The Department of Energy (DOE) chose a Chicago home when it began studying the correlation between duct leakage and a home’s heating and cooling efficiency. Chicagoans should read this article because the HVAC efficiency improvements they could expect to attain by sealing the duct leaks in their homes still apply today. The benefits were so significant it led the DOE to fund the development of Aeroseal; a quicker, less destructive and longer lasting method to seal duct leaks and enhance energy efficiency. Better comfort, healthier indoor air quality, lower carbon emissions and reduced energy use give homeowners a big return on their home improvement investment.

Chicago Duct Leak Test & Seal Summary
A pre-sealing duct test on this Chicago home showed it was only getting 67% efficiency from its duct system, which meant nearly 1/3 of the energy given to the system was getting wasted. Conditioned air, instead of going to the living space, was being lost into the walls and attic through cracks in the ducts. Conversely, large amounts of dust and unhealthy particulates were entering the system through the leaks and being spread throughout the home.

Using traditional tape and mastic the NREL team sealed the leaks and re-tested the system. While this process was very time-consuming and messy, in 1993 they were thrilled to see the post-sealing efficiency of the duct system increase to 83% and the cost to heat and cool the home decrease by nearly 20%. Today, with the Aeroseal technology, most duct systems achieve close to 95% efficiency in less than one day’s work with no destructive inconvenience.

Duct Sealing History
This research was conducted by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and encompasses duct sealing studies from 1993. It is important because it explains how important the DOE considers duct sealing to be based on the tremendous impact it has on energy efficiency, indoor health, comfort and equipment durability. No other home improvement will deliver so many benefits.

Dr. Mark Modera, a scientist at the University of California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, invented Aeroseal in 1994. The nondestructive duct leak sealing process has won countless awards and is used widely throughout the world in homes, commercial buildings, hospitals, universities and more.

Here is a link to the DOE's Building America article;  Better Duct Systems for Home Heating and Cooling..