When an HVAC system is not delivering anticipated levels of comfort and efficiency, most homeowners immediately suspect their equipment may be defective. However, significant advances in testing protocols have provided definitive evidence that the majority of air conditioning and heating problems are caused by inferior air distribution systems. For many homes built prior to the early 2000s, the ductwork was installed improperly and never sealed.

According to Energy Star, the typical American home loses 20-30 percent of the conditioned air that travels through the duct network due to leaks, gaps and loose connections. Some air distribution systems are much worse with confirmed leakage as high as 50 percent. In these instances, utility costs increase dramatically as conditioned air escapes into the crawl space or attic. Indoor air quality is negatively impacted as the system operates under a negative pressure, which allows dirt, dust, fiberglass and other containments to be drawn directly into the living area.

Understanding the Aeroseal Duct Sealing System

With the introduction of duct blaster and blower door technology, HVAC professionals have the ability to document the actual amount of leakage in a duct system. If the loss is significant, homeowners are advised to hire a contractor to seal the system since the operating cost savings will quickly pay for the application.

Most heating and cooling contractors offer duct sealing services, but the vast majority use a traditional bucket and brush method. External duct sealing is costly and messy, and the mechanic usually misses a significant number of hidden penetrations and small gaps. Conversely, certified Aeroseal dealers have the training and expertise required to seal virtually every crack, hole or breech in the duct system. The Aeroseal process will restore the level of performance and efficiency that the homeowner expected when the equipment was originally installed.

After assessing the condition of the ductwork and determining the quantity of leakage, the Aeroseal technician will insert foam plugs into every register opening. After cutting an access hole into the supply and return ducts respectively, the technician will attach temporary collars. The Aeroseal equipment is then connected to the collars with long flexible plastic tubing.

A proprietary microprocessor-controlled injection machine is engaged and begins to heat up a specially formulated sealant material comprised of microscopic adhesive particles suspended in a transfer liquid. As the material heats up, the particles are dried and become suspended in the surrounding air. The technician turns on an industrial strength fan, and the particles are blown directly into the duct system via the access hole.

The pressure applied by the blower forces the sealant material through the ductwork at a very constant rate of movement. The particle matter seeks out breeches, gaps and holes as it continues to build up multiple layers over the damaged duct sections until all the holes are completely sealed. The Aeroseal method can fill cracks, puncture or holes up to 5/8-inch in diameter. Aeroseal is environmentally friendly and can be used on fiberglass, sheet metal and flexible duct systems.

The Benefits of Duct Sealing

There are many benefits associated with a sealed and self enclosed duct system including:

* Enhanced Efficiency: Porous ductwork can cause cooling and heating costs to rise dramatically. Applying Aeroseal duct sealant to the interior of the air distribution system will provide a superior return on investment since utility expenses will be significantly lower. In some instances, HVAC equipment can actually be downsized since the duct leakage has been eliminated. Lower capacity equipment costs less to purchase, install and maintain.

* Better Comfort: Homeowners who experience uneven comfort levels across different rooms may have a serious duct leakage problem. Modern HVAC equipment that is matched with a properly sized and sealed duct system will provide better comfort while eliminating drafts and stagnant air pockets.

* Improved Indoor Air Quality: Negative pressure air leaks can have a serious impact on those with allergies, asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions. As the system is starved for air, a variety of pollutants are drawn into the indoor environment and continuously circulated through the system. The Aeroseal process ensures that leakage is eliminated, so the entire HVAC duct grid remains enclosed and self contained.

Save Money and Improve Efficiency

Older homes were built when energy costs were low and environmental consciousness was nonexistent. As a consequence, many duct systems are deficient and require significant repair. The Aeroseal process provides the most effective method for complete duct sealing, and it is available through certified HVAC contractors everywhere.