Sealing Duct Leaks Can Improve A/C Efficiency

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sealing duct leaksYou've got a brand new, energy-efficient air conditioning system. You're taking steps to conserve energy use whenever possible. So why are your energy bills still going through the roof? The problem could be with your ductwork. If your ducts leak, then much of the air from your HVAC system isn't making it to the rooms where it's supposed to go, forcing the A/C to work harder to cool the rooms and wasting energy. Sealing duct leaks is an essential part of keeping your air conditioner running efficiently. Here are a few tips:

  • Check your ducts for damage. Look for holes or gaps between sections of ductwork, and check to see if you feel air coming from the ducts.
  • Repair the leaks. Small, pinhole leaks can be covered with metal-backed tape. Slightly larger holes should be sealed with mastic sealant. For holes over a quarter inch in diameter, apply a webbed drywall tape first, and then treat it with mastic sealant.
  • Despite its name, never use duct tape for sealing duct leaks. It loses its adhesiveness after a few years, especially in areas with a lot of dust and substantial changes in temperatures, allowing air to leak out from underneath the tape.
  • For more extensive damage to ductwork, call a professional HVAC technician to take care of it.
  • Make sure your ducts are properly insulated. Even if you're not losing air, you may still be gaining heat through the thin metal duct walls (or losing it during the winter). Uninsulated ductwork in an unconditioned area will warm cool air (and cool warm air) before it reaches its destination, so that what's released through the registers is closer to room temperature. This will overwork your HVAC system in the process and waste energy. Insulating ductwork is essential for preventing energy loss.
  • Use a vapor barrier on top of your insulated cooling ducts, to prevent condensation from forming due to the temperature disparity, which can encourage mold and mildew growth.

For more help with sealing duct leaks, in Lufkin, Nacodoches and the surrounding area, please contact us at McWilliams & Son Heating and Air Conditioning today.

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