Air Duct

How to Check Your Ductwork for Leaks

One advantage of purchasing an HVAC system is that after you manually adjust it, it can help you save energy, especially if it is a smart one. That’s why if you want to make the most out of this appliance, you need to learn the warning signs. In this article, we are going to talk about how to check your ductwork for leaks.

The ductwork in your home is essential for your HVAC system since this will transport the air throughout your home. If there is an air leak, then your air conditioners will have to work twice as hard. This is bad for your HVAC because it can end up damaging key parts. Plus, you’ll also see this situation reflected in your energy bills.


In this regard, it is crucial to inspect them at least once a year. In addition, we would recommend hiring a professional because the maintenance of the ductwork should be done carefully. All HVAC experts know how to perform this process without damaging your system. We know this might be an extra cost you were not expecting, but it will expand the lifespan of your appliance in the long run.

Even though experts should be the ones fixing the significant problems with your HVAC, there are simple maintenance steps. This will help you identify any ductwork leak and fix it in no time. But, before we talk about this, you need to learn the critical warning signs.

3 Signs of a ductwork leak

If your HVAC system is acting up, you need to learn how to solve the issue right away. The first thing you need to do is make sure that the real problem is an air ductwork leak. Luckily, your air conditioner will let you know through the following signs if that is the case.

1. High energy costs

If you are wondering how to tell if air ducts are leaking in your home, your energy bill could have the answer. As you know, the ductwork is the main transport for conditioned air to return to your home. In case of a leak, part of the air will escape. This means your HVAC system will have to work harder to warm or cool your house. In addition, the extra energy that the appliance uses will affect your bills.

2. Accumulated dust

Have you been noticing that your house is accumulating dirt faster? Well, an air ductwork leak might be the problem. When there is an issue with your ducts, built-up dust can be pulled into your basement and distributed in your home. This is a dangerous scenario since you will have lower air quality, producing allergies or worsening respiratory symptoms.

3. Temperature difference

The primary goal of your HVAC system is maintaining one stable temperature throughout your house. If you notice that some rooms in your home are warmer than others, this is a clear sign of a ductwork air leak. Whether it is summer or winter, this will create an uncomfortable environment inside. Plus, it can also end up damaging your HVAC system. 

How to inspect ductwork for leaks?

In general, the ductwork inspection involves professional equipment that will accurately analyze and give exact airflow measurements. But apart from what the experts can do, there are a couple of steps homeowners can take to identify the problem.

If you plan to do this yourself, you will need a screwdriver, a flashlight, rags, and a digital camera. Further, you will also need to dress for the task. Make sure you get a pair of rubber gloves. Towards the end, we will also teach you how to fix this problem temporarily while a professional is available. To do this, you will need HVAC aluminum foil tape and mastic sealant.

Below, we will give you a complete guide on how to check ductwork for leaks. However, remember always to be careful, and in case you have any trouble, it will be better to call a professional.

1. Checking the main unit

For every ductwork inspection, the first step is checking the primary unit, which has large ducts. One brings the air into the HVAC system, and the other distributes it into branch ductworks. Once you locate these elements inside your home, turn on your air conditioner.

With the system on, you will make sure there are no leaks in the air duct connections. You can do this only by using your hand to feel it out. But if you want to be more accurate, look for a piece of toilet paper. If there is not an issue here, you need to check the branch ductwork.

2. Looking at branch ducts

To complete the full inspection, you need to check all the branch ducts distributed around your home. Usually, you can find this in the attic or the basement. Take a flashlight and check if there are any signs of mold, torn pieces, or wet spots. If you notice any of these elements, you’ll need to call a technician. Doing it alone is not an option since it can be damaging to your health.

3. Repairing the leak

If you have discovered where the leak of your HVAC system is, then the hard part is over. Now, the only thing left to do is fixing it. First, take your rag and ensure the area is clean. Then you will need the foil tape and place it over the leak. Finally, use the mastic sealant to secure everything in place.

Since you know how to find leaks in ductwork, the next time it happens, it would be easy to identify and repair before anything gets damaged. 

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to tell if air ducts are leaking is crucial when you have an HVAC system. That’s why in this article, you learned the warning signs and how to find leaks in ductwork by yourself. Remember that if an air leak is not the problem, then the issue could be dirty or uninsulated ducts. To be sure, it is always better to contact your provider and book an appointment with an HVAC expert. 

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