When an HVAC system is not operating at optimal efficiency and comfort levels, you might immediately think that your equipment is at fault. Nevertheless, major advances in testing procedures have revealed that the majority of heating and air conditioning problems are due to poor air distribution systems.
If your house is one of those experiencing heating or air conditioning problems, you need to check out Aeroseal for air duct sealing!
In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about Aeroseal, including its pros and cons, costs, safety, and much more.
What Is Aeroseal?
Aeroseal is essentially a duct sealing solution that aims to make the heating and cooling equipment more efficient.
It is made up of polymers which are long molecules that cling together and seal up holes, misalignments, or leaks in your ductwork.
Aeroseal spray blasts a mist of specialized material that adheres to and seals up air duct holes and leaks. This ultimately creates an efficient and tight seal in the ductwork.
The technology uses nanoparticles that are particularly designed and built to fit together and develop a way to prevent air from escaping. This makes your air ducts as airtight as possible!
Understanding the Process of Aeroseal Duct Sealing
The Aeroseal duct sealing procedure starts with your local HVAC contractor blocking and taping off every register and grill in your home using foam.
They will then hook up the Aeroseal machine up to the ductwork close to the furnace or air conditioner.
Once they have blocked everything and hooked up the machine, they will seal off the furnace to protect cooling and heating components.
The machine then starts blowing an atomized polymer into the ductwork. The sealing particles reach the leakage points (gaps, seams, joints) in the ductwork and fix themselves to the edge of the opening and start creating a seal.
You can check out this great video here from This Old House that demonstrates how this works –
You can also visit the company’s website here, where they have some great videos, a blog, and an FAQ that delves into how the system works in more detail.
Air Duct System Diagnosis and Inspection
It’s worth noting that before sealing your air duct with aeroseal, a certified technician performs a diagnosis and inspection to identify potential issues.
It’s from the diagnosis that the expert recommends ways to maximize your savings and improve your home’s comfort.
The major considerations during the inspection include:
- Construction practices
- Age of the building
- The type of ductwork
- Hot/cold or stuffy rooms
- High energy bills
- Indoor air quality
Specifically, the expert will assess the following:
- Inconsistent temperature variations across the home
- Air flow levels in all rooms
- The percentage and amount of the air leaking from the ductwork and other air flow ventilation challenges
- Backdraft and combustion hazard potential for furnaces, fireplaces, and gas heater rooms
- Any manual repair issues for the air duct system
Pros and Cons of Using Aeroseal to Seal Ductwork
In this section, we will explore the pros and cons of using Aeroseal for ductwork sealing.
Once you have a fair idea of both its advantages and drawbacks, you can make an informed decision on whether it works for you or not.
Pros of Using Aeroseal to Seal Ductworks
The potential benefits of using Aeroseal to seal ductworks include improved indoor air quality. This can ultimately lead to a more comfortable, healthier, and cleaner home.
1. Advanced Technology
Aeroseal’s technology is patented by the U.S. Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Agency.
The Aeroseal application process also won the Best New Product Award from 2011’s This Old House magazine and Best of What’s New Award from Popular Science magazine.
2. Increased Energy Efficiency
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, repairing air ducts is one of the most important and beneficial ways to improve energy consumption.
Moreover, the American Council for Energy Efficient Economy classified ductwork to be one of the top fifteen energy-saving technologies.
As you perhaps know, saving energy results in lower utility bills. The average American homeowner spends $2,060 per year on utility bills, according to Energy Star.
And commercial property owners spend more than $7,235 on energy bills each year.
If there is a leak in the ductwork, 30 cents for each dollar spent is lost on average. Thus, you are basically paying for air that you aren’t even getting.
This brings us to another potential benefit of Aeroseal commercial duct sealing.
According to the manufacturers, Aeroseal can lower duct leakage by nearly 90 percent and lower your energy consumption by up to 30 percent. Thus, it can possibly end up saving you hundreds, or maybe even thousands of dollars each year!
