Duct Sealing

Duct Sealing
1:56 PM
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Leaky ductwork often accounts for up to 20 percent
of total heating and cooling costs. Leaky ducts may
cause you to introduce unhealthy air into your home.
Protecting your health, safety and comfort are the
most important reasons for sealing ducts.
Duct leakage can impact health and comfort, and
waste money in energy costs. Don’t fall through the
cracks—seal your ducts today.
Health & Safety
United States
Environmental Protection
What is the ENERGY STAR® Label?
The ENERGY STAR Label helps consumers recognize
energy-efficient products that save money on their utility bills. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) created
the ENERGY STAR label as the symbol for energy efficiency because of the direct link between wasted energy
and air pollution. Manufacturers and builders voluntarily display the label on products and new homes that
meet high efficiency ENERGY STAR guidelines, including
heating and cooling equipment, household appliances,
TVs, VCRs, residential light fixtures and new homes.
Office of Air and Radiation 6202J
for Ducts
What Have Your
Ducts Done for
You Lately?
Ducts work as a team with your heating and cooling system to keep you comfortable in your home. The duct
system delivers the warm or cool air from the equipment
to all of your rooms. This is similar to the water piping.
You certainly wouldn’t want your pipes to leak so why
not stop your ducts from leaking?
Ducts can also run within the walls, floors, and ceilings.
The major duct locations are in the attic, crawlspace,
or basements. Ductwork in older homes and new
homes usually experience duct leakage problems.
If your home has leaky ducts,
then you may be experiencing:
Energy Bills!
Improperly sealed ducts can draw
contaminated air into your home,
compounding existing health problems such as allergies and asthma.
This air can be contaminated with
dust, mold, excess humidity, and
potential toxins such as pesticides,
combustion gases, and radon, all of
which can be hazardous to your
Duct sealing can save you
up to $140 dollars per year
on your heating and cooling bills.
Lower Equipment
Buying energy-efficient equipment is
not the only solution. No matter how
energy-efficient your equipment is, it
will not perform at its best if the duct
system that is delivering the warm or
cool air is leaky.
Sealing your ducts can increase the
ability of air conditioners, furnaces,
and heat pumps to evenly heat or
cool all of the rooms in your home.
Leaky, inefficient ducts contribute to air pollution
through wasted energy. Meeting the ENERGY STAR
specification for Ducts is equal to planting 265 trees
per year for each household.
EPA 430-F-00-017
February 2001
1:56 PM
Page 5
Be tested for
Have adequate airflow
Knowing your duct system is the first step in analyzing how well it works. The HVAC system in your
home works hand in hand with the duct system to
provide proper airflow, heating, and cooling.
HVAC equipment that is operating as designed can
provide proper airflow. Your duct system must then
adequately deliver the proper amount of air to each
room in your house. Many of the problems related to
the HVAC system’s efficiency and energy usage, and
your comfort and health are due to improper airflow.
The ducts in your home should:
Qualified practitioners have the expertise to evaluate
your duct system and to conduct the necessary tests
to fix the problem. Technicians use diagnostic instruments to test air flow and duct leakage.
Make sure combustion appliances are
not backdrafting into your home causing you to breath unhealthy air.
Leak very little air
Being an informed consumer can help you pick the right
person for the job. When choosing a contractor, the
technician should be able to answer the following
questions to your satisfaction:
• Have you been trained in duct sealing?
While no duct system is perfectly “air tight”, most air
leakage comes from an accumulation of many small
leaks in the duct system. By locating and sealing the
most accessible leaks, most duct systems can be improved
enough to meet the ENERGY STAR specification for
Ducts. The specification is available on the Web site
at www.energystar.gov/ducts.
• Do you operate duct blower testing equipment?
• How do you seal ducts? Say no if they use duct tape.
Be properly
Industry standards for duct insulation varies, depending on the location of the ductwork in your home.
Insulation is especially important if
ducts are located outside the heated
or cooled part of your home.
The following diagram shows two common
placements for duct systems.
Have diagnostic testing
To determine the amount of duct leakage, improper
infiltration and combustion safety issues, diagnostic
testing is recommended for proper analysis of your
entire house. Testing equipment such as duct-blower,
manometers and flow hoods are commonly used by
professionally trained contractors. These tests indicate
the severity of the duct problem in your home.
• How long have you been in business?
• Can I see current proof of a valid contractor’s license,
proof of coverage for workers’ compensation, and
certificates of insurance coverage for liability and
property damage?
• Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau?
• Can I get the name of 3-4 references and that I could
contact about your work?
• Will you be supervising and/or present during repairs?
• What is the warranty for labor and parts?
Heating and
Cooling Unit
Duct System
Duct System
Heating and
Cooling Unit
Ducts can be located either in your
basement, attic or in a conditioned
space. The heating and cooling
system is connected to the duct
system enabling it to heat and cool
your home. Since air is invisible, you
cannot distinguish between efficient
and inefficient ducts by simply looking at them. However, there are tests
that a knowledgeable contractor
can perform to determine whether
your family will be more comfortable
and safer with the ENERGY STAR
specification for Ducts.
Be sealed with
proper materials
Not all duct sealing materials perform
the same. You might find it surprising
that a typical gray fiber backed duct
tape should not be used to seal ducts.
Proper sealant materials include an
aerosol sealant, fabric mesh and duct
mastic, or metal backed tape.
Get Your
Ducts Sealed
Saving money and protecting your family are high
priorities. Many factors affect the efficiency of your
ducts such as climate, location of your ducts, and
the amount of insulation around your ducts. Start
Saving Today. To learn more about ENERGY STAR
specification for Ducts or to determine
whether your home is a good candidate for
duct sealing, visit www.energystar.gov/ducts
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