How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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Why can't I use duct tape on heating and air conditioning ducts?
Thursday, January 13, 2022
You can’t use duct tape on ducts. Huh? How did that happen? Well, the general pupose repair tape we now call duct tape was originally “duck tape,” likely because it started out being made from duck cloth, and the name morphed to duct tape over the years. But it is not the right material for sealing and repairing ducts for two reasons: 1) it is not approved by the building codes for use on HVAC ducts, and 2) it doesn’t have the right type of heat-resistant adhesive for a long-term tight seal.
Any tape used for HVAC ducts must have the “UL 181” marking on the tape. The 181 is a designation given for an approved tape by Underwriters Laboratories after testing it for resistance to fire, moisture, mold, extreme temperature, impact, tension, and leakage. The two most commonly used types are UL 181A-P for rigid ductwork and UL-181B-FX for flex ducts. Repairing duct leaks with ordinary duct tape is only a short-term solution to the long-term problem of ducts leaking as they age.
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To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:
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