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Ductwork on an HVAC system is one of those “out of sight, out of mind” things. You assume things are okay because you can’t see any differently. However, ducts are a vital part of your heating and cooling system as it distributes the conditioned air through your house. Unfortunately, ductwork can become loosened, torn, kinked, or disconnected over time even if was installed properly. Add that to poorly sealed registers and grills and you could be losing 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through your duct system. The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping your home comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.
EnergyStar.gov lists these benefits of properly sealing and insulating your duct system:
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.
Leaky ducts can reduce heating and cooling system efficiency by as much as 20 percent. Sealing and insulating ducts increases efficiency, lowers your energy bills, and can often pay for itself in energy savings.
Sealing ducts can also help improve the indoor air quality by reducing the risks of pollutants entering ducts from dusty attics or musty crawlspaces and circulating through your home. Dust from insulation particles or smells from damp spaces could aggravate asthma and allergy problems.
Gas appliances such as water heaters, clothes dryers, and furnaces release combustion gases through their ventilation systems. Leaky ductwork in your heating and cooling system may cause “backdrafting.” This is where the gases are drawn back into the living space, rather than expelled to the outdoors. Sealing leaks can minimize this risk.
The less energy you use in your home, the less air pollution is produced. By sealing your ducts and reducing the amount of energy necessary to comfortably heat or cool your home, you can have the peace of mind that you’ve done the right thing for your family, home, and for the planet.
There are things you can do to improve the performance of your duct system:
Start by inspecting the ducts you can see (e.g. in the basement, attic, and garage), and ask yourself the following questions:
Are there any obvious holes, gaps, or disconnections in the ducts?
Make sure the connections at vents and registers well-sealed where they meet the floors, walls, and ceiling?
Flex ducts need to be straight with only gentle curves and not ripped, torn, squashed (stepped-on), or disconnected?
Seal the leaks and holes you can access using duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape. TIP: Never use grey duct tape as it is not long-lasting.
Wrap any ducts that go through unconditioned space (attics, basements/crawlspaces, or garages) with duct insulation to keep them from overheating or freezing.
After sealing and insulating your ducts, have a professional check your system to ensure it’s balanced.
Prefer a hands-off approach?
Many homeowners choose to work with a professional contractor for duct improvement projects. Covenant Heating & Cooling has trained technicians with years of experience who will meticulously inspect and repair your duct system. Call us today for a free estimate!