How efficient are your ducts?
Are your summer cooling and winter heating costs still not getting lower? Are you paying 30 – 50% of your mortgage each month in utilities?
Common Steps to Lower Utility Cost:
- You added insulation in the attic.
- You changed out the windows, weather stripped and caulked around all the doors.
- You replaced the heating and cooling system with a high efficiency unit.
What’s left? When your electric and gas bill is too high month after month, it helps to have a professional evaluate the energy performance of your home. Often overlooked by homeowners is ductwork.
At Chinook, efficiency and air sealing of ductwork is one of the first areas we look at addressing. In a forced air system (central air), up to 30% of cooled and heated air can be lost due to leakage or even dirty ducts. The dollars add up fast, don’t they?
That 30% doesn’t even take into consideration, the efficiency lost by ductwork that has been altered through years of remodels without ever being balanced or dampened for maximum efficiency.
Do I have a Ductwork Problem?
One of the common duct-work issues is improper sealing of joints, gaps and vents. While air sealing can be done by the homeowner, it should be done properly.
Most of the ductwork in your home is in the attic, walls and small crawl spaces with limited access. To be comprehensive, ductwork must be visually inspected, and leaks repaired as identified. Finished areas with drywall can make duct sealing costly and difficult. Working with a licensed HVAC contractor with experience testing and sealing ducts, can identify where problems exist.
It’s also a common problem to have ductwork in unconditioned spaces. If you find your upstairs ducts are in the attic, and the attic is 120 degrees during a summer day, then you have an insulation problem. All that heat surrounding ductwork with cooled air inside creates leaks. Working with an insulation installer is recommended for some homes. Read here for some ideas on what to look for (https://www.energystar.gov/ia/products/heat_cool/ducts/ES_Duct_Sealing_flyer.pdf?c1d0-d6ba)
Dirty Ducts, Not in My House!
Cleaning ducts regularly adds to the efficiency of the system by letting it run cleaner and it also cuts down on allergens and illnesses by providing clean conditioned air.
People who ask, how bad can it be? Think of this: if you have lived in your home 10+ years; remember when you had the carpet replaced, the dirt and grime underneath? Now, imagine whats in the air ducts that your conditioned air is running through daily. Pet dander from dogs and cats can make cleaning even more of a priority. Here are some suggested standards for air duct cleaning.
Ductwork Design-The Final Culprit
The final culprit in duct efficiency is design, configuration and balance. Remember when you closed in that porch 5 years ago and routed the ductwork to cool it? How about all the vents on the first floor you keep closed to push upstairs? Getting the picture? Remodels and cheap and quick changes to ductwork are a real issue in duct efficiency.
Only a licensed HVAC contractor can balance an additional load and configure an entire HVAC system. Your tech will evaluate your systems size, capacity, ductwork returns and provide final balancing of a system.
How efficient are your ducts? Call Chinook Heating and Air Conditioning at 509.736.1211 in the Kennewick area to discuss your ductwork.