For an air conditioning system to work well and remain efficient, the system has to be properly installed, sized, and maintained properly. It may surprise you to know that up to 30% of the air moving through your home’s ducts may be lost to issues like leaks, holes, and weak joints.
You might realize you’re having duct issues when you hear rodents crawling around inside them. Look around and it’s likely you’ll find a flexible duct that a mouse has chewed through. Higher than usual electricity bills, warm rooms/uneven cooling, and weak airflow are other signs there’s a problem with your ducts.
Some homeowners immediately grab a roll of duct tape and try to fix issues on their own. Before you do this, you should know that DIY duct sealing can be disastrous if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. If you damage a duct, it could result in your home needing duct replacement. Vibration, improper cleaning, moisture, and mold/mildew can all damage ductwork. It may be cheaper to try DIY duct sealing, but consider what you’ll spend if you do cause damage.
What are the three benefits of duct sealing? It comes down to efficiency, safety, and comfort.
When ducts are leaking air into the crawlspace, attic, basement, or walls, you’ll find certain rooms do not get as cool as others. Your system may work harder to try to get the room with thermostats cool enough. As the AC system works harder, your energy bills increase.
The other problem with a system that’s working harder is that it puts a strain on some of the AC unit’s components. Fans and motors work more and wear out faster than expected. You’ll end up needing repairs or a full replacement sooner than you’d planned, which can be costly.
If there are gaps and holes that rodents can get into, every room that’s getting cool air is being exposed to some of the rodent’s dander and aerosolized feces/urine. You also have dust, mildew, and even mold spores getting out into rooms where the ducts are or in the walls. This can lead to allergies and other illnesses that can be detrimental to some of the people in your home.
Leaking ducts also impact your personal comfort. The cool air you’re expecting to come to the different rooms in your home is warmer than expected. You’re not comfortable as a result. You might find the air coming in through registers smells musty and mildewy, and your home smells because of it. You can’t feel comfortable in a home that smells like that.
The AC technician will go throughout your home, including the attic and basement or crawlspace, and inspect any visible ducts for holes and loose connections. With the AC on, the technician will feel for leaks.
Once leaks and weak spots are identified, the technician will repair or replace the damaged duct sections. Any flexible ducts are straightened out to prevent kinks.
If there are holes or cracks, a duct sealant is used to fill those breaches. Metal tap, mastic, and specialized sealants are used to strengthen loose connections. Duct insulation is reinstalled to keep cool air from heating up rapidly as it moves around the home.
Finally, the ducts are properly secured to vents and registers. The entire system is tested again and inspected for any carbon monoxide leaks.
Confine pets in a secure area for the duration of the appointment. You don’t want a pet to accidentally escape when a door opens. You definitely do not want your small cat or puppy getting into an open duct. If your dog needs to go outside for a bathroom break, leash your dog before you head out of the closed room or gated area.
Make sure things are cleared from areas where technicians need to work. If you have an end table in front of an air register, move it for now. If there are boxes in front of ducts in the attic area, shift them to another area. If the ducts are in a crawlspace, make sure the crawlspace is accessible and not blocked by yard furniture, cars, or trash bins.
If there’s a driveway, ensure there’s space for the technician’s work vehicle. If the technician is going to be using a door from the garage to the house, ensure there’s room for the technician to walk through while carrying equipment.
Is duct sealing right for you? If it’s been several years since your ducts were installed, your AC is using more energy than it used to, or there’s noticeable damage, talk to an air conditioning expert about duct sealing services.
All Year offers free AC system evaluations, so you’ll learn everything you need to know about your system’s condition and what you can do to improve efficiency. We make it easy to reach us, no matter what you prefer. Submit the online form, chat, or call to schedule a free consultation.