Insulation and sealing are two effective ways to reduce energy loss in your HVAC system’s ductwork, the mostly out-of-sight network of tubes that delivers heated and cooled air from your HVAC equipment to your living spaces. Particularly when ducts run through unconditioned parts of your home, they can be major sources of energy waste.
Here are three mistakes to avoid when you’re beefing up your duct efficiency:
- Using the wrong type of insulation. Ductwork is usually insulated using rigid fiber board or roll-type fiberglass insulation. The type of insulation needed depends on the shape of the ducts and the configuration of the system. If your ductwork is uniformly rectangular with many flat surfaces, rigid fiber board insulation works well. If your ducts are round or have an irregular shape or configuration, roll insulation will work best since it can be wrapped around the ducts to conform to different shapes. Make sure the insulation you use has a foil or vinyl facing on the outside to deflect water and moisture.
- Using the wrong thickness and R-value. The “R-value” is a measure of insulation’s effectiveness; it refers to the insulation’s ability to resist the flow of heat. If you’re insulating ductwork in an unconditioned area of your house, such as a crawl space or exterior wall, you will need insulation with a higher R-value than if you’re insulating in a conditioned area, such as a finished basement or interior room. An R-value of at least 5 is recommended in most cases.
- Leaving ductwork unsealed. Unsealed or poorly sealed ductwork can lose as much as 20 percent of the air flowing through it. Make sure all sections of the ductwork fit tightly together. Seal connections with mastic, a sealing compound especially made for ductwork, or with metal tape. Avoid using standard duct tape as it can dry out and fail over time.
Contact Home Comfort Experts today for more information on duct efficiency and for help in choosing duct insulation that’s the proper type, thickness and R-value. Serving the Mishawaka/South Bend area, we’re always happy to help.