Steps to Improving Duct Performance
Because ducts are often concealed in walls, ceiling, attics, and basements, repairing them can be difficult. However, you can improve duct performance in your house.
Some homeowners choose to take on duct sealing as a do-it-yourself project. Start by sealing air leaks using mastic sealant or metal tape and insulating all the ducts that you can access (such as those in attics, crawlspaces, unfinished basements, and garages). Never use duct tape, as it is not long-lasting. Also, make sure that the connections at vents and registers are well-sealed where they meet the floors, walls, and ceiling. These are common locations to find leaks and disconnected ductwork.
Many homeowners choose to work with a professional contractor for duct improvement projects. Most heating and cooling equipment contractors also repair ductwork.
An efficient duct system is a must for comfortable, energy efficient homes. Ducts – known collectively as the air distribution system – carry air from the central heater to rooms throughout the home and back again. In a typical house, about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts.. The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.
How can you tell if your home has poorly performing ducts?
- You have high summer and winter utility bills;
- You have rooms that are difficult to heat and cool;
- You have stuffy rooms that never seem to feel comfortable;
- Your ducts are located in an attic, crawlspace, or the garage;
- You find tangled or kinked flexible ducts in your system.
Benefits of Duct Sealing:
Comfort — Sealing and insulating ducts can help with common comfort problems, such as rooms that are too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter.
Indoor Air Quality — Fumes from household and garden chemicals, insulation particles, and dust can enter your duct system, aggravating asthma and allergy problems. Sealing ducts can help improve indoor air quality by reducing the risk of pollutants entering ducts and circulating through your home.
Save Money — The average homeowner spends more than $600 on space heating and cooling each year. Tightly sealed and well insulated ducts can significantly reduce annual utility bills. Sealing and insulating ducts increases efficiency, lowers your energy bills (as much as 20%), and can often pay for itself in energy savings. Plus, if you’re planning to install new heating and cooling equipment, a well-designed and sealed duct system may allow you to downsize to a smaller, less costly system that will provide better dehumidification.
Protect the Environment — Simply put, the less energy we use in our homes, the less air pollution we generate. By sealing your ducts and reducing the amount of energy necessary to comfortably heat or cool your home, you can reduce the amount of air pollution generated.
Source Material: US Dept. of Energy
- Steps to Improving Duct Performance
- Duct Insulation
- ENERGY STAR® Duct Sealing brochure (2.73MB PDF)
- ENERGY STAR Do-It-Yourself Guide to Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR