. If the process is not completed by a licensed dealer, the warranty is not valid.
It’s easy to go online and research qualified Aeroseal dealers in your area. Schedule a convenient time to have the duct system inspected and tested. Because the results are computer generated you can trust you’re not being sold a service you don’t need. The average home sacrifices 30% of heated/cooled air to concerns with the duct system. Sealing these leaks goes a long way in paying for the Aeroseal process. Plus, you reduce strain on the furnace and air conditioner, increasing reliability and service life. If you’re considering buying or selling a home, verification of Aeroseal duct sealing adds value to the property. Whether you’ve noticed issues related to holes in the ducts or it’s been a while since you’ve had the duct system inspected, it’s better to be safe than sorry. There are HVAC contractors who provide free consultation and estimates.