Don’t know if you have heard yet but there was a new energy code that took effect for homeowners in Washington State as of January 1, 2011. I think this is a step in the right direction and hopefully, Oregon will soon follow. Hooking up a new efficient heating system to leaky ducts makes no sense. It is kind of like driving a Prius with flat tires. Here at McDowell & Son, we are big believers in sealing and testing ducts which is why we have been doing it for our customers for the past several years.
Here is the new code which affects new and existing homes:
188.8.131.52 Mechanical Systems: Those parts of systems that are altered or replaced shall comply with Section 503 of this Code. When a space-conditioning system is altered by the installation or replacement of space-conditioning equipment (including replacement of the air handler, outdoor condensing unit of a split system air conditioner or heat pump, cooling or heating coil, or the furnace heat exchanger), the duct system that is connected to the new or replacement space-conditioning equipment shall be tested, as specified in RS-33. The test results shall be provided to the building official and the homeowner.
EXCEPTIONS: 1. Duct systems that are documented to have been previously sealed as confirmed through field verification and diagnostic testing in accordance with procedures in RS-33.
2. Ducts with less than 40 linear feet in unconditioned spaces.
3. Existing duct systems constructed, insulated, or sealed with asbestos
Duct Sealing for Comfort, Energy, and Indoor Air Quality from Energy Experts.