No matter how conservative you are with your thermostat, most heating and cooling systems account for nearly half of your energy bill, and sometimes more during extreme temperatures. While newer units such as ductless mini-split or heat pump systems use alternatives to air ducts, most homes rely on air ducts to move conditioned air throughout each room. If your home’s ductwork has significant air leakage, you could be spending hundreds of extra dollars on your utilities each year, and adding a significant toll on your HVAC equipment.

If you’re wondering what the benefits of ductwork insulation are, there are many but one of the best benefits is that it can lower your utility bill. Of course, there could be several other factors that are affecting your air conditioner’s ability to keep your home cool, and an HVAC contractor can help you diagnose issues and improve your home’s efficiency. The best way to determine if you need to insulate your ductwork is by contacting a professional for your home or commercial HVAC service.

Inspecting your ductwork 

An HVAC contractor can inspect your home’s ducts for signs they need repairs or replacement, as well as recommend whether you need insulation. The type of duct system you have makes a big difference. Fiberglass lined ducts are already fairly well insulated, and if they are installed within the conditioned air space, adding insulation may not be beneficial.

Ductwork installed outside of the conditioned space is more prone to heat loss in the winter and wasting conditioned air in the summer, and insulation can make a big difference. Installing insulation can minimize loss and prevent your ductwork from swelling and moisture buildup caused by condensation. In addition to causing issues with your efficiency, excess moisture can also lead to mold or mildew problems that affect indoor air quality.

Installing insulation and sealing your ducts

There are several basic types of fiberglass insulation for ductwork. Duct liner is designed to install inside of your air ducts and typically built for square and rectangular ducts. Duct liner is popular because it dampens noise as air travels through it. This is especially useful in households with different sleep schedules to prevent sounds from music, conversations, or television from carrying throughout the house. However, duct liner is typically inserted before you install your ducts, and it’s not a practical solution unless it’s time to replace your ductwork.

Duct wrap is installed around the outsides of an air duct, and it’s very flexible for easy installation. A professional HVAC contractor may either add additional insulation to existing insulation or remove the old insulation and replace it, depending on its condition. Insulation is installed around your air ducts and kept in place using aluminum foil tape or mastic sealant. This also provides an additional moisture barrier to prevent mold and mildew issues.  Foil tape is easier for a DIY project, but it doesn’t lack as long. Over time, it can delaminate or slip off when 

When you have damaged ducts, you don’t always have to replace them. Your contractor can also use foil tape or mastic sealant to seal air leaks if your ductwork is damaged. the ducts get oily or dirty. However, if there are problems in the joints or there is significant wear or areas that are crushed, it’s time to replace them. It’s also worth considering a replacement if your ductwork isn’t optimally designed for your space. 

Maintain efficient airflow

Once your ducts are working at peak efficiency, you may have something keeping the air from moving freely. Your HVAC ductwork system relies on airflow to work properly, and if there is furniture blocking a return duct or register, it won’t be able to work efficiently. Rearrange your space to allow at least 10 inches of space to allow air to move. Additionally, you should keep them clear of dust and pet fur, and change your air filter regularly. Spending a few dollars extra on an air filter that keeps out dust and pet hair will improve your indoor air quality and keep your ducts from losing efficiency over time.

Some blockages may be from dirty ducts. This could be dust, dirt, broken bits of air filter, or in some cases pieces of air duct that have fallen off. In this case, hiring a duct cleaner with the experience and proper tools to clean out your ducts without damaging them or contaminating your air can be beneficial. The investment in duct cleaning is well worth it. 

Doors can also affect the efficiency of your HVAC unit. While some homeowners don’t mind leaving doors open throughout the day, others may prefer privacy in their bedrooms. Doors can be modified with undercuts to better allow air to pass underneath when the doorway is closed, and leaving them open when you leave the room can help your air conditioner perform better during the day.  An HVAC specialist can give you advice on the best ways to improve the efficiency of your particular space so you can save money on your bills, as well as help your AC and heater last longer by helping them work less. 

The bottom line

Whether your HVAC unit is overworked or you want even heating and cooling throughout the house, the experienced technicians at Simpson Sheet Metal can help. We are a full-service solution to all your HVAC needs, from AC installation and maintenance to ductwork insulation and repair jobs. Our company has helped homeowners in the Santa Rosa area with ductwork installation, keeping their homes comfortable year-round for nearly 40 years, and we are committed to providing quality service at affordable rates. Contact us today for help with your duct insulation, and we’ll do what it takes to improve your home’s efficiency.