The air that circulates through a building or home travels through air ducts that act a lot like lungs. When an air conditioner is switched on, air is forced through the ducts and into the various rooms in a home or office.

Think about the air in your home. Do some rooms feel stuffier than others? It could be that there are leaks in the ductwork. According to EnergyStar, a typical house can lose 20% – 30% of circulating air through leaks. That’s a lot of wasted air you’ve paid to have cooled or heated!

 Why are Leaky Air Ducts a Problem?

Leaky air ducts mean that someone’s money is being wasted. If you’re seeing electric bills that are higher than you expected, holes, rips, or tears in the air ducts could be responsible. This can happen to older ductwork, particularly if it was once infested with insects or other vermin, or has sustained other damage in the past.

EnergyStar also notes that ducts with leaks can compromise indoor air quality. Dust, dirt, fumes, and chemicals used indoors and outdoors can enter damaged ducts and circulate around the building.

Obviously, very badly damaged ductwork may need to be replaced. But more often, a few seals will solve the problem.

Let Mr. Duct Cleaner come to your home or business to inspect your air ducts. We have special video inspection equipment we send into ductwork to give live pictures of the conditions in your duct system. This way, you have more information about how to proceed.

Leaks in ductwork can also introduce mold into a building or home. While there is no way to completely eliminate mold, regular cleaning will prevent serious problems. Sealing out moisture is an excellent way to prevent it from growing in the dark recesses that ducts offer. Mold can cause headaches, breathing problems, skin rashes, and eye irritation in some people. People with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients undergoing therapy or people with HIV/AIDS, can have serious reactions to mold.

Other Signs of Poor or Damaged Ducts

In addition to high electric bills in summer and/or winter, and stuffy rooms, here are a few other situations that may cause, or indicate, damaged ducts:

  • Exposure to intense heat or cold, particularly if the ducts are located in attics, garages, crawl spaces, or unfinished basements
  • Tangles, bends, or kinks in flexible duct work that may have caused punctures
  • Rooms that simply won’t heat or cool as well as others
  • Previous attempts to repair leaks with duct tape—in spite of the name, it isn’t an efficient sealant
  • Dirty fiberglass that is collecting dust is a sign of air movement, according to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory

How Efficient is Air Duct Sealing?

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the U.S. Department of Energy’s science and energy laboratory. Its teams include energy-efficiency researchers who develop and test materials and techniques for energy applications.

Oak Ridge conducted field tests in the Southwest U.S., where holes in return ducts pulled in air as hot as 130º during the summer. This obviously required more air conditioning than air pulled from intact ducts.

A team sealed ducts in 100 homes during the summer and monitored energy bills before and after the work. According to researchers, leaks were reduced by 30%, and energy costs went down 16%. The average demand for electricity during peak daylight times fell six percent. Annually, this could go a long way to reducing your electricity bill.

Can I do my own Duct Sealing?

There are many sites on the web that show you how to seal ducts yourself. However, few consumers have the tools and expertise to reach into hidden areas of the ductwork to properly do the job. It’s also a fairly messy effort that often calls for mastic adhesive—a very strong bonding agent—applied with a caulking gun or painted on.

For maximum effect, it really is best to hire a professional to inspect your ducts and seal them with appropriate materials. It will certainly take less of your time! In addition, Mr. Duct Cleaner guarantees our work. If you suspect the sealing isn’t working as it should, we will return to your home or business to visually inspect it, show you what we find on our video inspection system, and perform any necessary fixes.

Duct Sealing Rebates in Texas

Some cities and energy providers in Texas periodically offer special rebates for energy efficiencies taken by homeowners and businesses. The Department of Energy Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), which includes local incentives for Texas businesses and homeowners, is an excellent place to periodically check for all kinds of utility rebates.