LBNL Report Number
Duct leakage has been identified as a major source of energy loss in residential buildings. Most duct leakage occurs at the connections to registers, plenums or branches in the duct system. At each of these connections a method of sealing the duct system is required. Typical sealing methods include tapes or mastics applied around the joints in the system. Field examinations of duct systems have shown that these seals tend to fail over time periods ranging from days to years. We have used several test methods over the last few years to evaluate the longevity of duct sealants when subjected to temperatures and pressures representative of those found in the field. Traditional cloth duct tapes have been found to significantly under-perform other sealants and have been banned from receiving duct tightness credits in California's energy code (California Energy Commission 1998). Our accelerated testing apparatus has been redesigned since its first usage for improved performance. The methodology is currently under consideration by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) as a potential new test method. This report will summarize the set of measurements to date, review the status of the test apparatus and test method, and summarize the applications of these results to codes and standards.