New Construction Duct Leakage Testing
In this video, our technician performs a Duct Leakage Test at a home that is still under construction. Typically, ductwork is installed within wall and floor cavities, so once the wallboard goes up it becomes largely inaccessible. For this reason, it’s best to perform the leakage test before installing sheetrock.
A Duct Leakage Test Will Identify Any Issues
There are many steps to follow when constructing a home, requiring multiple subcontractors and their laborers. Flexible ductwork, which resembles a dryer vent hose, is the product of choice for most HVAC contractors. It’s not uncommon, especially in attics, for this flexible duct to get kinked, crushed or pulled apart at the seams. This damage can go undetected for years causing discomfort and affecting indoor air quality. A Duct Leakage Test will detect these defects so they can be remedied long before the occupants move in.
Duct Leakage Testing Requirement in Rhode Island
Rhode Island has adopted the 2013 State Energy Conservation Code. The Code as written requires all new residential HVAC systems (new home or an existing home) with ductwork in unconditioned (uninsulated) spaces to be tested for air tightness. This test is called “duct leakage to the outside test”. This requirement is not new. It was first introduced in 2010.
The test results are to be reported to the building official in the form of cubic feet of air per minute (CFM) leakage per 100 square feet of conditioned (insulated) space at 25 pascals of pressure (CFM25).
Note: If all ducts and air handlers are located within the thermal envelope (conditioned space) testing may not be required. Check with the local building official.
Duct Leakage to the Outside Test
This test is designed to quantify the amount of air that is lost through ductwork located outside the home’s conditioned space, such as an unheated basement, attic, or crawlspace. Air leaks inside the conditioned space are not considered as bad and therefore are not considered as part of the test. Although, the system balance and overall comfort of the home may be affected.
When should a duct leakage test be performed?
Most tests are performed either immediately after HVAC rough-in is complete or when the home is entirely finished.
Who is approved to perform a duct leakage test?
The building code states that duct leakage testing will be performed by an approved third party, like Energy Geeks, where required by the building official. The Building Code Commission is reviewing legislation that will approve statewide credentials. As of today, there is no standard in place. The builder is not allowed to perform the test.
Is a duct leakage test required for a gut rehab?
As a rule, if the cost of any new ductwork is less than 50% of the entire existing system cost, then the test requirement may be waived by the local building official.
Request Duct Leakage Testing
If you’d like more information on how you can minimize energy consumption and maximize savings while making your home more comfortable all year round, then contact Energy Geeks. Our mission is to provide the most comprehensive and efficient solutions to reduce energy use in your home.