3. More Comfortable Living and Working Space
One indicator that you might have leaky ductwork is if your home or workspace isn’t cooling or heating evenly.
For example, you might feel that some rooms or floors are warmer or cooler than others. Or you might feel that certain spaces feel particularly drafty, whereas others feel as if there’s no air circulation at all.
In some cases, the unevenness in airflow and temperature can be pretty extreme. And this can be quite frustrating for your family members, leasers or staff to deal with.
With Aeroseal commercial duct sealing, your building or home’s temperature can be more consistent and even. In addition, the cooling and heating airflow can also get better.
Moreover, sometimes, cracked, older ductwork can lead to a musty odor or smell. Aeroseal commercial duct sealing can possibly eliminate that odor and stop it from circulating throughout your space.
3. Improved Health
Aeroseal commercial duct sealing manufacturers also claim that their solution allows for healthier and overall improved indoor air quality.
When the air ducts have cracks, dirt, dander, dust, allergens, moisture, pollen, and pollutants can get in the air.
In addition, leaks in the ventilation shaft can also reduce the efficiency of exhaust fans. This can lead to mildew or mold problems which cause further deterioration of indoor air quality.
For people with allergies, this could aggravate symptoms like sneezing and itchy, watery eyes.
Air pollution is a major health risk, and the presence of mold spores in the air can severely damage your building’s structure as well.
Sealing your air ducts using Aeroseal prevents these contaminants from getting into the circulating air. This improved air quality means that everyone who inhabits the space will experience fewer allergy symptoms.
All in all, everyone will be healthier and will be able to breathe more easily.
Another way in which Aeroseal commercial duct sealings can perhaps make your space healthier is by allowing more effective radon gas migration to create better airflow and pressure.
4. Non-Toxic and Safe Sealing Solution
Aeroseal is made up of a UL-tested material commonly used in hair spray and chewing gum.
Also, Aeroseal is used in hospitals like the Nemours Children’s Hospital and Mayo Clinic, which point towards its safety.
5. Productive and Dependable System
Inefficiency can negatively impact your HVAC system in the long run.
If your ductwork is leaking, the HVAC system will have to work harder to maintain the required settings, which decreases its efficiency by 20 to 45 percent.
Over time, this inefficiency speeds up wear and tear in the system, which is manifested in costly and frequent repairs.
Cons of Using Aeroseal to Seal Ductwork
What we have outlined above is the standard Aeroseal benefit list.
However, it doesn’t tell us how much each of these benefits will apply to your house. Here are some of the drawbacks of using Aeroseal to seal ductwork.
1. No Noticeable Change
In certain cases, there might be no observable dust change because the dust is coming from an air leak or dust change.
In other cases, Aeroseal won’t improve your comfort since the sizing of the ductwork is the primary cause of comfort issues.
Some homes might not witness any improvement in their energy bills but notice a significant reduction in dust. The right method to determine how this interplay is to have a comprehensive energy audit performed on your house.
2. Only Seals Small Holes
Aeroseal’s biggest limitation is the fact that it only seals holes smaller than 5/8″, which is quite small.
Leaks or holes in the ductwork that are bigger than 5/8″ need to be sealed manually first. This can be an issue if your duct system has bigger leaks as Aerosealing is costlier than manually sealing the ductwork but won’t get to the root of your duct leakage issue.
3. High Costs
Another drawback of Aeroseal for duct sealing is its high costs.
Research supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America revealed that the cost of applying sealant manually ranged from $275 to $511 per unit.
On the other hand, the cost for Aeroseal-treated ducts equaled $700 per unit.
How Does This Compare To How Traditional Air Duct Sealing Is Done?
Organizations that only use Aeroseal would make you think that Aeroseal offers a much better seal on leaky ductwork. But that’s not completely true.
The actual reality is that since Aeroseal seals ducts from the inside, we do not require access to the ductwork to seal it. Thus, Aeroseal is more suitable for such homes.
For houses with inaccessible ducts, Aeroseal is a better option as compared to manually sealing the ductwork. However, a manual duct seal still has to be done on such houses when viable.
