Finding Hidden Ductwork Leaks

leaky ductsLos Angeles might be mild for most of the year, but to keep your home comfortable, you still need a heating and cooling system that’s in top form. Sealing ductwork leaks is a cheap and easy way to improve your system’s performance, but first, you’ll need to find those leaks.

Take a Closer Look

In the average home, the ducts can leak as much as 30 percent of the air they carry. Leaks typically form around joints where two pieces of duct meet and where the ductwork connects to the air handler. These points should be sealed either with mastic or heat-safe metal-backed tape.

In your attic, basement or wherever else your home has exposed ducts, inspect the ducts’ joints. If they’re not sealed at all, sealing them should be the first thing you do to improve your HVAC system’s efficiency. If they are sealed, closely inspect the sealing for signs of cracks, peeling, and other deterioration. When the system is running, feel for escaping air. Any worn out or leaking sealing should be removed and replaced. Also, check for holes in ducts made of fiberglass ductboard or flexduct.

Call in a Pro

While it’s easy to find the bigger hidden ductwork leaks yourself if you look closely, the smaller ones don’t show up so easily. Taken together, these small leaks can add up to big losses. To accurately identify these leaks, contact a heating and cooling technician for a duct inspection or a full home energy audit.

A technician can bring in equipment such as a duct leakage tester to precisely measure the airflow in your ducts and pinpoint leaks. This device uses a fan to create pressure in the duct system that temporarily exaggerates leaks so they’re easier to detect. If your duct inspection is part of a home energy audit, your technician will perform further tests to find other points of energy loss, such as your attic or walls.