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Does Your Home Need a Duct Leakage Test?

At Bradley Mechanical, we know the discomfort leaking ducts can cause in a home. Our HVAC specialists can help determine the cause of leakage with one of three tests:

  1. A flow hood with a blower door running
  2. A duct blaster (a miniature fan hooked to the duct system)
  3. Or by using a subtraction method with a blower door.

These tests can detect capacity loss, leakage volume and overall system efficiency. Once we’ve determined the cause and size of the problem, we work together with the homeowner to devise the best action plan.

Dirt and debris combined with the moisture from humidity due to unproperly sealed duct

What Causes Duct Leakage?

Pressurized duct systems began with the advent of air conditioning. With this great comfort came unintended building performance issues. Air conditioning takes cold air off the floor in winter and warm air off the ceilings in the summers. Still, if concentrated in one room, the home can depressurize. The pushing and pulling of unsealed ductwork can also affect indoor air quality.

Depending on the spaces your ducts run through, air quality could be affected by fiberglass, dander, lint, dirt, dust, construction debris, moisture, and VOCs.

This can happen for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Aging. If your duct system is old, simple wear and tear is enough to cause leaks. Similarly, gravity and constant usage can loosen ductwork and cause seals to break over time.
  • Pests. Your ductwork is typically out of sight and built around the outer layer of your home, making it both a comfortable home and an easy-to-access space for pests like rats, squirrels, bats and insects. The longer they stay, the more likely they’ll damage your ductwork and cause leaks.
  • Temperature fluctuations. In central Virginia, we experience a range of temperatures all year long. These fluctuations can impact your ductwork over time, especially if your ductwork is being put to the test day in and day out.
  • High humidity. Air ducts can soak up excess moisture, leading to corrosion or decay. If your home experiences high humidity levels, having your ductwork regularly inspected for these issues is important, as it can lead to bigger and more expensive problems down the road.
  • Installation errors. If your ductwork wasn’t properly installed in the first place, it leaves room for future issues.
Sneezing man due to poor air quality

Consequences Of Duct Leakage

Duct leakage directly impacts the efficiency of your home. These leakages can drop your system’s capacity to deliver hot or cold air. The most serious consequence of duct leakage is when there are large leaks near combustion appliances that exhaust harmful gases. If these return leaks are strong enough, they can pull down exhaust by-products and distribute them throughout the home, creating a risk for occupants.

Additionally, ductwork in need of sealing or repairs may result in:

  • High energy bills
  • Poor airflow between rooms
  • Hot or cold rooms
  • Drafts
  • Excessive dust
  • Unpleasant smells or noises

In instances of duct leakage, we may find it appropriate to run a static pressure test, which is essentially a blood pressure measurement of the HVAC system. This will let our technicians know if it is unnecessary to seal the duct, which could cause the coils to overheat or freeze.

Based on the results we find, homeowners will receive a fully detailed report and our recommendations for the next steps. With over 50 years of experience in home performance and ductwork, our certified technicians will provide you with solutions within your budget and timeframe.

Get in touch with Bradley Mechanical to learn more about conducting a Duct Leakage Test in your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you fix leaky ductwork?

Our certified team uses Aeroseal, a spray-based duct sealing product that covers all leaks within your air duct system. It makes the process faster and more efficient and is completely safe to be used in homes with children and pets. Best of all, the product is durable and will last for over 40 years.

How long does the ductwork testing take?

It may take our technicians an hour or two to fully inspect your ductwork and any other areas that cause concerns.

What are the benefits of sealing my ductwork?

If your ductwork requires sealing, odds are you’re experiencing issues like uneven cooling and heating, excessive dust around your home, as well as high energy bills. Undergoing ductwork testing will help identify the problems, and we can properly seal the leaks, providing you with a cleaner, safer, healthier home to live in.

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