How to Test Your Ducts for Leaks

How to Test Your Ducts for Leaks

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Duct leaks are an expensive and uncomfortable problem many Atlanta area homeowners face. Take control of your household’s energy consumption and comfort when you learn how to test HVAC ducts for leaks. 

Estes Services explains how to test air ducts for leaks using simple methods, so your search for duct leaks can get started DIY style! If you identify air leaks in your ducts or damaged ductwork, turn to the NATE-certified HVAC pros of Estes Services for duct repair services that put an end to energy waste in your home.

The Problem with Duct Leaks

Disconnected joints, torn flex ducting, fallen duct runs and other issues interrupt the flow of conditioned air from the HVAC system to the home’s living areas, causing it to spill out in areas where there is no benefit to the household. As much as 30 percent of the air treated by your home’s HVAC system is released into attics, under floors, in crawlspaces and other areas which are not typically connected to the home’s HVAC system and do not need the benefit of heating and cooling. And it’s not just homeowners who experience this wasteful issue – duct leakage is the leading cause of energy loss within commercial buildings.

Duct leaks are a very common problem, with a typical home plagued with leaks that waste 20 to 30 percent of conditioned air. Once conditioned air escapes your ducts into these areas of the home, the energy consumed conditioning that air is wasted, but you still have to pay for it. Think about it this way: if your energy bills are $100 per month, $20 to $30 of that is thrown away by your duct system. Are you really OK throwing $30 into the trash each month?

Duct leaks persist for years in many cases because homeowners don’t pay much attention to this hidden air circulation highway. Discomfort in certain areas of a home and high utility bills are common indicators of duct leaks, but these symptoms can also be attributed to other HVAC issues that are too often ignored. Over the years, your HVAC system continues to draw more energy and runs extra cycles to replace lost air, ultimately stressing components which could lead to breakdowns or the need to replace equipment ahead of schedule.

How to Test HVAC Ducts for Leaks

Atlanta homeowners need to know how to test ducts for leaks. This useful skill empowers the average homeowner to identify sources of energy waste in their home and encourages timely corrections to prevent further losses. Using the methods outlined below, you can easily check your ducts for leaks today.

Visual Exam

To test your ducts for leaks, take a look at your ducts to identify any air leaks in plain site that are visible to the naked eye. Access your attic, basement and/or crawlspace, moving through each area where ductwork runs looking for the following:

  • Clear holes in air ducts
  • Gaps in connections between duct sections
  • Complete disconnections of duct sections
  • Tears in flexible duct tubing
  • Kinks or smashed sections in flexible ductwork
  • Gaps where vents, grilles and registers connect to the return or supply ducts under the floor, in the ceiling or within a wall

Note the locations of all damage you observe to ensure duct sealing efforts address every leak you find.

Further DIY Testing Methods

  • A smoke pen or an incense stick are useful tools when learning how to test air ducts for leaks. The stream of smoke produced shows air movement outside the ductwork when positioned nearby, alerting you to the presence of an air leak. 
  • Fill a spray bottle with water and a few squirts of dish soap, then mix well. When inspecting ducts, spray your solution onto a section of duct or a joint, and watch to see if the solution bubbles. Bubbles show air is forcing its way into the solution, escaping from the duct system.

Professional Duct Testing Services and Solutions from Estes Services

If the above methods don’t appeal to you, or you are unable to conduct such tests yourself, turn to Estes Services for professional duct leak testing and sealing services. 

Our NATE-certified HVAC technicians seal up ducts and conduct duct blaster tests, which pressurize the home’s duct system so air leakage can be measured, following the standards set in the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) HVAC Air Duct Leakage Test Manual.

If testing for duct leaks turns up lost pressure, leaks are present. Our technicians seal leaking ducts using appropriate methods that deliver long-lasting correction. With leaks sealed, multiple points of energy loss are eliminated from the home, delivering improved comfort, lower energy expenses and more efficient heating and cooling.

Put our team to work today to find and fix troublesome duct leaks and start generating savings right away! Contact us today!