Buying efficient AC and heating equipment for a central air system is quite the investment. The whole point of buying efficient equipment is to keep your HVAC bills down. While efficient equipment will help to keep your bills low, you cannot forget about your air delivery system. Over time, your ducting can develop leaks, and these leaks can decrease your overall system efficiency by up to 40%. What this means is that if you start with a furnace that is 95% efficient, leaky ducts can drop your efficiency to 55%. In order to keep your system running efficiently and your HVAC bills low, you need to inspect your duct system for leaks and make repairs when necessary. 

Looking for Leaks in Your Ducting System

If your ducts are completely hidden by the drywall in your home, then you cannot inspect them for leaks on your own. Instead, you will need to hire a ducting contractor so that they can use their specialized tools and training to find leaks in your duct system. However, if you have exposed ducts in your attic, in an unfinished basement, or in a crawlspace, you can inspect your ducts on your own using the following steps:

1. Turn the switch on your thermostat to the fan setting.

2. Access you ducts, and light a stick of incense. Run the smoking incense along the outside of you ducts.  

3. With a marker, mark any spot where air escaping from your ducts disturbs the smoke emanating from the incense. 

Repairing Leaks

Once you have marked your leaks, you can easily repair leaks with duct mastic, which comes as a thick paste. Simply use a paintbrush or a putty knife to apply the mastic to your ducting. Make sure that your thermostat is set to the off position while you apply your mastic, so it has a chance to cure before air begins flowing through your ducts. Also, make sure you apply a thick layer of mastic and it covers at least an inch beyond the leak in your ducting. 

Repairing leaks in your duct system really is not a big chore if you have access to your ducts. If you want to save money by making repairs on your own, the good news is that you really don't need expensive tools or equipment to make repairs. However, if you cannot easily access your ducts, you will need to trust making repairs to trained professionals, like with John Legg's Heating & Air Conditioning

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