You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about your ducts. Most people don’t, after all. Ductwork is designed to be unobtrusive, so it’s understandable that you wouldn’t pay that much attention to it. That doesn’t mean that it never has problems, however. Without regular professional maintenance, ducts can develop some serious issues that will affect other parts of your system. Let’s take a look at one specific ductwork-related problem, and how duct sealing can solve it.
Ducts are very susceptible to leaks. Mistakes made during installation can leave tears or gaps in the ducts, and even years of normal flexing can open up holes eventually. While individual leaks may be small, they can add up to one large problem over time. The US Department of Energy estimates that the average forced air system loses as much as 30% of its total output to duct leaks. That is almost a third of the total output that you’re paying for that is going to waste. Duct leaks make your heating system more inefficient, which makes your home less comfortable and more expensive to keep warm.
Duct sealing is the process of improving your heating system’s efficiency by finding and sealing leaks. Once the leaks are found, they are painted over with a substance called “mastic.” Mastic is a kind of putty that, once dry, is able to seal the leak but is flexible enough to move with the duct without cracking. Sometimes, the mastic is covered over with regulation duct tape to help seal the leak. This is duct tape with a thin metallic layer in it, unlike the cloth duct tape commonly found in hardware stores.