Air leaks are a major cause of decreased energy efficiency and increased energy bills. If you have noticed you’re sending more and more money to the utility company or it feels like your AC isn’t working as well as it usually does, you might want to check your air ducts for leaks.
Signs of Air Duct Leaks
Not all air leaks come from your ductwork, so it’s important to take the proper steps to ensure that your entire home is airtight. However, you should look for air leaks specifically in your ductwork if you notice a couple of signs along with an increased energy bill. If your home is dusty even when you clean often, dust from the attic could be entering the duct system through leaks. If you notice uneven heating and cooling in different areas of your house, this can also indicate leaky ducts.
How do you locate the leaks?
When inspecting your air ducts for leaks, it’s important that you turn your AC on to full blast, which will make leaks more obvious. Then, follow these steps to locate the leaks:
• Look for visible tears and other obvious damage and mark them for later repairs.
• Check the joints for air leaks by passing your hand over the seams and feeling for air movement. Continue along the rest of the ductwork in this manner.
• Look for duct tape along the ductwork. Since it’s not typically used as a permanent fix, you should remove it and seal the leak properly.
• If you’re concerned about leaks that are too small for your hand to feel, you can use a smoke pencil or incense to see the leaks.
Once you’ve located as many leaks as you can, it’s time to seal them. Some homeowners prefer to seal the leaks as they go, but it’s perfectly fine to mark them and come back when it’s time to seal.
How to Seal Duct Leaks
There are two primary methods for sealing leaks in air ducts: mastic and foil tape. Mastic is a puddy-like sealant that’s messy to work with, but many professionals prefer it. Foil tape is less messy and works when sealing small, easy-to-tape leaks. However, you should choose mastic for leaks that aren’t as easy to seal with tape, like at a joint.