The Truth About Duct Tape and Air Ducts

As an HVAC expert, I have seen many homeowners attempt to use duct tape to seal their air ducts. However, despite its name, duct tape is not a suitable solution for this task. In fact, it can cause more harm than good in the long run. While duct tape may have many uses, such as removing warts, it is not designed to withstand extreme temperature changes. This means that it is not suitable for sealing air ducts, which are constantly exposed to heating and cooling cycles.

Over time, the adhesive on the tape will weaken and eventually fail, causing the tape to fall off and leaving your ducts unsealed. Back in the 1940s, when duct tape was first invented, it was primarily used for military purposes. It wasn't until after the war that it became available to civilians and some manufacturers began marketing it as a solution for connecting air ducts. However, in 1998, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) conducted a three-month experiment to test the effectiveness of various sealants on air ducts. The results showed that duct tape was not a reliable or long-lasting solution.Max Sherman, one of the researchers at LBNL, stated that while duct tape may be strong and sticky in the short term, it is not a suitable long-term solution for sealing air ducts.

The adhesive on the tape is not designed to withstand extreme temperature changes and will eventually degrade and fail. So what should you use instead of duct tape? The answer is a combination of duct putty and foil tape. Duct putty has a similar adhesive quality to putty tape but is specifically designed for use on air ducts. It is also important to clean the application area before using any sealant to ensure a proper bond. Another option is foil mastic tape, which has the same properties as water-based duct sealant and can last for decades. This type of tape is specifically designed for use on air ducts and is a more reliable and long-lasting solution compared to duct tape. When it comes to sealing or connecting air ducts, it is crucial to use the right materials that are specifically designed for this task.

While duct tape may seem like an affordable and easy solution, it will only lead to more problems in the long run. To ensure proper sealing and avoid any potential hazards, it is best to call a professional or use putty sealer instead.