Duct Leakage: A Homeowner’s Guide to a More Efficient System - Service ChampionsService Champions
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Duct Leakage: A Homeowner’s Guide to a More Efficient System

December 14th, 2010

As eco-friendly options become more prevalent, more people are opting for energy efficient systems. Recently, Service Champions has seen a big pull for products that require less energy and give off fewer emissions. There’s no doubt about it, efficient comfort systems simultaneously save the planet and your money.

The efficiency of your air duct system is more dependent on the ducts themselves rather than any thermostat tricks you might practice. Since the duct system runs throughout your residence or place of business, there is a greater potential for leaks and breakage. A leak in the duct system also increases potential health hazards, since pipes run along bacteria-rich places.

A Simple Test of Duct System Efficiency

Open a door or a window just 1-2 inches, and switch on  the furnace/air conditioner blower. If you notice a significant amount of air coming in from outside, it is a good indicator or indoor air pressure loss. This occurs when ducts are leaking outside the conditioned space.

When installing ducts, Service Champions technicians follow certain protocols to prevent leakage and ensure the structural integrity of the system. We can’t say this for all HVAC companies; so if you are concerned about your system, look for the following indicators of a properly installed system.

  • Flexible ducts are strapped up every 4 feet to prevent sagging.
  • Ductwork is insulated with R-6 or better insulation. No sheet metal should be exposed. Modern insulation has anti-bacterial properties.
  • Joints and seams should be secured with screws or mechanical connections. They are also sealed with mastic or butyl tape.
  • Joints are not help together with duct tape. Despite its name, it is not approved material.
  • Ducts are not insulated with asbestos. (Common in older systems.)
  • Gaps around filters and grills are sealed
  • There are no dark stains on the fiberglass insulation

The causes of leaky duct systems range from poor installation, to poor maintenance, to the age of the system itself. Keep in mind, duct seal has only been under code since 2005. If you have not had your duct system checked in the last five years, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible.  Let us know if your ducts need help.

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