Duct Leakage and Testing

Air leakage in forced air duct systems is now recognized as a major source of energy loss in residential construction. Research by building science professionals has shown that testing and sealing leaky air distribution systems is one of the most cost-effective energy improvements available in new construction.

Studies indicate that duct leakage can account for as much as 25% of the total house energy loss. The reason? The conditioned air leaks out of the system before it gets to the intended room and this results in the furnace or air conditioner running longer to satisfy the demand to deliver enough conditioned air to create the comfort the homeowner desires.

For nearly twenty years Mechanical codes have required that duct systems be “sealed”.

Recently, Energy Codes now require testing to quantify how well sealed the entire duct system is. The Energy Code now requires that duct leakage must not exceed strict standards. Those standards vary on the applicable energy code in force and the type of duct test being conducted.

D.R. Nelson & Associates has been conducting duct leakage testing since its introduction in the Energy Star for homes pilot project in 1996. We have conducted thousands of tests since then. We will work with your HVAC contractor by having them witness a pressurized test and injecting theatrical fog into the system. This will immediately visually identify all of the leakage in the system and help the HVAC contractor understand the detail with which all of the joints and seams in the system must be effectively sealed to exceed the code standards.

Contact one of our building science professionals today for duct leakage testing.