Duct tape can’t fix everything

Duct tape is good for a lot of things.  You can use it to hang posters, tape wires down on a floor, temporarily repair a hem in your pants or even get a little extra life out of an old pair of shoes.  It can also come in handy if you misplace the battery cover for your television remote control.

In spite of its name, however, it is not good for sealing the ducts in your home or business that distribute conditioned air.  “About 20 percent of the air that moves through a typical duct system is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts,” says Ricky Lowder, senior marketing and energy management representative at Horry Electric. “No matter how your thermostat is set, leaky and poorly performing ducts make it harder for your system to keep your home comfortable,” he says. “It also results in higher electric bills.”

What should you do if you think you have leaky ducts?  The energy advisors at Horry Electric recommend calling a licensed, bonded professional contractor to inspect your duct system and make the necessary repairs.  “If you’re going to do it yourself, don’t use duct tape,” says Garrett Gasque, who also works in the energy management and marketing area at Horry Electric. “Duct tape just doesn’t hold up.” 

Instead, the crew at Horry Electric recommends mastic sealant or metal tape and insulating all the ducts that can be accessed fairly easily. “That includes attics, crawlspaces, unfinished basements and garages,” says Gasque. “It’s also a good idea to make sure connections at vents and registers are well-sealed where they meet floors, wall and ceiling.”

The Department of Energy, on their Energy Star site, addresses the many benefits of duct sealing.  “Comfort, indoor air quality, safety, protecting the environment and saving money are all featured as benefits,” says Lowder.  “Doing something as simple as sealing your ducts can increase the efficiency of your system and potentially lower your electric bill.”

For more information on simple things you can do around the house to save money and energy, visit TogetherWeSave.com or browse through the comprehensive guide to energy savings  information available on horryelectric.com.

Questions? You can always call Horry Electric during regular business hours at 843.369.2211.  Listen carefully to the menu of options and select “energy information or marketing programs”.

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