If the ductwork is completely accessible, then manually sealing the ductwork with mastic is a better and less expensive solution than Aerosealing. This is because we can apply a thicker layer with a more rigid backing on bigger leaks than what Aeroseal applies.
A thicker layer of mastic will surely last longer as compared to a thin layer. On most tract houses, the ductwork is completely accessible. Thus, you can use manual duct sealing to attain good results.
Is It Important to Seal Ductwork?
When you use your air conditioner or furnace to produce cooling and heating, you believe all the cooled or warmed air will be delivered inside your home. Such air systems make use of a duct system to channel the cooled or warmed air into the living spaces all throughout your house.
However, leaks are a major problem in many duct systems, which prevents all the conditioned air produced by the HVAC system from getting to your living spaces.
As per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an ordinary house loses nearly 20 to 30 percent of its conditioned air via duct leaks. A part of the conditioned air escapes the duct system, whereas the rest of it makes its way to your bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and other parts of your house.
Duct leaks can occur anywhere in your house’s air duct system.
The ducts that send cooled and heated air into the living areas and the ducts that carry air back to the HVAC system are susceptible to air loss. Air leaks usually occur because of:
This air loss can lead to major problems for your house, such as:
- Lack of proper connections of registers and vents to their ducts in the walls, ceilings, and floors of a house
- Damaged ductwork
- Fallen sections of ductwork.
- Loose connections and joints where one section of the ductwork attaches with another.
This air loss can lead to major problems for your house, such as:
- Unhealthy indoor air quality
- Poor comfort control
- Energy wastage
- Dirty ductwork
- Increased energy costs
- Higher wear and tear in HVAC equipment
- Malfunctions in the HVAC system
Does the Aeroseal Duct Sealant Last Long?
The Aeroseal duct sealing solution comes with a ten-year warranty.
However, don’t mix that up with lifespan as that is quite long. The results of accelerated testing performed at Lawrance Berkeley National Laboratory revealed that Aeroseal didn’t show any signs of worsening in the Aeroseal seals.
Plus, it continued to seal way past the life span of mastic and tape.
Aeroseal’s durability has also been tested for more than four decades. It surpassed all UL standards for durability. Thus, the warranty covers the contractor for 10 years for labor and parts for any failure in the Aeroseal seal.
Nevertheless, the Aeroseal seal itself lasts for decades.
Is It Necessary to Clean the Ductwork Before Sealing?
Ideally, you should clean the dirty ductwork before using Aeroseal.
Otherwise, the only preparation you need to do is cover any electronic items in the area where the sealant may be applied.
Your local HVAC or home services contractor can guide you better on whether it’s important to clean the ductwork before sealing.
The costs of the Aeroseal duct solution are dependent on several details. Here is a list of factors that impact the cost of your ductwork sealing –
- Square footage of your house
- Location of your house
- The scope of the task
- Whether you select an aerosol or a manual system
- Other heating, ventilation, and air conditioning factors.
Your HVAC contractor can give you a tailored cost approximate for the entire procedure.
Does Aeroseal Work on In-Slab Air Ducts?
Aeroseal is perfect to seal sheet metal HVAC duct encased in concrete if the right conditions are met.
The interior surfaces of the duct shouldn’t be wet or hold standing water as the seals are going to soften and deteriorate with time if in contact with or submerged in water.
The ducts have to be fairly clean, with less than 1/8″ of debris buildup on the interior surfaces.
Bear in mind Aeroseal is not an encapsulant, and it’s not supposed to work as an encapsulant or as a water barrier. It’s also not meant as a repair for failing in-slab ductwork.
Wrapping it Up
While relatively new on the scene, Aeroseal is making a big dent in the industry where typically tape, Mastic, and maybe a couple of other ways have traditionally been used to try to seal up your air ducting and to make it more efficient.
While there are some pros and cons, it can definitely be a great way to go about it.
Little do most people know that air sealing, in general, can be the lowest hanging, and cheapest energy efficiency option available to you as a homeowner.