Duct Testing: Find Out Just Where Your Ductwork Loses Valuable Heat

Posted On: January 01, 2013

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the typical home’s duct system loses 20 percent of conditioned air through leaks. Bad connections, holes and cracks in your duct system may be the culprit if your energy bills seem particularly high or if you have a hard time keeping your home comfortable. The best way to detect and repair these air leaks is to have your ducts professionally tested.

When you should have your ducts tested

Have your ducts tested when installing a new cooling or heating system.  If you’ve scheduled a diagnostic tune-up of your system, request that duct testing be a part of that tune-up to increase efficiency. And finally, if you feel like your system isn’t heating or cooling your home as effectively as you’d like, schedule an HVAC pro to test and repair your ducts.

Types of duct testing

There are two primary methods used for duct testing. The “pressurization subtraction method” utilizes a high-powered fan to pressurize the entire space that’s heated or cooled. Pressure gauges reveal to what degree, if any, your duct system is leaking. The “duct testing method” is more accurate, using a calibrated fan to pressurize the ducts themselves. Gauges measure the airflow through the ducts to determine the loss of air in cubic feet per minute. If the air loss exceeds standard limits, the ducts will require sealing, repairing or renovating.

Sealing, repairing and renovating

You can seal your ducts yourself using UL 181 mastic or metal tape; however, having it done professionally will ensure the methods and materials used to seal your ducts meet Title 24 building codes.

Duct repair involves replacing damaged or missing parts and reconnecting loose components, including duct supports and registers.

If your ducts are incorrectly sized, in very poor condition or require major repairs, they may need to be renovated. Portions of your ducts will be replaced to increase efficiency and ensure optimum airflow for your home and HVAC system.

For more expert information about duct testing, or to schedule an appointment with one of our qualified HVAC professionals, please Ernst Heating & Cooling. We’re always happy to help.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about duct testing and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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