If you have an HVAC system, the air in your home is likely moved to each room through ducts. While this type of system allows the temperature in your home to be maintained at an even level, as much as 25% of the air traveling through your ducts can leak out. This is even more likely if your ducts were poorly installed or sustained damage. Sealing these leaks is necessary to keep your home comfortable and avoid high utility bills.

How Air Leaks Are Detected

A reputable HVAC technician can perform several techniques to determine if air is leaking from your ducts. There are also a few things you can do before contacting an HVAC company.

First, make sure you shut all the doors and windows in your home. You should then turn on the exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen. These fans will remove air from your house. If you carry a candle or incense stick to a vent that’s meant to blow air into your home, you’ll know there’s a leak if the smoke moves toward it.

Even if you know that air is leaking out of your ducts, you might have a hard time determining the extent and severity of the leak. There may be several cracks or gaps in your ducts. One of the gaps may be larger than the rest, which means that it could be causing most of the leakage.

The causes of duct leaks include everything from missing fasteners and fallen sections to holes in the material. If your ducts were poorly installed, thin gaps may exist between the fitted pieces. If a leak is detected, duct sealing may be the only way to correct the problem.

What Duct Sealing Entails

An HVAC technician may use several different methods to seal the ducts in your home and increase system efficiency. The purpose of this process is to make sure that no air escapes. The surrounding tubing may also need to be insulated to ensure the varying temperatures in your attic don’t impact the rest of the home.

Two methods commonly used to seal ducts include spray foam and duct mastic. Spray foam is a safe and simple technique that uses a non-toxic substance to seal leaks. Foam is easy to apply to ducts as long as your home is properly prepared. Your vents will be sealed off before being connected to a pump. Once the machine is turned on, it will pump a foamy material into your vents to seal off any gaps and leaks that might currently be causing uneven temperatures in your home.

As for duct mastic, it’s a highly effective solution that’s flame-resistant and non-toxic. This substance is somewhat gooey and will only harden after it’s applied. Once it hardens, it will seal any cracks in your ducts. Mastic sealant can be applied with a putty knife or caulking gun. It can last for as long as 20 years before it needs to be replaced.

Signs of Air Duct Leaks

Since you can’t easily see an air leak as it’s happening, there are other signs that you should look for.

Higher Energy Bills

Once an air leak occurs, your energy bills will start to go up immediately. If you notice an increase in how much you’re spending on your utility bills every month, you can save money by obtaining an inspection for your HVAC system. If your ducts are leaking, this issue will be detected during the inspection.

Potent Smells in Your Home

When your ducts begin to leak, toxic fumes could spread throughout your home. Over time, these fumes can cause illness if they’re not dealt with swiftly. If you store chemicals in your basement, the fumes from these substances can seep into the surrounding air and contaminate your home. Make sure you store pesticides and paint thinners outside. If you smell any strong, unexplained odors, your ducts may be leaking.

High Amount of Dust

A leak can also lead to a large amount of dust accumulating in your home. If your ducts are leaking, the dust won’t be filtered out of the air moving through your home. If you notice a lot more dust in your living room or bedroom, a duct leak could be the cause. A high concentration of dust can worsen allergies and asthma. It can also damage your respiratory system.

You Regularly Schedule Repairs

If you have an older HVAC system, malfunctions may occur more often over time. This issue is common in older units and usually can’t be resolved without installing a replacement. However, your ducts may be leaking if you have a newer system that needs to be repaired often. New HVAC units are designed to last for over a decade if you properly maintain them. When a duct leak occurs, your HVAC system and the components inside will go through more wear and tear. By sealing the ducts early on, you can maintain the quality of your unit.

Uneven Temperatures

Depending on the size of your home, leaky ducts might cause uneven temperatures. If your home is equipped with a central HVAC system, the air that cycles through it should be evenly distributed in every room. When the heating or cooling in your home becomes uneven, a leaky duct could be the culprit.

Let’s say that you have your air conditioner on during the summer. If there’s a duct leak near your main bedroom, that room could receive much colder air than the rest of your home. In this scenario, the temperature in most rooms would likely be higher than the setting on your thermostat. On the other hand, it may be considerably colder in your bedroom, which could interfere with your ability to get good sleep. Adjusting the thermostat to compensate won’t resolve this issue. You need to address the underlying problem.

Benefits of Duct Sealing

Duct sealing can offer numerous benefits, including everything from fewer contaminants in your air to a better lifespan for your HVAC unit. Attics often contain more dirt and dust than the rest of your home. If your ducts have leaks or gaps, these contaminants could get into the indoor air. The duct sealing process closes these gaps, which should immediately reduce pollutants.

Your HVAC system will also last longer. When air leaks from your ducts, your HVAC unit must work harder to maintain the indoor temperature. If you have the ducts sealed, the temperature will be easier to maintain, and your HVAC system shouldn’t be over-stressed. Keep in mind that duct sealing also helps you save money on your monthly utility bills. Your savings on energy costs could amount to 20%-30%.

Have your recent utility bills been higher than normal? While there could be several reasons why you’re paying more every month, there may be an air leak in your ducts. At Loves Air, we offer comprehensive duct sealing services to Salida, CA homeowners.

After we seal any cracks or gaps in your ductwork, you may benefit from better indoor air quality, a longer lifespan for your HVAC unit, and lower utility costs. Other services at Loves Air include solar panel installation, water heater repair, and HVAC maintenance. Call Loves Air to schedule a consultation or book our duct sealing services.

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