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Duct Leakage Test

Commercial and Residential Tests

A valuable diagnostic tool to identify areas of concern within an HVAC system's ductwork. Assess the efficiency and performance of the ducts, identify potential energy waste, and ensure proper indoor air quality.

Duct Air Leakage is the leakage of air from the air distribution system ductwork. The leakage can occur at joints, seams, and penetrations. Research shows that air duct leakage can be represented as a function of duct surface area, leakage class, and static pressure. Leakage class is determined by the construction methods employed in duct fabrication in accordance with different duct construction standards.

Duct leakage testing should be performed after all components of the system have been installed, including the air handler, the ductwork, and the register boxes or duct boots. Ductwork can be of different construction and design, and different class systems can require testing at higher or lower pressures.

Leakage class is determined by the construction methods employed in duct fabrication in accordance with the ANSI/SMACNA HVAC Duct Construction Standards.


The standards for Duct Air Leakage Test identify certain leakage limits for ducts and outlines procedures for testing ducts for conformity with air leakage limits that are set forth in a designer’s project specification. Under any circumstances, reasonable allowances for leakage must be adopted because no duct is absolutely airtight.

  • SMACNA 016–2012 - HVAC Air Duct Leakage Test Manual

This American National Standard, ANSI/SMACNA 016-2012, covers revised leakage criteria and builds on the proven methods for testing ductwork for air leaks from the first edition

Standard Duct Ceiling Requirements
  • DW/143 - Guide to good practice ductwork air leakage testingPublished by the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association (HVCA), which is now known as BESA (Building Engineering Services Association). Also covers ductwork classification and air leakage testing procedures.

Duct Leakage testing setup by buildingdoctor
Retrotec Gauge by Buildingdoctor DMCC

Test Setup and Execution: Providing step-by-step instructions for setting up the test, sealing duct openings, and performing the test with different pressure differentials.

Reporting and Documentation: Outlining the process for documenting and reporting test results, including creating test reports and certificates.

Equipment and Instrumentation: Detailing the tools and equipment required for conducting accurate duct leakage tests, such as pressure gauges, flow meters, and manometers. See Retrotrec Duct Testers

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