We are officially in heating season, and that means you’re probably relying on your home heating system to keep your home warm almost every day. Even if your heating system seems to be working fine, though, it may be in more trouble than you think. Let’s look at the problem of duct leaks, and how duct sealing can help make your heating system much more efficient.
Though many homeowners don’t think about their ducts, they should. Ducts are highly susceptible to problems like leaks, even through normal use. While the occasional tiny leak here or there may seem trivial, they definitely add up over time. Duct leaks are so bad, that the US Department of Energy has estimated that forced air heaters lose up to 30% of their output to them. That’s almost a third of your heater’s total output being lost every time you turn on the system. Hundreds or even thousands of dollars can be wasted if this is allowed to continue.
Duct sealing is the process of finding and closing leaks in your ducts. The actual sealing process typically involves painting mastic into the leak. Mastic is a kind of epoxy that, once dry, is stiff enough to seal the leak but flexible enough to move with the ducts. This lessens the chances of the leak opening again later on. Duct tape is also used, but not the duct tape you are probably thinking of. Ironically, that duct tape is terrible for sealing ducts. Instead, metallic duct tape is used that can create a much tighter seal. Even after your ducts are sealed, though, you need to keep having your ducts checked every few years to address new leaks.