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Home Performance

Distribution System & Duct Leakage

Having leaking ductwork not only lowers the efficiency of the HVAC system, it can also negatively impact your indoor air quality and overall home comfort.

- Efficiency: According to the US Department of Energy, "You can lose up to 60% of your heated air before it reaches the register if your ducts aren't insulted and they travel through unheated spaces, such as the attic or crawlspace." In the homes we test, we have found that most duct systems leak an average of 30-40%. That is the equivalent of throwing away $0.40 for each dollar you spend on heating and cooling!

- Air Quality: Ductwork is usually located in the attic or crawlspace, which can cause harmful indoor air quality. During the winter months, the crawlspace usually gets damp, which combined with the dark environment, encourages mold growth. Every time the heater comes on, the leaking ducts can pull this damp, moldy air into the home!

- Comfort: A very common concern of homeowners is that some rooms are too hot or too cold, and others don't receive enough air flow. Older duct systems don't have dampers ,which help balance air flows by room and direct heat where you want it.Fixing leaks and installing dampers can alleviate most of these concerns.

Due to the catastrophic duct leakage throughout the duct system, the ducts could not be pressurized to determine leakage. Large rips and gashes are allowing conditioned air to escape the home. All ducts should be replaced for maximum efficiency.

Ductwork Questions & Answers

• Sealing • Insulating • Benefits • How-to

We spend hundreds of dollars on energy efficient features, but recent studies on Southern homes show that we often overlook plugging the biggest energy waste-leaks in the ductwork for forced-air heating and cooling systems.

Q. Why is sealing the ductwork important? Answer

Q. How do duct leaks affect heating and cooling equipment? Answer

Q. How do I know if a system has duct leaks? Answer

Q. Why is duct leakage so common? Answer

Q. If the ducts are insulated, do they need to be sealed? Answer

Q. Are certain types of ducts more airtight? Answer

Q. Where is the best location for ductwork? Answer

Q. Where are the most important areas to seal? Answer

Air Barrier FAQs

Q. Why install an air barrier? Answer

Q. What does an air barrier do? Answer

Q. What material can be used as an air barrier? Answer

Download the free PG&E Duct Testing brochure.

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