Most people don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about the air ducts that carry cool air around their home in the summer and warm air in the winter. And, as long as everything seems to be working just fine, why should you worry about them? Other than having your local air duct cleaning specialists come and take care of them once every couple of years, is there anything else you really need to do in order to keep your home HVAC system running smoothly? As you’ll find out in today’s blog post, which was written in consultation with our Broomfield air duct, dryer duct, and furnace cleaning team, the answer is yes. If you want to do a little more for your system than cleaning the ducts every now and then, you should seriously consider duct sealing.
What Exactly Is Duct Sealing?
Duct sealing, which can be performed by qualified HVAC technicians in residential or commercial properties, is a maintenance procedure that involves two main stages. In some cases, the same companies that perform air duct cleaning in Broomfield may also perform duct sealing but this is not always the case so it is best to check in advance if you want to take advantage of both services at the same time. The two main stages are as follows:
- Inspection & Testing – If you call in your local specialists, they will first perform a visual inspection to see if there are any obvious cracks in your ductwork or gaps where one section is joined to another. Depending on the results of this inspection, they may then perform a smoke test. This is done with a device that releases smoke into the ductwork, making it easier to see if there are any leaks. Finally, they may perform a professional pressurized test in order to identify holes in the ductwork that have so far proved elusive. A pressurized test can also help technicians identify any issues with your HVAC equipment that may be causing leaks in the system.
- Sealing – Once the sources of any leaks in your system have been identified, the technicians will seal them. There are 4 different ways of sealing leaks in ductwork - the ones your technicians use will depend on the nature of the leaks they find as well as your goals/budget. The cheapest method is simply to cover any cracks or holes with foil or butyl tape. However, this is also the least durable option as the tape will eventually lose its adhesive properties over time and come away from the ducting. A more durable but still relatively inexpensive option is to apply a mastic sealant to cracks and holes, with either a caulking gun or a paintbrush. The main drawback of this method is the fact it is a rather messy procedure. It is also not an effective solution for holes or cracks that are larger than a quarter of an inch. Furthermore, many air duct cleaning technicians are not keen on this method as it can make their job harder to perform. The final two options are proprietary sealing treatments: Aeroseal and Duct Armor. They are both very effective and durable solutions but also significantly more expensive.
If you want a long-lasting, efficient solution to leaks in your air ducts, one of the proprietary sealing treatments is almost certainly the best choice. You can decide which one is best for your system in consultation with the technicians who perform the inspection and testing. But how can you tell if your ducts need any attention in the first place?
Symptoms of Leaking Air Ducts
There are a few telltale signs to look out for if you want to make sure any leaks in your system are dealt with promptly:
- Unusually High Energy Bills – If you find that you are paying more than usual for your domestic energy consumption, in both cold and hot weather, there is a good chance that you have one or more leaks in your air ducts (however, you may wish to rule out issues with your furnace and air-con compressor before calling in your local duct sealing specialists). As we mentioned earlier, you may find that the company you use for air duct and dryer duct cleaning is also able to provide a duct sealing service. Even if they are not, they will almost certainly be able to point you in the right direction so it’s well worth getting in touch with them.
- Visible Gaps and Holes – If you are happy to perform your own visual inspection, you should be able to spot any obvious holes or gaps in your ducts that are causing your system to become less efficient and your energy bills to rise.
- Clogged Filters – If you notice that your air filters are clogged, this is another sign that all may not be well with your ductwork. In this case, you can either perform a visual inspection yourself or call your local HVAC specialists.
- Loose Access Panels – If you notice any loose access panels in your home, these could well be causing your system to run less efficiently than it should. Panels that are not well insulated may also be a source of leaks in your system.
Your regular air duct and dryer vent cleaning team may well spot some of these signs and symptoms of leaks for you but it’s best to pay for a professional inspection and testing service if you want to be sure.
The Benefits That Duct Sealing Has to Offer
Duct sealing, when performed by experienced professionals, has a number of benefits that make it well worth considering:
- Lower Energy Bills – Once all leaks in your ducts have been properly sealed, your HVAC system will perform more efficiently, leading to lower energy bills in both winter and summer. This is one of the most attractive benefits of duct sealing and can result in significant savings over time.
- More Comfortable Home Environment – A more efficient HVAC system will keep your home cooler in the summertime and warmer in the wintertime.
- Reduced Carbon Footprint – A more efficient system with no leaks will also help you to reduce your domestic carbon footprint.
If you would like to learn about more ways in which you can improve the performance of your home or commercial HVAC system, please do not hesitate to contact Steve's Air Duct Cleaning. Alternatively, you can search for ‘air duct cleaning near me’ or ‘dryer cleaning near me’ to find local service providers who are likely to be able to provide you with the information you seek.