What is a Duct Leakage Test
In Case You Did Not Know: A Duct Leakage Test is a diagnostic test that measures the air tightness of an HVAC system. The primary reason to conduct a Duct Leakage Test is to evaluate the continuity and integrity of ductwork. Any improperly sealed or attached parts will adversely affect the entire system. Why pay to heat or cool air only to have it spill into an unfinished attic or basement? This is why some rooms are cooler than others in the winter and the opposite in the summer.
Also, poorly fitted or sealed components can pull in dirty air from unfinished spaces leading to indoor air quality issues.
Leaky ductwork can be problematic so it’s crucial that it be properly installed and sealed. To do this duct mastic is the product of choice.
Duct Mastic: Duct mastic is a water-based pliable material with a consistency similar to peanut butter. It’s applied to seams, joints and connections with a small brush or similar tool. When properly applied duct mastic should last for the life of the system. The goal is 100% sealed ductwork from end to end.
Do I Need Duct Sealing?
The 2012 International Residential Code (IRC) has required testing for air leakage in ductwork since 2012. From 2012 through 2018 testing exemption was allowed for ductwork located inside the conditioned space. Many towns are now requiring the testing of ductwork regardless of location. This makes sense when you consider that losing conditioned air within the conditioned space means that rooms furthest from the air handler may receive an inadequate supply. This can leave some areas of a home feeling uncomfortable.
Is a Duct Leakage Test Worth It?
You bet it is and it is a requirement in most localities.
I know what you may be thinking, another requirement on top of an already long list of things that need to be done when constructing a home. But consider this, good test results from a Duct Leakage Test can increase the resale value of your home. We predict that in the near future, it will be commonplace for builders and sellers to include duct leakage test results when listing a home for sale.
Who Does Duct Leakage Testing?
Certification is required to perform duct leakage testing. Individuals must be either BPI (Building Performance Institute) Certified or a Certified HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Rater. HERS Raters also perform whole home energy modeling.
What is Whole Home Energy Modeling?
Whole Home Energy Modeling examines a building’s energy use by creating a virtual model before construction begins.
Here’s how Whole Home Energy Modeling works.
Relevant data from the building plans and owner are entered into energy modeling software. HVAC equipment efficiency, appliance efficiency, the quality and quantity of insulation, the integrity of the air barrier and more are all included. The software then compares the results to a baseline home and predicts energy consumption and highlights optimization opportunities.
Modeling results are summed up on a Projected Rating Certificate issued by your HERS Rater. In most states, this Projected Rating Certificate is a required document when applying for a building permit.
How Much Does a Duct Leakage Test Cost?
This depends on the number of mechanical systems as well as the size and complexity of the home. Expect prices to start around $350 and climb from there.
Tip of The Day: When building a new home consider adding an electric vehicle charging outlet. The day is quickly coming when all passenger vehicles will be electric.
In Other Related News: Whether you’re in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, ask your HERS Rater about the benefits of registering your new construction or major rehab project under the RNC (Residential New Construction) or the R&A (Renovations and Additions) Program. Registering is FREE and you may receive generous rebates and other incentives from the utility company serving your area.
Bottom Line: Homes today are not constructed the way they were a generation ago. Today they are more durable, better insulated, have better indoor air quality, use less water and require considerably less energy to operate. Expect this trend to continue as each state grapples with carbon reduction goals while building technology continues to develop.
Want to Learn More About Duct Leakage Tests?
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.