Air ducts play a big role in cooling your home during the summer. Did you know that the average house loses almost 30 percent of circulating cold air due to leaky ducts? Avoiding a regular air leak test can really cost you – increasing your electricity bill and making the air you breathe unhealthy.
But you can’t fix a leaking duct if you haven’t found the problem first. Identify the severity of the problem and determine if you need to fix or replace your air ducts. These tests should be performed every year in order to have the most energy efficient AC unit in your home.
If you cannot easily access your air ducts or you do not feel comfortable walking in your attic or moving through your crawl space, you can hire a professional air duct cleaning company.
If you can see issues with your air ducts, then this is likely a major problem. Ducts that look crushed, tangled, or kinked need to be replaced. If you can spot holes or cracks in your air ducts, then you should start your sealing process there.
For a good air leak test, first turn on the fan setting on your thermostat so that the fan is constantly blowing air throughout your ducts. Next, run your hand slowly over your entire ductwork system next. If you feel air hitting your hand at any point, mark that point with a grease pencil or marker. Once you have gone over your entire system, seal these holes before moving to the next step.
Do not adjust the fan setting after the Hand Test, because you want air to continue to flow during the Candle Test. Be sure that all insulation is away from your ducts when performing this test, because you do not want to accidentally start a fire. You cannot always feel leaking air coming from your ducts, but by placing a candle or by burning incense near your duct system, you will be able to see areas that suck smoke into the ducts or that blow smoke away from the ducts. Slowly pass the candle or incense near your ducts and watch for odd behavior from the smoke. Mark any problem areas you notice and seal these holes before moving to the next step.
Fog Machine Test
Want to clear up any doubt that you have properly sealed air in your ductwork? Introduce a little fog in the home Now, it’s important you DO NOT do this test before you’ve completed the steps above and filled the necessary holes, because too much fog can spill out of your ducts if so and you won’t be able to pinpoint the tiny holes that you are trying to find. But once you’ve done this, by, rent, or borrow a fog machine, like the kind you might use for a Halloween party. Then, tape plastic sheets over all of the vents in your house. Place the fog machine near your furnace or blower intake fan and turn on the fog machine. Look for any fog that escapes your ducts and then mark those holes.