If you haven’t been paying attention to the ductwork in your home, you may be losing as much as 20 percent of your conditioned air. This is because the seals may have become loose, and cracks, tears and holes may have developed. Inadequately sealed ductwork costs you money in the form of higher utility bills and lowers the quality of your indoor air. How can you tell if you need to seal your ducts? Pay attention to these signs:
- High cooling and heating bills
- Rooms that are difficult to cool and heat
- Stuffy rooms
To remedy the situation, seal the leaks you find and make sure your ductwork is insulated.
Sealing The Leaks
Inspect the ductwork you can access easily. Take your time as you look for loose connections and other sources of leaks. Also check the connections at vents and registers. Make easy repairs, using metal tape, duct mastic or an aerosol-based sealant. It is important to use a heat-resistant tape, as regular duct tape breaks down over time.
Have a HVAC-system contractor inspect and seal the ductwork that you can’t get at easily. This includes the ductwork in your walls. The savings this work yields will more than pay for the cost of the work.
Insulating Your Ductwork
Ductwork insulation is especially important in unconditioned spaces, such as an attic, garage, unfinished basement or crawl space. Duct insulation in an unconditioned attic should have an R-value of 6 to 11. Duct insulation in an unconditioned basement or crawl space should have an R-value of 2 to 11.
Rigid fiber or fibrous board insulation is generally used to insulate ductwork. This is a job that’s best left to your contractor.
Hiring A Contractor
When you hire a contractor to do the job, make sure he can:
- Inspect your entire duct system
- Evaluate your system’s supply and return-air balance, as you may need larger ductwork
- Make more substantial repairs to your ductwork. Your ductwork may be tangled, crushed or disconnected.
- Seal all loose registers and vents
- Ensure that there is no backdrafting. He should also do a combustion safety test after he has sealed your ducts.
If you have any questions about sealing or insulating your ductwork, call the experts at All Year Heating, Air and Solar. Let us help you make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Serving the Sacramento area, we’re always happy to help.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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