How to check air ducts for leaks

air duct leak, indoor air quality, leaking air ducts

Air ducts provide the comfort you need to stay comfortable by moving air through the air conditioning system into every room. Air vents can cause a variety of issues – from low energy performance to bad air quality. Ductwork leakage has the potential to cost thousands every year. According to ENERGY STAR leaky ducts are 20-20 times less effective compared to leaky pipe insulation or sealable.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average duct system of a home loses about 20-30% of its airs due to holes and leaks in the ductwork. This loss of air isn’t only causing a rise in energy costs but it also does major damage to the environment.

How do I check my Ductwork for air leaks | My Guy Heating & Air Conditioning

Blog Your HVAC system ductwork plays an extremely critical role in improving the effectiveness of your system. Outside the air conditioning ductwork systems are also among those most frequently seen when a faulty AC unit is found. The signs that air ducts are leaking include uneven temperature and humidity, rust-covered homes, and high utilities costs.

Duct leaks: common signs & detection

Ductwork circulates air through HVAC units in your rooms. If your HVAC system is running well then you can stay in a safe home environment and keep an indoor environment healthy. Some of the major issues with ducted system leakage include higher energy costs and discomfort. Keep reading to find out what causes leaks and what to do to prevent it.

A smoke pencil or incense is a great example of a tool that you can use to perform a smoke test to find air duct leaks.

How do I know if my Ducts are leaking?

Increase in energy costs. How do we increase our electric consumption? The HVAC problem can occur. Once the airflow is damaged it will be transported into a basement attic or elsewhere. Your HVAC systems use more energy and hence your energy bill increases. Cold spots. Another common symptom of duct leak is hot or cold places in the home. They happen in rooms where there’s cold and more warm weather than in other places. It can be attributed to leaky ductwork if air flows freely outside the house or the room is exposed to much sunlight.

Tools needed for repairs

Once it’s confirmed that your home had a leaky air duct it’s now ready for repair. Below are tools needed to fix the problems at your inspections. It’s easy to find them at the local house improvement store. If repairs don’t suit you, get a BPI / RES Net certified expert to provide services. If you notice your ductwork needs replacing, you should never worry! Many repairs require merely a new sealant but if you find more substantial cracks within the pipes or ductwork you might need removal, repair, reattaching and sealing the pipe.

Pests or Animals

Even when homeowners remain vigilant, they may still be able to sneak in through air vents and cause significant damage if left unattended. Look to find signs and hear the sounds of potential pests or animals in the air duct. Please act quickly.


The lifespan of ductwork depends upon maintenance and repairs. Preventive steps can aid with the detection and prevention of damage and repair.

Poor maintenance

Cleaning and maintenance of air filters is recommended for all air conditioner systems that operate during periods ranging from 3-6 years. Dehumidifiers are very effective at removing moisture from the air inside our homes. 

What are Duct leaks?

Insulation around the ductwork is essential to maintaining a warm house. The conditioned air is released through a hole in the duct before reaching your home or office. Most homes rely on leaks in conditioned air. In addition, leaky pipes have three basic types: Typically supply leaks occur when supply air ducts leaking and airflow in living areas decreases. Second, there are leaks in equipment, which are generally ignored.

Air duct cleaning refers to the process of cleaning the air ducts in a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Over time, air ducts can become contaminated with dirt, dust, mold, and other pollutants. This can cause a variety of issues, including decreased air quality, decreased HVAC efficiency, and even health problems for those in the building.

Tell me the cause of air duct leakage?

Leakage can range from loose lines on ductwork to broken or cracked ductwork, depending on how much ducting is inside. The air duct leakage inspection is vital for energy efficiency and for preventing unsuspicious damage to the building structures. A leak in your air ducts can result in excessive humidity in your home, bad air conditions, energy waste, and extensive damage to your heating and cooling systems.

Poorly distributed heating and cooling throughout your home

If you notice that some rooms vary in temperature from other rooms in your house, you might need leakage. A leak of the ductwork can cause air leakages in your vents and cause your heating and air conditioning unit to fail in a room. Depending on the amount of air being circulated throughout the HVAC system the leak could be on the main branch before the air can be absorbed and the air will flow into any room more easily.

