Sealing air-ducts from the inside.
As discussed earlier in this weekly newsletter, having an efficient heating and cooling system is one of the easiest ways to make an impact on the amount of carbon dioxide a home emits. Having a performant source of heat, like for example a ground source heat pump, is a big part of the equation. What definitely matters too is having perfectly sealed pipes. Using a radiator distribution system, it’s pretty clear when the plumbing isn’t closely sealed, but in the case of an air-based system, leaky ducts and imperfect connections are stealthy performance killers. Even small amounts of leakage can lead to waste of up to 30% of useful energy compared to a well-sealed system.
Today’s PropTech company offers an easy and inexpensive way to fill the last cracks in the ductwork.
Aeroseal offers air duct diagnostics and sealing solutions to building owners. The diagnosis and fixing of leaks bigger than 1.5 cm happen in line with how their competitors handle the situation, but to fix the minor leaks they use an advanced proprietary technology that utilizes fumes to apply a sealing formula to the inside of the ducts. The non-toxic water-based formula fills all the holes it encounters throughout the duct system.
Imagery courtesy Aeroseal
The process is computerized and monitored while applying the aerosols, so only the right amount of sealant is used in the process.
The system was invented in 1993 by Dr Mark Modera. The importance of the invention was recognized by his scientific peers, being awarded the prestigious Energy Top 100 award by the US Department of Energy, but the technology was only really successfully brought to market when he teamed up with Amit Gupta and they started up Aeroseal together.
The main focus for years has been air-tightening air ducts, but with the launch of the Aerobarrier product more recently they also offer a solution for air-sealing complete buildings. With the real-estate industry’s focus on carbon-neutral buildings, Aerobarrier can provide a relatively inexpensive piece of the puzzle in constructing net-zero buildings.
Imagery courtesy Aeroseal
🕵️♀️ Who else?
There are a lot of coating options that can be applied by painting or spraying the outside of the ductwork, but we are not aware of alternatives that apply to the inside of the ducts. Please leave a message in the comments should you be aware of any.
Air-tightening an existing installation by coating all the ductwork is expensive, not only because of the cost of the raw materials, but also because of the sheer amount of work that is needed to accomplish the task. The alternative, only fixing the leaks, still makes you inspect the whole system and hunt down the leaks. Using Aeroseal removes the need to detect all individual leaks, and it also fixes issues that aren’t easily detectable. Keeping in mind that Aeroseal only takes a couple of hours to apply in a standard home installation and tailors the amount of product used to the needs of the installation, it seems to be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than the alternatives.
Depending on the state of your ducts, Aerosealing not only has operational advantages in terms of budget and eco-friendliness, but it should also improve the comfort of your home and result in healthier air.
👎 Why not?
In cases where not only air-tightness but also heat insulation is a factor, coating the ducts with a coating that covers both of these aspects is probably a better option.
In an era overshadowed by Covid-19, the sensitivity to the air that we breathe is certainly heightened. The importance of the formula that is being sprayed in your ductwork being not harmful cannot be overstated.
📚 Further reading?
Next week in proptechaweek: Aquaseal!