Hey, Carbon Warriors. Today, I want to share my personal experience with you about how I stumbled across a process called Aeroseal and how it significantly improved the efficiency of my central heating and cooling system—Aeroseal. Suppose you’re looking to enhance energy savings, improve indoor air quality, and maintain consistent temperatures throughout your home. In that case, Aeroseal might just be the game-changer you’ve been looking for. Let’s uncover the secrets of Aeroseal’s magic airflow solution.
What is Aeroseal? Is that the same thing as Aerobarrier?
I’ve talked about it before in this blog. My name is Samantha Shannon; I am an HGTV addict. (all together now, “Hi Samantha”). Yes, that’s right. I was a child who grew up watching PBS and learning about historical literature, from a costume-clad Jack Russell terrier named Wishbone to learning about home efficiency from Mike Homes on the DIY network and CBC. As much as I watch both programs for entertainment value, they do inspire me to dive deeper into the subject matter. So after a short clip about aerobarrier on Holmes on Holmes one day, I decided to give it a “Google.” I ended up finding aeroseal in my area first! If you’ve never seen the episode I’m talking about, I’ll clarify what these systems and procedures are.
Aeroseal and Aerobarrier are similar in that they are both methods used to seal air leaks in residential or commercial buildings. Still, they differ in their application and purpose.
Aeroseal is a patented duct sealing process that targets leaks in the ductwork of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. It involves injecting a specially formulated sealant into the ducts and using air pressure to distribute the sealant throughout the system. The sealant adheres to the edges of the leaks, effectively sealing them from the inside out. Aeroseal is primarily used to improve energy efficiency and indoor air quality and ensure balanced airflow within a building.
Aerobarrier, on the other hand, is a product and process specifically designed to seal air leaks in the building envelope. It involves pressurizing the whole building with an aerosolized sealant, which is released into the air and actively seeks out and seals leaks. The sealant fills gaps in the walls, ceilings, floors, and other areas of the building envelope, creating a more airtight structure overall. Aerobarrier is primarily used to enhance energy efficiency, reduce drafts, prevent building failure, and improve indoor air quality by preventing outside air infiltration.
While Aeroseal focuses on sealing air leaks in ductwork, Aerobarrier is intended for sealing leaks in the building envelope itself. Both solutions can significantly improve energy efficiency and indoor comfort. Still, their applications vary depending on the specific needs of the building.
Improved Energy Efficiency
You know those high-energy bills that give you a minor heart attack every month? Yeah, those. Aeroseal comes to the rescue. Whether your house is new or old has been recently renovated by DIYers or a team of specialized trades – it was probably still prone to leaks caused by human error or just limits of the building material itself. By sealing the leaks in your ductwork using PHYSICS, this innovative technology prevents conditioned air from escaping into parts of your home where it’s not meant to be. This means less energy waste, as the heated or cooled air is directed precisely where it’s intended, resulting in significant energy savings over time. Plus, who wouldn’t love a lower utility bill?
Yet one question comes to mind, or at least it did come to us. Who cares if my ducts are leaky? It’s all within my home. It’s not like leaky ducts have my hot air going outside. That’s correct, but I found this analogy helpful.
If you are trying to water your garden at the very edge of your property, you can get a bucket and carry it to it one bucket at a time. That’s not efficient, similar to dragging your furnace or space heater into every room of the house isn’t efficient either. So you would get a hose, connect it to your house tap, and take the hose’s end to the garden. But suppose your garden hose is full of leaks because it’s old, or cracked, or has been chewed on by the dog. In that case, the hose will only trickle out a small amount of water to water your lettuce and ultimately make a great big old puddle across your lawn, driveway, or patio behind you.
Similarly, We need the heat to get to those floor and ceiling registers. Not to get lost in our wall and ceiling cavities where it struggles to heat our rooms because it’s trapped between layers of flooring or drywall and essentially insulating itself from the rooms we are trying to heat. To solve our little analogy problem, one could hop over to Canadian Tire and get a new garden hose for less than $100. But replacing all of your ductwork is a lot more expensive and might not solve the problem. So that’s when we called aeroseal to come and seal our ductwork.
Enhanced Indoor Air Quality
Air leaks in your ductwork waste energy and provide a gateway for dust, allergens, and other contaminants to enter your home. Likewise, leaky ducts can unwittingly suction pollutants from non-conditioned spaces, distributing them throughout your home. With Aeroseal, these leaks become a thing of the past. The Aeroseal technology fills gaps from the inside out, creating an airtight seal that prevents particle infiltration and maintains optimal indoor air quality.
Have you ever experienced rooms in your home that are warm and cozy while others feel like icy tundras, all at the same time? Unbalanced airflow can result from leaking ducts, causing temperature inconsistencies throughout your home. Aeroseal tackles this problem head-on. Effectively sealing the leaks ensures that the heated or cooled air is evenly distributed throughout your living spaces, providing consistent and comfortable temperatures across every room.
