Sealing Air Ducts with Mastic

Summer’s here. Time to grill out, have some fun in the sun… and crank up the air conditioning. But before you do, you might want to check your ducts for leaks.

Leaky ducts can cause you to spend up to 30% more than you should on cooling and heating your home. Not only that, leaks allow dirt and moisture to infiltrate your ductwork, encouraging mold growth that can make you sick.

Fix those leaks

Don’t automatically reach for the duct tape. It’s a short-term fix. The adhesive on duct tape dries out over time, allowing leaks to re-form.
Instead, do what the experts recommend: seal your leaks with mastic.
Mastic is a fibrous adhesive used to seal those pesky air leaks for good. It comes in a bucket for application with a putty knife or trowel, or in a tube for use with a caulking gun. The best kind of mastic is water-based. It performs at least as well as other types, is easier to use and clean up after, and won’t expose you to dangerous VOC’s.

How to use mastic to seal your ducts

The most likely places to find leaks in your ductwork is where two components meet. Inspect all connections and seams in your ductwork and coat any suspicious areas with mastic. About a ¼” bead (if you are using the tube) should be sufficient. A tube of mastic will cover about 50 linear feet; if you have to do a large amount of air sealing to do it might be more cost-effective to get your mastic in a resealable bucket.

Mastic is an inexpensive and very effective solution to a problem many people don’t even know they have. But once you see the difference in your energy bills, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

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