Duct Tape Story

Ask any home inspector and you’ll hear that disconnected crawlspace and attic heating and cooling ducts are a common observation.

Why? Because standard gray duct tape was used.

it says Duct Tape on the label – it must be the right tape for heating ducts – Right?

Wrong! During World War II, before it was called duct tape, the U.S. military bought a cloth-backed, rubber-adhesive tape for making emergency repairs on the battlefield.

Sometime after WWII, heating and cooling contractors begin to use the tape to seal the joints in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts.

This tape was manufactured in the same way, though to match the metal ducts, it was colored grey rather than the green color of the Army version. Because of this use, it became known informally as ‘duct tape’.

The problem is that standard grey duct tape does not adequately seal duct joints and has a short lifespan. Hot air flowing through heating ducts and hot attics can soften the tape adhesive. Eventually, the tape slowly unravels itself… causing heating and cooling duct connections to separate or leak.

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