October 22, 2015 by Jeff Lowen
Amidst nicer weather, we’re on the cusp of colder weather and we’ve even had a freeze warning already. Now is the time to look into your home’s duct work and ensure you’re not breathing last years’ dirt, dust and funk. This is the system that moves the air to and from your forced air furnace (and your air conditioner) In addition to that, your HVAC ducting can be a big energy waster, too!
How do you know if you have a problem? Indications include high utility bills or rooms that are never comfortable in any season. Does it feel stuffy or dusty? You don’t necessarily need to call someone right away. Many of these repairs you can do yourself.
Let’s start by checking the most easily accessible and obvious places to seal any leaks that are occurring. Look for:
- Tangled or kinked flexible (corrugated type) ducts.
- Any ducts located in your garage, attic, basement or crawlspace that are exposed and/or un-insulated, you can wrap with R-6 or higher and seal with aluminum tape.
- Stuff insulation around plumbing pipes, furnace flues and ducting that penetrate floors and walls.
- Make sure any joint where ducts connect to each other and to registers are well sealed and connected. Seal if the connection looks loose.
- If there’s any storage items leaning against any ducting, put it somewhere else.
In the attic, leaks are generally found where the attic walls meet the floor of the attic, above drop ceilings, and overhangs. Look for evidence of dirty walls, ducts, any dirty insulation. Usually, dirty insulation indicates air flow escaping and will need to be sealed.
- Seal around recessed can lighting, electrical wiring, and any plumbing piping (water, drain and vent) that pokes through the attic.
- Don’t use duct tape! Yes, it’s not for ducts! Use aluminum metal tape or a high grade sealant specifically for ducts. Duct tape will disintegrate in a short period of time, especially with heat.
- While you’re at it, if you’re water heater is in the garage or somewhere it’s cooler, get a blanket for it and wrap it to keep the water warmer longer between uses.
Per Energy Star – You can increase your systems’ efficiency by as much as 20% by sealing and insulating anywhere you can access.
All this means, is when winter hits us, you’ll be cozy and warm and your utility bills will be well under control!
I wish I’d known these things when I was a kid… I would have had a comeback when my parents yelled at me to shut the front door! Lol Apparently, they thought I’d been born in a barn. 🙂