Duct Leakage Testing

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Air Duct Leakage & Pressure Testing Experts

Duct leakage testing, air duct tightest testing, duct pressure testing, or ‘duct blaster’ testing – by whatever name you may know it – is used to measure the airtightness of your forced air heating, cooling, and ventilation ductwork.

Most existing duct systems are quite leaky, and as a result, are inefficient and make even home comfort difficult or impossible. Leaking conditioned air is a leading cause of attic moisture, mold, and ice damming. Air quality can also be poor as pollutants can be drawn into the leaky duct system from attics, crawlspace, or below concrete slab floors. Only an air-tight duct system can effectively distribute the conditioned air from high-efficiency heating/AC equipment. And only duct leakage testing can prove the system was built air-tight. Air-tight ducts can ensure comfort, control, durability, and good air quality.

Are duct leakage tests required in Illinois?

Yes, for all IL new construction homes, as required by the IL 2018 IECC, forced air systems with ducts passing through unconditioned spaces (attics, garage ceilings, cantilevered floors, etc.) must be tested for leakage. If the duct system has no exposure to ‘outside’, the system must still be sealed but leak testing is not required. Check with your code official for the final word.

Insight can also train HVAC technicians in cost-effective duct sealing techniques (eg. use mastic – NOT foil tape) and can serve as the approved 3rd party to test for duct leakage. Consult with Insight for cost-saving strategies to build air-tight duct systems.

When is the best time to perform a duct test?

The best time to test for duct leaks is as soon as the supply & return ducts are ‘roughed in’ – before they are covered by insulation & drywall. This way any remaining leaks can be accessed and sealed easily. If testing after finishes are installed, all wall grilles must be removed and wall gaps sealed to better ensure a passing result.

Additionally, leaks in ducts have different impacts depending on where they’re located, so it’s important to make sure that you don’t just focus on one area over the others. If a leak is in the duct system and not outside by a vent pipe, it can usually be fixed without doing major repairs.

There are four types of ducts where testing should be performed:

INSIGHT Property Services

View Sample Air Duct Leakage Report

From $350
For a 3,000 sqft home and $50 for each additional 1,000 sqft

What is required to schedule a duct test for code compliance?

Have all air ducts ‘roughed in’, with or without the air handler installed, or well before your final code inspection. Schedule testing with Insight, informing us of the phase of construction, the number of system openings, and if any openings are more than 9′ high. Have an installation technician present for testing, to seal holes as necessary. The service contract must be signed and payment made before duct testing. Insight will provide proof of testing immediately after testing, on site and/or by email.

Before scheduling your duct test, there are five things we need to know besides date and time availability. Those are:

What about testing ducts in existing homes?

If your home was built before 2013 and you have no other proof of duct sealing or AeroSealing having been done, then your ducts are likely not air-tight and probably quite leaky.  Insight will identify unsealed duct systems and, during a Home Performance Audit, evaluate whether duct leakage is a significant issue needing priority attention.  If leaky ducts are a significant issue, AeroSeal is typically the best course of action for air duct sealing.

Insight's inspectors are thorough, honest, and want you to understand the condition of the home you are buying. Insight inspectors are experienced building analysts and energy raters, with a level of evaluation beyond that of a typical IL licensed home inspector, and regularly evaluate high performance and Energy Star new homes.  Our inspectors will provide you with the most comprehensive home insight in the Chicago area.

For an average size home, a complete air duct leakage test takes approximately 2 hours.

$350 for up to 3,000 sqft. $50 for each additional 1,000 sqft, and $50 for each additional furnace. 

Results are provided on-site or can be emailed.

Yes, we can do condos and multi-unit buildings, we can do small commercial buildings as well.