If the ductwork in your home is leaking air, you might be wondering whether to use duct tape or foil tape. Damaged ductwork is a common cause of high utility bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the average home loses about 20% to 30% of its conditioned air through air duct leaks. When repairing a leak, though, you’ll need to use the right type of tape.
Differences Between Duct Tape and Foil Tape
While they may look similar, duct tape and foil tape aren’t the same. They are two different types of heavy-duty tape, and they are designed for different purposes.
Duct tape typically consists of strands of polyester, nylon, fiberglass or rayon that are bound together in a mesh-like formation. One side contains adhesive, whereas the other side does not. Foil tape is available in many of these materials. And like duct tape, it only contains adhesive on one side. Foil tape is distinguished from duct tape, however, by the presence of a metal layer. It features a thin layer of metal, such as aluminum, over it.
Why Foil Tape Is the Better Choice
If you’re going to repair a damaged air duct, you should typically use foil tape. Contrary to what its name implies, duct tape is inferior when used to repair air ducts.
The problem with using duct tape is that it may lose its “sticky” qualities when exposed to heat. Both duct tape and foil tape contain adhesive. With that said, only foil tape has a metal-backed layer. This metal-backed layer will shield the adhesive from heat.
When running your furnace, hot air will travel through the air ducts. Foil tape can withstand this hot air while staying in place. Duct tape, on the other hand, may degrade when exposed to hot air. Heat can cause the adhesive to dry out, in which case the duct tape may no longer stick to the air duct.
Consider a Professional Repair Service
Rather than trying to repair it with tape, you should consider a professional repair service. Taping a torn seam is just a temporary fix. No tape lasts forever. While foil tape is the better choice, it can still degrade over time. Therefore, you should consider a professional repair service. A heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) technician can either repair or replace your damaged ductwork to help you achieve a more efficient home.