Lower Your Energy Bills with Duct Sealing

May 20, 2013 by

With summer almost upon us and temperatures starting to rise, homeowners are looking for ways to keep their energy costs low. One of the best things you can do to increase the energy efficiency and comfort levels in your home is to repair and seal air ducts. Think of your home as a refrigerator: Ducts that leak are like leaving the refrigerator door open, causing your energy bills to soar.

Leakage from ducts is usually measured as a percentage.  If you have 30 percent duct leakage then approximately 30 percent of the heated or cooled air you are paying for is literally being forced out of the ducts. The opposite is also true; your home could be sucking hot or cold air into your ductwork. Newer homes are usually built to have less than two to five percent duct leakage. Older homes are more likely to see 40 percent duct leakage or more.

There are several methods to repair any ductwork that may be leaking in your home. One way is to use a foil-faced blanket to wrap around the duct. Another option is to insulate the duct run with spray foam. When it comes to ductwork in the attic, homeowners can also add more attic insulation to cover the ducts with a newer, higher R-rated insulation. A home energy audit performed by a professional insulation contractor can help homeowners decide on the best option for their home.

Home energy experts recommend sealing any leaks in the ductwork along with having them insulated. Homeowners can usually save some money by having both air sealing and insulating done together. Ducts are likely to leak due to joints between each section of duct and the fittings. When conditioned air leaks out of the ducts or as unconditioned air leaks in, energy is wasted. Leaky ducts also allow unclean air from the attic, basement or crawl space to enter the living space. This can not only create indoor air quality problems, but can also aggravate common allergies and possibly lead to asthma or more serious respiratory conditions.

There are some common places in most homes where air leakage can occur:

  • Holes where plumbing and wiring enter through floors, walls and ceilings.
  • Chimney penetrations through insulated ceilings and exterior walls.
  • Attic access hatches, doors and drop-down stairs.
  • Around recessed lights and fans in insulated ceilings.
  • Worn weather-stripping around windows and exterior doors.
  • Any holes in drywall or plaster.
  • Around electrical outlets and switches, especially on exterior walls.
  • Through trim around windows and doors; baseboard moldings.
  • Dropped ceilings above bathtubs and cabinets.
  • Hollow cores in concrete block walls.

A home energy audit (also known as a home energy assessment or evaluation) can show you exactly how and where your energy dollars are being wasted. This will allow you to find where your best energy savings opportunities are. A home energy saving professional will conduct a series of tests and inspections as part of their thorough home energy audit to evaluate all of the systems and conditions that play a part in your home’s overall energy performance.

Selecting the right company to perform a home energy audit is crucial. Not every energy audit is created equal; some are not as complete as they should be. If done properly, a home energy evaluation should always include a blower door test to find where energy is leaking out of the home, a thorough inspection of the home’s insulation and an evaluation of the ductwork and heating and cooling system.

Prepare your home for those scorching summer temperatures now by finding and repairing any leaks in your home’s ductwork. Air sealing your home can help reduce your energy loss and make a dent in your utility bills. If you believe your home could benefit from air sealing, contact your local Dr. Energy Saver dealer to schedule your home energy audit today!

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