Seal your heating and cooling ducts.
Ducts that move air to-and-from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20%, and sometimes much more.
Focus first on sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After sealing the ducts in those spaces, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Next, look to seal any other ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled part of the house.
Duct Sealing – ENERGY STAR®:
In houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. In a typical house, however, 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 do you know that 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?
Simple Steps to Improving Duct Performance
Because ducts are often concealed in walls, ceiling, attics and basements, repairing them can be difficult. But there are things that you can do to 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.