Tighter Ducts: Sensible Advice for Improving Your Savings and Comfort

Published on: April 25, 2014
Money being rescued | AC Southeast®

Air ducts are given the important task of efficiently distributing cooled and heated air to living spaces to keep a home comfortable. Since roughly half of the energy bill in the typical home is attributed to the ducts, they also carry a large financial responsibility. The bottom line for greater comfort and lower energy bills is tighter ducts.

Tighter Ducts for Savings and Comfort

Perhaps the trickiest part of duct sealing is locating the air leaks. Some leaks and insulation issues will be obvious, such as disjointed seams, tangled flex ducts and bare metal ducts. Smaller leaks require more work and these steps:

  • Turn on the A/C or heating system.
  • If ducts are covered with insulation rolls, look for dirt streaks on the insulation.
  • Hold a smoke pencil to all accessible duct connections.
  • The smoke will waver when near a leak.
  • Tangled flex ducts should be untangled if possible.
  • Crushed duct portions should be replaced, which is a task for your HVAC contractor.
  • Uninsulated ducts should be insulated with fiberglass batts or rolls.

Be sure to inspect the return ducts. Building cavities were often used in older homes. This is a no-no for balanced air circulation and indoor air quality. Building cavities contain contaminants that shouldn’t be mixed with living space air, which is another good reason to seal air ducts.

Sealing Ducts

Duct leaks and holes are best sealed with mastic sealant and fiberglass mesh. Air leaks at duct connections should be sealed with the same and wrapped with metal tape once the mastic is dry.

Professional Duct Inspection

Identifying duct leaks and poor duct design, and insulating and sealing ducts isn’t as simple as it may seem. A professional HVAC technician is experienced at repair and identifying design issues, such as improper sizing and layout.

Moreover, if you’re upgrading cooling and heating equipment, get a professional duct evaluation. New equipment needs efficient ductwork to deliver maximum benefit.

For more tips about tighter ducts and cooling and heating concerns, contact us to find a contractor in your area of the Southeast U.S.