Electricity bills are high

The problem might come from an electric company not increasing the electricity rates of your home and the price has been increased. Leaky piping makes the air-conditioning system much harder and much more costly by causing leaks and causing greater energy consumption.

More dust and dirt in your house

The hole in the duct will carry debris from contaminated air to your home through the ductwork. The floors and furniture surrounding the vent are grittier than they were previously. This indicates an issue with leaking pipe.

Article Overview

Does your energy bill rise during summer and winter? Is the problem really in your HVAC system or the pipes that surround you? Air leaks may be very damaging for both your air conditioner and your pocketbook. We are working hard to help our clients find the right HVAC solution for them in an easy way. Here’s the easiest method of checking for a problem with the HVAC system in the home.

You’re dusting more

Unless you have a finger that has constantly been touching something or you are seeing excessive dirt, it can be the culprit. Leaking ductwork will accumulate dust in attics and basements and then distribute that dust around your residences. While dust does not always seem to cause any health problems, the dust can cause negative effects on the air quality over time and cause allergic reactions and respiratory disorders.

Utility bills are high

A major sign of duct leakage is high electricity bills. Your air ducts act as the means of transport to the conditioners. During leaks, conditioned air escapes the room before getting there to where it’s needed. In fact, your cooling unit will need a lot more work cooling your house. This extra time strain furthers the device requiring energy and therefore a higher energy bill to run.

Search For Old Duct Tape

Most people believe tape can help to fix ductwork leaks, but this does not always occur to me. Putting up duct tape on vent holes will help you resolve your problem. Make sure you are removing all old duct tapes and sealing them correctly. Mark leakages in the process for future repairs.

How can I find leaks in my Ductwork?

Finding duct leaks can be difficult but you have no fear it won’t be. How can we tell when an air vent has a leak? Call a local HVAC technician. A professional HVAC company like Comfort Masters Heating & Air Conditioning can help locate and fix the problem.

Signs of Duct Tape

When you purchase older homes, it is possible your pipes are leaking by checking the duct tape. Duct tape is usually used for DIY cleaning to repair air duct leaks. While it might first solve the problem, it won’t last and the problem may get more complicated. We look at all of the above signs during air vent inspections and we will remove the duct tape and properly seal the duct to ensure the proper protection of your HVAC system and property.

Ductwork inspection

When it comes to cleaning ducting, you should consult your HVAC professional to determine if there are leaks. During a routine inspection ductwork must show obvious tears or loose fittings. Those problems should be marked using an oil pencil and repaired after the inspection has finished.

Turn your HVAC system On Full Blast

The air conditioner can help you find the more obvious leaks. During repairs, a fire hazard sensor was used for the detection. Once the tangles begin, we mark the area using a grease pencil to fix the fire once the rest of the pipework is cleaned.

Seal up leaks

You need to seal all current leaks that you identified to avoid the possibility for further leaks to be located. You can use foil backed tape to wrap the air vent or apply the mastic directly to the leaking area to protect them from damage.

Inspect Duct Joints

A joint in the air duct is an area where air leakage can occur. It should be put in a position where the fingers can be placed to prevent airflow from the space.

3 Tell-tale signs of ductwork leakage

When the heating and cooling unit starts leaking from the duct, there’s a good risk it might cause a leak.

Your HVAC unit struggles to maintain temperature

A leakage in the drain can let warm and cold air escape into the draining area. Because the air is not reaching the intended place it is difficult to attain a certain configuration. If you don’t have anything to do, inspect the ductwork for possible cracks. Check out the guide below for the perfect thermostat setting for a quick fix. The AC drain line is an insulated pipe transporting waste and moisture from the condensates to a drain pipe and the condensation from this pipe into a drainage system.

High energy bills

If the electricity bill suddenly went up, and suddenly it seemed like nothing else was happening, then you were worried. Over time, ducts may have gaps or holes resulting in the loss of air flow. This means your furnace will operate for longer, causing increased costs.

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