Prevent Wallet-Drain Due to Leaky Air Conditioning Ducts
Leaky air conditioning ducts result in poor home cooling, extended waste of energy and costly gulps of wallet-drain. Yet inferior AC duct connections are common in homes throughout the nation.
It’s a real simple matter: Efficient home cooling involves more than merely pumping refrigerated air into a hot house. It is a process of heat exchange that corrects rather than conquers the internal living space. To be effective, a home air conditioning system must circulate the existing air while stripping heat and humidity from the enclosed environment. A home with leaky air conditioning ducts fails to perform the task effectively.
A 20 Percent Waste Factor
According to federal Energy Star reports, the average home air conditioning system looses as much as 20 percent efficiency through leaky ductwork. Here is a full range of benefits you can gain by correcting the problem:
** Lower energy bills
** Lower repair costs
** Fewer repairs
** More efficient system
** More comfortable rooms due to better system distribution of air flow
** Cleaner indoor air due to reduced intake of irritants and allergens
** A sense of personal environmental stewardship
** Peace of mind in having an HVAC system that functions at peak efficiently and safety.
Sealing Your Home’s Leaky AC Ductwork
Simple as it may sound, inspecting and repairing your home’s air conditioning duct system can be hot, sweaty and risky. Most likely, you will be required to enter the crawl space. In some events, you will also need to enter the attic. Furthermore, you may have to work with home insulation materials, restricted maneuvering space and darkness.
Before beginning the process, take a flashlight and poke your head into your home’s crawl space. On some houses, this space is so tight that even air conditioning repair professionals groan before entering. If you are scared of snakes, hate spiders or have certain closterfobic responses to tight places, just close the hatch and call your local AC service center.
Still want to do the work yourself? Here goes:
1) Proper Clothing – Pull out or buy a mechanic’s jumpsuit. A cheap one costs around $15.00, but better protection comes from heavy duty equipment. A jumpsuit gives you full body protection against dirt, grime and creepy crawling things. It also provides an extended range of pockets for carrying choice tools.
2) Tools – Sealing AC ductwork doesn’t take lots of tools. You need:
** Closable box cutter with extra blades.
** Flashlight equipped with a focus adjustable base.
** One-inch wide, extended-reach paint brush.
** A standard dust mask
** Tin snips and tie-down straps, the first for trimming back joints and the second for re-hanging fallen ductwork.
** Backup flashlight for emergency exit.
** A roll of two-inch wide or three-inch wide, cold weather HVAC Aluminum Foil tape.
** A four foot length of one-inch PVC pipe with an elbow on one end – this is for moving fallen insulation, left behind debris and if necessary an aggressive snake.
** HVAC certified sealant that meets the following testing procedures: ASTM E84, NFPA 255 or UL 723. The flame spread rate must be less than 25. The smoke development rate must be less than 50. These products can be purchased in a caulk-tube format, but you should also use a brush to settle the sealing.
3) Sealing Process – Making Your Air Conditioning Ducts Airtight
This is visual process. In the event of holes in flex duct – often created by critters seeking to stay warm during the winter – you need to apply cold weather HVAC Aluminum Foil tape. If the insulation is missing, you may need to acquire additional flex duct, make a cut and then connect and reseal the finished work.
To seal connections and split-joints apply tape and/or sealant as seems best for the situation. In the event that the joints are not cut correctly, use box cutters or tin snips as suits the circumstances to create a better fit and then apply tape or sealant.
To seal vents at the room entry point, apply certified HVAC sealant. Take your time. Make certain that the caulk spreads fully and retains contact with the point of application. Be sure to seal the outside of the floor joists where the return air connection passes through the flooring. It also never hurts to cap-off the inside wall cavities where the flashing passes through.
If necessary, perform the same processes in your attic and/or garage.
Additional Notes on Sealing Air Conditioning Ducts
Perhaps all this seems overkill. Think about what type consequences would come about if lungs developed a series of pin-holes. It wouldn’t take long for breathing to become labored and inefficient. Every small leak adds to the accumulated home cooling losses and expenses.
** Special Warning: If you encounter water or any other signs of sewage leakage, get out from under the house. Find a professional plumber to deal with the situation, and get safety issues cleared up before continuing with your AC duct system repairs.
So get dressed for the occasion. Gear up with the right tools. Seal your leaky air conditioning ducts. Isn’t it time you put an end to unnecessary wallet-drain.