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HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs

May 23, 2024

This episode featured Bryan Orr interviewing Sam Myers, the building science consultant at Retrotec. Retrotec manufactures products like blower doors and duct testers for measuring air tightness and leakage in buildings.

Sam discussed his role at Retrotec, which involves training contractors on using their tools properly, product design, software testing, presenting at conferences, and running trade show booths. He talked about the demanding travel schedule this requires but also the rewards of educating the industry.

The main topic was duct leakage testing - why it's important, how it's done, interpreting the results, and investigating and fixing duct leaks when problems are found. Sam explained that while a duct leakage test provides a number, that number alone doesn't indicate if the leakage is acceptable or problematic. However, it points technicians in the right direction for further investigating issues like comfort problems, indoor air quality concerns, or high energy bills.

He provided tips on using tools like smoke tests and thermal cameras to visually identify leaks, checking common leak areas like connections and return duct penetrations, and the value of testing before and after making repairs to verify the work. Sam also discussed using low-cost manometers for other tests, like checking room pressure imbalances caused by duct leaks.

Topics covered included:

  • Sam's role and work at Retrotec
  • The importance of duct leakage testing
  • How duct leakage tests are performed
  • Interpreting duct leakage test results
  • Common duct leak sources like connections and return penetrations
  • Methods for pinpointing and verifying duct leaks
  • Using manometers for other diagnostic tests
  • Tips for contractors getting started with duct testing


Learn more about Retrotec's resources at

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