Sealing and insulating the ducts in your home is one of those simple fixes that could improve your heating and cooling system’s efficiency by 20 percent – or more! Since up to half of your energy bill can be devoted to heating and cooling your home, the savings can really add up.
Think about it. Air ducts are located in one of two places, your attic or your basement, and in some homes it’s both. If your ducts are not properly sealed, you could be wasting a lot of money heating or cooling spaces in your home where you spend very little time. But if you want to save some money you owe it to yourself to go into those spaces and inspect your home’s ducts… or have an HVAC specialist do it for you.
If you decide to inspect and repair your ducts yourself, make sure you use the proper materials. Even though it’s called duct tape, it should not be used to repair leaky joints in your ducts. Use specialized aluminum foil tape to make any repairs. This is the same tape that is used to connect standard, foil-jacketed ducts by HVAC professionals and is the only type of tape that is acceptable to use.
While you are repairing your ducts, take a moment to note their surface temperature. If your air-conditioning is running, and the duct is cold to the touch – or the heat is running, and it’s hot to the touch – you are still wasting energy and money. Wrapping your ducts with insulation will help curb the amount of energy lost through the duct itself. Cracks in the joints of your ducts are easy to spot and fix, but they aren’t the only ways that cool or heated air is lost. Thermal transfer can be just as wasteful.
Spring is a great time to check your ducts and make sure there aren’t any problems. The weather is cool, and the temperatures in your attic aren’t terribly uncomfortable. Believe me, if you put it off until the dead of summer, you’ll wish you hadn’t.
By properly maintaining and insulating the heating and cooling ducts in your home, you can make some significant strides toward lowering the cost of staying comfortable, no matter what the season. The cost of gas and electricity prices may fluctuate, but your home will remain energy efficient if you take the time to maintain it properly.