The Best Alternatives to Duct Sealant: A Comprehensive Guide

Sealing your duct system is essential for a variety of reasons, from preventing duct leaks to improving indoor air quality. With so many options available, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your needs. Two of the most popular choices are duct putty and adhesive tape (or aluminum tape). Both putty sealant and aluminum foil tape are good options for sealing air ducts.

However, adhesive tape should never be used for this purpose. It's more expensive and less durable in the long term. Duct putty is a preferable solution as it is a sticky material that hardens once it is placed in the ducts. The ideal alternative is a water-based putty duct sealant, which is easy to clean and lasts a long time.

You can apply the putty sealant for ducts with a simple brush if you do it yourself. It's important to note that the putty sealant for ducts should not be confused with the regular “duct seal”. A duct seal is used to cover gaps around power lines and other small openings on the outside of your property. It's not designed for use in leaking ducts.

Duct sealant is a soft compound that is often compared to mass and is designed for ease of operation and installation. It was originally developed for HVAC purposes. Duct sealant is used to create a seal that blocks moisture, dust, and air movement; it can also be used to block noise. This material is not conductive or corrosive and will never dry out, allowing it to be easily removed, reshaped and reapplied when needed.

While duct sealant is designed to repel moisture, it is primarily used to seal air leaks, rather than pipe leaks. Therefore, it has somewhat limited plumbing applications and is most often used to repair air ducts and for other electrical or HVAC purposes. However, your plumber can use duct sealants when working with appliances such as a washing machine, refrigerator, or dishwasher, since duct sealants can be used to protect areas with electrical connections or to ensure that outlets and switches are safe from nearby water sources. Duct systems need to be sealed so that the pressure and volume of air circulating through a system are correct.

While duct putty is the best DIY option in terms of durability and cost-effectiveness, sealing duct vents with putty yourself can be a difficult task. To reduce air loss and increase energy efficiency, it is recommended to seal all joints and add insulation around ducts, especially in spaces without air conditioning. If you insist on using adhesive tape for any reason, it is best to use aluminum tape, butyl tape, or any other type of duct sealing tape that has the UL emblem. Although adhesive tape is the most commonly used traditional sealant, it has been more than replaced by the MTS 100 or the DP 1010 (both water-based).

Imagine a brush on adhesive tape. While this method of sealing duct vents is less time consuming and less dirty, it cannot be compared to other duct sealing methods in terms of performance and durability. To ensure that your air ducts are sealed as completely as possible, contact a professional HVAC technician. Increase energy efficiency and reduce the amount of allergens and air pollutants in your home by investing in sealing, insulation, and duct cleaning from a professional HVAC company.