If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to cut down on your heating and cooling costs, consider sealing and insulating the ductwork in your home. Metal ductwork is pretty efficient at dissipating your heated (or cooled) air before it gets to its destination. In fact, you can lose as much as 40% of your heated or cooled air by sending it through uninsulated ductwork.
Conserve your energy budget by sealing and insulating your home’s exposed ductwork. This is definitely a good do-it-yourself project. You can get the materials you need from your local home improvement store, and it won’t break the bank, either! Best of all, it can reduce your heating and cooling bills by as much as 30%.
You can use duct tape and spray foam insulation to seal any cracks or openings in your main supply ducts. This will help keep the heated/cooled air inside the ductwork and will eliminate the leaks that make your home less comfortable.
The large supply ducts coming directly from the furnace can be sheathed in duct insulation, which comes in 2′ x 4′ sheets, as well as 4′ x 8′ panels. This 1″ thick silver-foil sheet product has either a fiberglass core or a foam (polyisocyanurate) core and is designed to sit snugly against your main service ducts. It can tolerate high heat, which makes it the ideal material to sit against your ductwork. You can cut the insulation to fit precisely using an ordinary box cutter, and attach the insulation using a staple gun. Each sheet will cost somewhere between $10 and $15 per sheet, depending upon which material you use.
Once the main supply ducts have been insulated, you can use regular fiberglass roll insulation to insulate the individual room ducts. Use the roll insulation like the bread on a sandwich to completely blanket the individual room ducts. Roll insulation is easy to manipulate, and you can snug it into crowded spaces easily. It is robust enough to handle the heat and will eliminate duct loss. You can hold the insulation in place with staples or string. If you decide to staple the insulation in place, check it periodically to make sure that the weight of the insulation has not caused the batt to pull away from the paper backing.
You can use any number of flexible adhesive rolled insulation products to cover the register boots and transitional duct joints. Use these products only where you have to, since they’re the most expensive! As a side note, you don’t need to insulate your cold air returns, and you don’t want to insulate your furnace’s intake and exhaust pipes.
This is a great project because you can completely recover the cost through reduced consumption in the first heating season. In the following years, you’ll reap the benefits of your investment through noticeably lower heating and cooling bills!
For more information about heating and cooling, ductwork insulation and saving money on your home energy expenditures, contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We’ll be happy to perform a home energy audit and let you know how you can save money on your home heating costs.