A home with forced air heating or cooling uses a system of ductwork to distribute the conditioned air. In general, the ductwork is located out of sight, in an attic, a crawl space, the garage or basement. That means when something goes wrong with the ducts you may be unaware of it.
What can go wrong with ducts? Plenty. Over time, the segments may become disconnected, or the ducts, which expand and contract from the pressure of conditioned air traveling through them, crack or develop holes. As a result, you may be losing conditioned air to unconditioned spaces and paying higher utility bills.
That’s when duct sealing may be called for.
Some other signs you might need duct sealing:
- Rooms that are hard to cool or heat
- Stuffy, uncomfortable atmosphere, perhaps from dust or high humidity
Other Reasons to Seal Ducts
Besides increasing comfort and efficiency, other reasons to seal ducts are:
- Safety — Sealed ducts help prevent “backdrafting,” where gases from combustion appliances, are drawn back into the living space.
- Better indoor air quality — Sealing ducts can prevent dust, mold and household or garden chemicals from being drawn into your HVAC system and distributed into your home.
- Environmental protection — Sealed ducts prevent energy loss, so you burn less fuel and thus, fewer carbon emissions are sent out into the environment.
If your ductwork is accessible and you’re comfortable with a do-it-yourself project, then you may want to seal ducts yourself. Use mastic sealant or metal tape (never duct tape, as it won’t last), reconnecting segments and repairing holes and cracks. You may want to use metal screws to reconnect the segments securely.
Check connections at vents and registers also. making sure they’re sealed where the ducts meet floors, walls and ceiling.
If the job is too much for you, then you may want to contract with an HVAC consultant. Many HVAC contractors also do ductwork.
For more on duct sealing, contact Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ve served San Diego, including Carlsbad, La Costa, Encinitas, Vista and San Marcos, since 2002.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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