Is HVAC Duct Sealing Worth It?
When most people think about making home improvements, and specifically home energy efficiency improvements, the condition of their HVAC duct-work is often overlooked. Many homeowners tend to gravitate directly to more insulation, upgrading windows, or upgrading their AC equipment, and these are all great home improvements that will improve a home’s energy efficiency. Plus, they are all something a homeowner can say “would you look at those beautiful new windows” or “I just got the most efficiency AC system available. Take a look at that unit outside!!”
Unfortunately, you basically never hear a homeowner bragging about how air-tight and perfectly laid out their duct-work is, because dragging a friend up into the attic to look at duct-work simply isn’t as sexy as new windows, or a shiny new AC unit outside. Making sure that your HVAC system and duct-work are properly sealed is an improvement that will pay for itself much faster than virtually any other home energy efficiency improvement. Plus, their are other paybacks from properly sealing your duct-work, including: improved indoor air quality, and less dust and dirt in your air and on your furniture and floors.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program says that leaky duct-work can reduce an HVAC system’s efficiency by up to 20%. According to many studies, leaky duct-work can increase your heating and cooling costs by 15%, 20%, and even up to 30%.
How do you know that your home has leaky / poor performing ducts?
Take a look at your HVAC duct-work and ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have high cooling and heating bills?
- Do you have rooms that are difficult to heat and cool?
- Do you have stuffy rooms that never seem to feel comfortable?
- Are your ducts are located in an attic, crawlspace, or the garage?
- Is your duct-work kinked, pinched, or twisted?
HVAC Duct-Work & Indoor Air Quality
When you have leaky duct-work, it means that there is dirty, unfiltered air getting into your duct-work and HVAC system. This dusty, dirty air is then distributed throughout your home every time you turn on your cooling and heating system.
Leaky duct-work also drastically increased the opportunity for mold growth everywhere there are leaks in the system. When the cool, conditioned air meets the warm, humid ambient air, condensation can be created. When moisture builds up in these leaky areas, it creates the perfect environment for mold growth.
Problems Caused By Poor Indoor Air Quality
Poor Indoor Air Quality has been tied to a variety of ailments. These ailments include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. After exposure to some indoor air pollutants, many folks with asthma may experience increased difficulty breathing or other asthma related issues.
long-term exposure to poor indoor air quality can lead to some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer, and ultimately be severely debilitating or fatal. It is extremely important to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.
It should be noted that poor indoor air quality will affect people differently. Some folks are more sensitive to indoor air pollutants, and can have negative reactions almost immediately after entering a home with poor IAQ. Other people will show little, if any adverse reactions to poor IAQ, but there can still be long-term issues to contend with down the road.
HVAC Duct Testing & Air Sealing
Some homeowners prefer to try and check and seal their HVAC duct-work themselves, but this is an energy efficiency improvement that is really best left to a professional. To properly test your duct-work and identify where the leakage is occurring requires running a diagnostic test called a “duct blaster.” A duct blaster test essentially pressurizes your HVAC duct-work to determine how much leakage is occurring, and helps identify exactly how much air is leaking from your duct-work.
Utility Company Incentives For Duct Sealing
Many electric utility companies offer great incentives for homeowners that want to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, and this can include duct blaster testing and duct sealing services performed by professional providers. Diversified Energy has been working with some of the biggest electric utility companies in Louisiana and Mississippi for years to help homeowners improve the energy efficieny of their homes.
Many of these incentive programs will offset most, and in some cases, all of the cost of duct testing and duct sealing. Please note, most of these incentive programs work on a first come, first served basis and are subject to the annual budgets alloted to the programs. Click Here for more information about the incentive programs we work with.
Wrapping It Up
The importance of HVAC duct sealing can’t be overstated. Having your HVAC duct-work tested and properly sealed is one of the home improvements with the highest payback. Duct sealing can lower your heating and cooling costs by 15%, 20% or more. Duct sealing will reduce the amount of dust and dirt in your home, and reduce the opportunity for mold growth, thus improving your indoor air quality.
Even better … There are great electric utility company incentive programs that can offset some-to-all of the cost for HVAC duct testing and duct sealing.
Don’t let another day go by letting your hard earned money fly out of your leaky ducts, and dirty, unconditioned air get in. Contact Diversified Energy, and have our BPI certified technicians make proper duct testing and duct sealing part of an overall energy efficiency, and indoor air quality strategy for your home.