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Why your ductwork and insulation are so important

Why your ductwork and insulation are so important

According to a home comfort survey we conducted, most people either never or only sometimes check their ductwork and insulation.

What is Ductwork?
Ductwork is an essential aspect of your heating and cooling system as it distributes airflow in your home. The air is pulled from throughout the house into the heater/air conditioner, where it is heated or cooled, and pushed back through ducts into the living space.

Often, ductwork and insulation are hidden in an attic or crawlspace making it easy to forget it’s even there which makes it hard to tell if your ducts have a leak or if you need more insulation.

Duct problems
In a typical house, about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost because of leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. Also, something called heat conduction can cause loss of heated or cooled air.

Heat conduction means that the heat or the cool air created by the furnace or air conditioner passes through the metal walls of the duct. When this happens, the duct itself and the spaces directly surrounding it are heated or cooled. As a result, some conditioned air does not make it to the living spaces, where it is actually needed.

Money lost
Leaky ducts can add hundreds of dollars a year to your heating and cooling bills so it makes sense to have your ductwork and insulation inspected. If your ducts are leaking you will need to have them sealed, insulated, or replaced, not only to save money but also for health and safety reasons.

Air Quality
Air quality can be affected if your ducts have leaks. Household and garden chemicals, insulation particles, dust and gas like radon, and exhaust from natural gas-powered appliances can be pulled into unsealed ducts and enter your living space. Also improperly functioning ducts can cause humidity to build up creating mold growth in your duct system.

In our survey, we noticed that most people who never or only sometimes check their ductwork and insulation have someone in their house that suffers from allergies and has to dust often.

So if you notice that you or someone in your family is constantly suffering from allergies or more frequent asthma attacks and that you have to dust often in your home, you may have leaks in your ductwork.

While it’s not as often, deadly gases like carbon monoxide can enter your duct system. This is a major safety issue and sealing your ducts can minimize this risk.

How do you know that your home has poorly performing ducts?

  • High utility bills during the summer and winter
  • Difficult to heat or cool rooms
  • Stuffy or/and dusty rooms that never feel comfortable
  • Ducts located in attic, crawlspace or garage
  • Tangled or kinked flexible ducts in your system

Ductwork inspection & solutions
You can do your own inspection of visible ductwork to check for leaks and gaps and see if your ducts are located in uninsulated areas but more thorough testing can be done by a professional.

An HVAC professional will use a special calibrated fan and pressure gauge to test the whole network for leakage. An airflow test can also be performed to measure air speed inside the ducts.

Solutions to underperforming ducts are to replace, patch leaks, or/and insulate your ductwork. Duct replacement can significantly reduce your energy bills and thanks to programs like (PACE), you can pay for your duct replacement over time as a line item on your annual property tax bill.

Although minor duct repairs are easy to make, qualified professionals should seal and insulate ducts in unconditioned spaces to ensure the use of appropriate sealing materials.

Sealing, insulating or replacing your ductwork often pays for itself in energy savings. If you’re planning to install new HVAC equipment, a well-designed and sealed duct system may allow you to downsize to a smaller, less costly heating and cooling system that will provide better dehumidification.

Right Now Air & Solar can do a duct inspection to see if your ductwork is working properly.