You may probably not know it, but air ducts are one of the most important components of any HVAC system, and if you don’t have properly insulated ductwork, you may have to pay higher energy bills. A duct system is a network of tubes, usually found in the floors, ceilings, and walls, through which the air from your central air conditioner and furnace is carried to all areas of your home. Mostly, ducts are made of fiberglass, metal, or other materials.
The importance of insulated ductwork in Grand Prairie can be determined from the fact that poor insulation can add hundreds of dollars to your energy bills every year. Ducts that have gaps and spaces lose heated or cooled air to the outside environment. Due to this, your HVAC system has to work harder to compensate for this loss and maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. However, if you properly insulate your ducts, you will not only be able to lower the energy bills, but also save money spent on the maintenance of your HVAC system.
Characteristics of Effective Insulated Ductwork
In order to have your HVAC system working efficiently, the insulated ductwork should have the following characteristics:
- Some building materials release hazardous fibers and chemicals in the air that cause the ‘sick building syndrome’ and other building material related symptoms. The insulation material you use should be free from dust and fiber, and should not emit formaldehyde, VOCs, or any other dangerous gases that have a negative impact on indoor air quality.
- Thermal values of insulation drop with the presence of moisture, which can affect the efficiency of the entire system. The insulation material you use for ducting in your home should be able to resist moisture ingress in order to maintain its thermal values, so that you can benefit from energy savings in the long run.
- Fibrous and dusty materials can give rise to certain health hazards when they combine with bacteria and mold spores. This is especially harmful for people who suffer from respiratory problems like asthma or have allergies. So make sure that you use dust- and fiber-free materials for insulating your ductwork.
Upgrading Insulated Ductwork and its Maintenance
If the ducts in your home are located in an unconditioned area, like a vented crawlspace or an attic, insulating them is even more important. If the supply ducts have a leakage, cooled or heated air will continuously leak out from unsealed joints. Moreover, the outside air will enter the ducts through unsealed joints, affecting the temperature inside the home.
Minor duct repairs are sometimes easy to make and most people refer to DIY guides available on the internet to fix leaks themselves. However, if you hire an expert, they will use proper tools to detect all the leakages and use appropriate materials to seal the gaps, even in unconditioned spaces. Moreover, you should also make sure that there is nothing blocking the vents to have unobstructed flow of cooled or heated air in your home.
Old duct systems often require modifications because they suffer from certain design deficiencies that affect the performance of the HVAC system. Areas where there is restricted airflow may require only simple upgrades such as undercutting doors for return air, the installation of new air grilles, or a jumper duct. On the other hand, there may be some rooms in your home that are hard to cool or heat, and require upgrading the duct system. You may first inspect for air leakage and problems with insulation, but if the issue still persists, you may add another duct or increase the supply duct’s size to provide the required airflow to the room.
The Benefits of Insulated Ductwork
Increases the Level of Comfort
About 20% of energy is wasted in the form of loss of coolness or heat through conduction. If your home has insulated ductwork, it will be able reduce energy wastage and retain the temperature of the air being transported to the rooms. Due to this, the air that reaches the rooms through vents is somewhat closer to the temperature you have set on your thermostat, making the environment more comfortable.
One of the most common problems with poorly insulated ducts is the accumulation of water vapors due to condensation. However, if the ducts are properly insulated, this problem can be easily mitigated.
In most homes, there are some unconditioned spaces such as garage, attic, and basement, where the temperature is different from other areas. When the heated or cooled air passes from these unconditioned areas, they mix with the air present there and lose its heat or coolness. When the air finally reaches the room, it is not as cool or warm as it should be. Due to this, the HVAC system has to work harder to compensate for the loss and maintain the temperature set on the thermostat, hence resulting in increased energy bills. But with insulating the ductwork in unconditioned spaces, you can preserve energy and reduce energy bills.
By insulating ductwork in your home, you are actually contributing to the environment. When your HVAC system works efficiently to maintain the temperature in your home and little to no energy is lost to conductance, a lot of energy is saved. This also reduces your carbon footprint.
Prevents the Growth of Mold and Fungus
As mentioned earlier, poorly insulated ducts have condensation problems. Moisture and water leaks promote the growth of fungus, mildew, mold, and other microbes. They are very harmful for health and cause a number of diseases such as respiratory problems, skin irritation, and allergies. In order to protect your family from catching any of these diseases, you should get the ductwork in your home properly insulated.
Provides Insulation to Noise
You must be aware of the strange noises that come from air ducts, especially when the weather changes. Air ducts carry sounds, such as noise of the furnace when it turns on or off, which can be irritating especially during the nighttime. However, this problem can be solved with properly insulated ductwork.