My Aeroseal technician also pointed out that in homes like mine, there have been renovations in the past 40 years that have caused our ductwork design to be less than optimal. For example, my basement was never designed to be a finished space from the looks of the blueprints I found, at least. So when previous owners renovated it, they didn’t consider putting the cold air returns at baseboard level, but they have them in the ceiling. Because hot air rises, the money I just spent heating that air is now being re-circulated right back into the cold air return prematurely before it has had a chance to effectively heat the room. But by sealing my duct work from leaks – my registers can blow that newly heated air out of my registers with a greater force, pushing that hot air directly to where I need the heat and thus giving that heated air a greater distance to travel to get back to my cold air returns. In turn, I use more of that heat energy to heat my room before it gets returned to my heating system and warmed up again.
Quick and Hassle-Free Solution
When sealing your ducts, traditional methods often involve a lengthy, expensive, and intrusive process. However, Aeroseal offers a quick, efficient, and cost-effective alternative. Using a non-toxic, UL-tested sealant, the Aeroseal solution is injected into the ductwork, which adheres to the edges of leaks and forms a durable seal. The process usually takes just a few hours, leaving no mess behind and requiring no demolition.
My technicians arrived around 9:15 am, and they were gone before I had to make lunch, and that’s even with me following them around like an overly intrigued shadow, asking more questions than a kindergartener.
Every house is different – but I’ll share my results with you.
My home is a 1980’s bilevel. It’s approximately 1500 sq ft. 3 bedrooms + den, and two bathrooms. So, like the 3 little bears, not too big, not too small, but just right for us.
In that relatively short amount of ductwork runs, there was an equivalent leakage area (ELA) of 31.1 sq inch hole, excluding the register vents from that equation. That doesn’t mean we had one big gaping hole in our ductwork that you could stick your whole head inside. Yet, it means that we had thousands of tiny cracks and holes that, if you corraled them all together in one space, would make a hole that large.
Aside from the prep work and clean-up, the seal itself only took 18 minutes from start to finish. In that 18 minutes, the fans pressurized my ductwork up to 1000 CFM and released the aeroseal sealant.
(Cubic Feet Per Minute – is a measurement of airflow volume, determined by how many cubic feet of air pass by a stationary point in one minute. Your house’s typical recommended operating CFM is 1.3 in comparison).
By the time we tested the system at the end of the procedure, we had seen an 89% reduction in our air leakage. Our new ELA is 3.5 sq inches.
Will anyone ever know? Probably no one except for me and my utility bills, ultimately. The sealant is permanent. It won’t get cleaned out when we do our yearly ductwork cleaning. The sealant also retains its elasticity, so it won’t dry out or crack as my house shifts and settles throughout the years. You can barely see it at all, even in the areas where our ductwork is exposed in our mechanical room; you really have to look for it!
Photos of our Aeroseal process
Incorporating Aeroseal into my central heating and cooling system was a game-changer. With improved energy efficiency, enhanced indoor air quality, and consistent temperatures throughout my home, it has truly transformed how I experience comfort. It’s only been a couple of days, and we have made SO many improvements during this heating challenges all at one time, it’s hard to say how one individual variable affected our utility bills – but trust me, I’ll keep you up to date even beyond the Live Net Zero challenge on our Instagram @NoDemoNetZero. The quick and hassle-free installation process made it even more appealing, from booking with Carla at Alberta Indoor Comfort to our incredibly informative and ever-patient technician, Dave. Also, an added side note about my praises of Alberta Indoor Comfort – it’s been fairly tame with its inflation. I originally had gotten a quote and talked to this Aeroseal dealer back in 2019, but I hadn’t taken the leap – but our quote had stayed the same from 2019 to today, unlike the inflation rate of my utility bills. Thanks to the generous funding from the Live Net Zero challenge and their sponsors, we were able to afford the $2,695.00 price. If the suggested 30-40% reduction in heat loss comes to fruition in our particular situation, including our other Net Zero retrofits, we might meet our Net Zero goal. That would make our house meet the building code standards for the 2050 Climate Action Plan. All while still maintaining all the original building materials, the charm, the fantastic central location, and the sentimental value of the home that was first built in 1980. A newly built home, or a different kind of retrofit, would have seen a lot more construction waste going to landfill if we were to take another approach!
If you’re looking to maximize energy savings, improve air quality, and enjoy a more comfortable living environment, consider Aeroseal. Trust me, I wasn’t disappointed!
Disclaimer: This blog post is based on personal experiences and opinions and does not constitute professional advice. (Remember, I’m a photographer by trade and an average homeowner – not a building scientist). These opinions are based entirely on my own accord. These opinions have not been sponsored by Aerobarrier, Aeroseal or Alberta Indoor Comfort. I paid for the process in its entirety with the funds allocated by the Live Net Zero challenge. Still, that money was to be spent as I chose for any retrofits deemed appropriate by us. Throughout this competition, we were never led to choose any particular service or service provider.
Please consult a qualified technician or HVAC professional before making any decisions regarding YOUR central heating and cooling system.