Since ductwork is mostly hidden behind walls or in the attic or crawl space, you probably don’t give it much thought. But it could be a major source of energy losses if it’s not properly constructed and well sealed. A typical house with central air conditioning and heating might lose as much as 30 percent of its cooling and heating energy due to ductwork problems.
Major ductwork repairs and duct sealing are jobs that are best left to HVAC professionals, but there are some things you can do before you call in the pros. Here are some basic do-it-yourself tips for increasing HVAC efficiency by repairing your ductwork:
- Inspect the ductwork – Look at the ducts that you have easy access to, such as those that run through closets or the attic. Take note of any duct joints that have come apart, flexible ducts that are crushed or kinked, holes in ducts, and ducts in unconditioned spaces such as your attic or crawl space that should be insulated.
- Make basic repairs – Use mastic to seal duct joints and seams. Common cloth duct tape isn’t adequate for sealing ducts since it deteriorates quickly under harsh conditions. Try to straighten any crushed or kinked flexible ducts. If they won’t hold their shape after you straighten them, replace them if they’re in easily accessible locations.
- Insulate ducts in unconditioned spaces – After you’re finished with basic duct sealing work, add insulation to ducts that run through your attic, garage, crawl space or other unconditioned areas. Heat transfer by conduction from uninsulated ducts can account for a lot of the energy losses from your system.
- Get professional duct sealing help – Major duct sealing, ductwork repairs and duct insulation jobs should be left to the pros. Your HVAC contractor can get to ducts in hard-to-reach spaces and will know how to apply the correct adhesives, clamps, screws and insulating materials to do the job right.
Call us at Cox Air Conditioning & Heating for help with HVAC Efficiency. The money you spend on ductwork repairs will pay for itself in reduced energy bills.
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Effective attic ventilation plays a vital role in keeping your home comfortable on hot summer days. Passive ventilation via soffit vents and roof or gable vents will keep the air in your attic from getting excessively hot on sunny days, so your cooling costs will be lower and your roofing materials will last longer than they would with an unventilated attic.
Consider attic ventilation as one part in an overall system that also includes a well-sealed attic floor, adequate insulation and roofing materials that are appropriate for our Florida climate. Here are some things to consider as you work with HVAC pros to make your home comfortable and energy efficient:
- Seal air leaks – Be sure air leaks between living areas and the attic are blocked. Openings where wiring, plumbing stacks, ductwork or chimneys penetrate the ceiling should be sealed. Weatherstrip the attic access hatch so that air doesn’t leak around it when it’s closed.
- Add insulation – Adequate insulation will keep reduce heat transfer between the attic and living areas. Insulate ducts anywhere they run through unconditioned areas of the attic or crawl space.
- Don’t block soffit vents – When adding insulation, keep soffits and soffit vents open. Install barriers to keep blown-in insulation from filling soffits and keep airways between soffit vents and the attic open by stapling rafter vents to the roof decking between rafters where the decking meets the attic floor.
- Install the right number of vents – Work with your HVAC contractor to determine how many soffit, roof and gable vents you need for your house’s design and location. Roof vents and ridge vents can pose leakage problems, so you don’t want to have any more of them than you need for adequate attic ventilation.
- Choose shingles for our climate – White or light-colored shingles will reflect much of the incoming summer sunlight so that the attic doesn’t have to expel as much heat as it would with dark shingles.
Call us at Cox Air Conditioning & Heating for help keeping your home energy efficient and comfortable in every season.
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