Are Your Ducts Blowing Your Energy Dollars?

You pay good money to heat and cool your home and keep it comfortable. However, a leaky or improperly designed duct system can blow a lot of that money and reduce comfort.


Here are some common duct system problems and what you can do to seal in energy savings.

Leaky ducts

Leaky ducts can reduce heating and cooling system efficiency by as much as 20%, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Seal air leaks in all ductwork you can access, such as in attics or basements, with mastic sealant or metal tape. Don't use duct tape, which tends to crack and peel off.

Spray sealant is also available where microscopic particles are sprayed into ducts where they form an airtight seal at leak points. Contact a qualified HVAC contractor about the availability of this service.

Uninsulated ducts

Ductwork running through unconditioned spaces, such as your attic or garage, can let a lot of conditioned air escape, reducing the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. Insulate ductwork in all unconditioned areas can help you HVAC system maintain a consistent air temperature.

Duct wrap or duct sleeve insulation is available at your local home improvement retailer. Insulation sleeves are typically used for new construction, but they can be split open with scissors and reattached using mastic tape at the cut seam for installed ductwork.

Poorly connected registers

If registers or vents aren't properly connected and sealed, conditioned air will be lost before it reaches the rooms in your home. Make sure all register or vent connections are tight and properly sealed.

System out of balance

An improperly designed duct system may not be able to supply and return the amount of airflow needed to heat and cool your home efficiently and comfortably. A qualified professional can inspect your duct system and evaluate your supply and return air balance. If necessary, they will repair or replace damaged ductwork or reroute your system.

By taking steps to improve the performance of your duct system, you can make the most of the money you spend to keep your home comfortable. Have your heating and cooling systems cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. Also, remember to change your air filter regularly according to manufacturer's guidelines.