ABC Blog

EPA Duct Sealing Tips

WORKING WITH A CONTRACTOR

Many homeowners choose to hire a professional contractor for duct improvement projects. Most heating and cooling equipment contractors also repair ductwork.

Look for a contractor that will:

  • Inspect the whole duct system, including the attic, crawlspace, garage and basement as needed.
  • Evaluate the system’s supply and return air balance. Many systems have air return ducts that are too small.
  • Repair damaged and disconnected ducts and straighten out flexible ducts that are tangled or crushed.
  • Seal all leaks and connections with mastic, metal tape, or an aerosol-based sealant.
  • Seal all registers and grills tightly to the ducts.
  • Insulate ducts in unconditioned areas with duct insulation that carries an R-value of 6 or higher.
  • Include a new filter as part of any duct system improvement.
  • Evaluate air flow after repairs are completed.
  • Ensure there is no backdrafting of gas or oil-burning appliances, and conduct a combustion safety test after ducts are sealed.

KNOW YOUR DUCTS

In houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. But in typical houses, about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.

Some signs that your home may have leaky, poorly insulated, or inefficient ducts:

  • you have high summer and winter utility bills;
  • you have rooms that are difficult to heat and cool;
  • you have stuffy rooms that never seem to feel comfortable;
  • your ducts are located in an attic, unfinished basement, crawlspace, or the garage;
  • you find tangled or kinked flexible ducts in your system.

COMMON DUCT PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS

Problems:

  • Leaky, torn, and disconnected ducts
  • Poorly sealed registers and grills
  • Leaks at furnace and filter slot
  • Kinks in flexible ductwork restricting airflow

Solutions:

  • Properly sealed ducts
  • Registers and grills tightly sealed to ducts
  • Sealed furnace and filter slot
  • Well-insulated ducts in unfinished areas
  • Straightened flexible ducts with improved airflow

WHAT IS ENERGY STAR?

Energy Star® is the government-backed program that helps us all to save money and protect our environment with energy-efficient products and practices. Whether you are looking to replace old appliances, remodel your home, or buy a new house, Energy Star® can help.

More than 60 kinds of products, including lighting, appliances, televisions, computers, heating and cooling equipment, and even new homes, can earn the government’s Energy Star® label. Energy Star® also offers best practice solutions, like duct sealing, that can make your home more comfortable and reduce your energy costs.

For more information on duct sealing, visit www.energystar.gov or call 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).

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