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Myths about Duct Tape- Can you handle the truth?

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I have confession-for years I believed in duct tape. I am reminded of that classic Jack Nicolson line from the movie: “A few good men”- “You can’t handle the truth”. I can’t. I’m devasted that my good friend Mr. Duct tape is an imposter!  Originally called “duck tape” as it has an ability to deflect moisture and was used on ammo boxes during WWll. After the war, it was renamed ‘duct tape’ as folks starting using it for ducting.  

But here is the truth: It should never be used on ducting of any kind. (I have not used it for at least a decade and a half). Never on furnace heating ducts, clothes dryer, bathroom and kitchen exhaust vents. Never.

Dried out duct tape

              Dried out Duct Tape

Simply: The glue dries out. Its use in ducts has been prohibited by building codes in many jurisdictions.  In fact, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory did a comparison test in 1998 to other products and duct tape was the clear loser. Duct tape carries no safety certifications such as Underwriters Laboratory, may burn violently, producing toxic smoke, and may have toxicity issues with skin contact.

What can be used?

Peel and stick metal tape. It is a pain, just like that awful cough syrup, but it works.

Roll of peel and stick vent tpe

               Peel and Stick Vent Tape

It likes to re-coil up as you strip it, it is incredibility attracted to itself, more than your vain neighbour with a full height mirror, making it a pain to work with. And once on, it is virtually impossible to get it off, (cut it) so make sure you have your “ducts in a row” before the final act of taping. Although the truth is difficult to accept, it still has uses. I can still use duct tape for wrapping Christmas presents.