5 Benefits of Duct Sealing You Can't Afford to Ignore
Most residential HVAC systems are leaky as all get out. From unsealed duct connections to failed foil tape at the plenums, there are all sorts of escape routes for your precious, bought-and-paid-for conditioned air.
Duct leaks are bad. You want to make the best possible use of the air you're paying to heat or cool, and leaks make it hard - no, impossible - to achieve that goal. Around here, we're all about getting duct leakage down to 4%! Homeowners love the results, and we love helping achieve them.
There are several benefits of duct sealing, but we've distilled them down into five, easy-to-remember advantages. Here they are:
1. Better airflow and better comfort
That may sound like two benefits, but it's really just one. Leaky ductwork can prevent conditioned air from making it to areas of your home where you need it. For instance, a leaky supply duct might result in too little warm air entering your bedroom on a cold night. Instead of going where you need it, that air leaks out of the ducts.
The result? You're too cold to sleep soundly. Even with a good blanket.
By sealing the leaks, more of that conditioned air can move to the areas where it's supposed to move. You've got more airflow in places where you need it, and you don't have to work your HVAC system so hard.
Speaking of overworked HVAC systems...
2. Lower energy bills
Well sealed ducts keep more conditioned air where it belongs: inside your home. The more conditioned air you keep inside, the less hard your HVAC system will work to keep you comfortable. In the end, you'll pay less money for the same (or better!) level of comfort you had before your ducts were sealed.
If you think placing less strain on your HVAC system will also make it last longer, you're right! By sealing your ducts, there's a good chance you'll increase your system's lifespan.
3. Healthier air
Leaks in your return ductwork will pull dirty air into your HVAC system… and into your home. If your blower or air handler is in your attic, a leaky return will circulate attic air throughout your living space. If the unit is in your crawlspace, you're probably breathing crawlspace air.
The only time you want to breathe attic or crawlspace air is when you're pulling out the holiday decorations. You don't want to breathe it all the time.
Interestingly, leaky supply ducts also have a negative impact on air quality. Since the leaky ducts decrease the amount of airflow to certain rooms (see point #1 above), those rooms will be under negative pressure. This situation increases air infiltration from the outdoors. Over time, you may end up breathing higher concentrations of pollen, dust, dirt, and atmospheric pollutants - all while you're feeling uncomfortable from the lack of airflow.
Sealing the ducts helps prevent both of these scenarios, so you can keep your home's air healthy and clean.
4. Cleaner evaporator coil
So, we've established that leaky return ducts bring crawlspace or attic air into your HVAC system. Well, the dust, dirt, and other particulates inside that air can accumulate on your system's evaporator coil. Here in Atlanta, we run our air conditioners for much of the year, so that coil stays really wet. A wet and dirty coil is like a carnival for microbes.
Basically, you risk having microbial growth on the coil. It smells bad. And it's probably not healthy to breathe.
While a good air filter can block a lot of those particulates from reaching the coil, not all filters are good enough to capture them. And if the filter isn't perfectly situated inside the return ductwork, a lot of air may pass around the filter and reach the coil. Due to sub-par HVAC design, this problem is common. It's why leaky ducts often lead to dirty coils even when you're using an air filter.c
Needless to say, you'll need to have the evaporator coil cleaned by an HVAC pro. Sealing your ducts, however, helps prevent gunk from building up on the coil in the first place.
5. Discovery of other ductwork problems
The thing about ductwork problems is that there's often more than one. In addition to duct leaks, your HVAC system may be suffering from issues like:
- Sagging, bent, damaged, or disconnected ducts
- Poorly designed ducts that don't move enough air
- Undersized return or supply plenums
- Poorly insulated or non-insulated ducts that gain too much heat in summer and lose too much heat in winter
When you hire a pro to analyze your ducts, they should be identifying areas of leakage and cueing you into other problems that impact your comfort and energy consumption. For example, a poorly designed, undersized, uninsulated duct system can create a host of HVAC and comfort-related problems! Depending on how bad it is, the system might not even be worth sealing.
It would be like adding memory to a computer you bought in 1995 that can only run on… Windows 95. It's just silly.
Ultimately, you want to pursue ductwork improvements that actually solve your problems. Sealing existing ducts is often the way to do that. But there may be other problems to address first.
Did we mention we seal ducts?
At PV, we work hard to get your duct leakage down to a bare minimum. We can usually get it down to 4%, which is almost unheard of in the industry!
If you live in metro Atlanta and want to improve comfort, air quality, and energy efficiency, give us a shout! We'll listen to your concerns and analyze your duct system to determine the best course of action.