As homeowners ourselves, we know that you are looking for any way possible to improve the energy efficiency of your home in order to spend less on your energy bills each year. While many people may tell you to focus on your windows and doors, or the condition of your furnace and air conditioning unit, the ductwork often gets overlooked. The ductwork is of course the network of ducts that run from your heating and cooling systems to the various rooms around your house. Their job is to distribute the hot and cold air throughout your home, but did you know that as much as 30% of the energy produced by your heating and cooling systems can be lost via conduction through the surface of these ducts?! 30%!! AirPlus is the leading Toronto based HVAC company and prides itself on exploring all ways to minimize energy loss in your home and during this article we are going to point out the main problems that lead to energy loss via ducts, as well as ways in which you can address those problems.
Ductwork Problems that Make Your Heating and Cooling Systems Work Harder
We always recommend that your ductwork should be inspected and maintained at least once every 12 months as there are a variety of problems that could develop and cause your heating and cooling systems to become less efficient. A few of the main problems to watch out for include:
The effectiveness of the heating and cooling systems at your Toronto home could suffer if the warm and cold air they produce is allowed to escape through seams or holes that have developed. Depending on how big this problem is, as much as 30% of the air could be lost before it reaches its intended destination. If you are losing energy from your system in this way, it is usually down to poor quality installation or repair work completed by the contractor you hired.
The purpose of insulation, which is applied to the exterior of the ducts, is to reduce the amount of energy lost through the ducts to the absolute minimum. Insulation boosts the efficiency of both heating and cooling systems, since as well as preventing heat from being lost through the ducts, it also prevents heat from entering the ducts when your air conditioning unit is pumping cool air around your home.
Blocked Heating and Cooling Ducts
The third relatively common problem that can reduce the efficiency of a heating and cooling system, is a blockage in the ductwork. Over time it’s not unusual for dirt and dust to accumulate and prevent standard airflow through the duct. When you fire up your furnace or air conditioning unit, but feel a minimal flow of air coming through your heating and cooling vents, this is often the cause.
Tips that Could Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Heating and Cooling System
- Seam Cracks & Holes – One of the simplest ways to give your heating and cooling system an immediate boost in energy efficiency is to ensure the ducts are all properly sealed. This means either applying caulk or soldering seam cracks and holes. However, even perfectly sealed ducts will still lose a certain amount of energy, which is why modern building designs usually position the ducts within the conditioned space by using dropped ceilings and corner installations.
- Insulate Your Ductwork – Adding insulation to your ducts is an extremely cost effective way of improving energy efficiency and can cut bills by as much as 20% in some cases, which more than covers the cost of the insulation. You should use polyisocyanurate sheathing on the sides and bottom of the ducts and a layer of standard fiberglass insulation on the top.
- Remove Blockages – If you are concerned that your ducts may have a blockage, the best thing you can do is call a trusted Toronto heating and cooling contractor, who will be able to accurately assess the situation. It’s imperative that heating and cooling systems are turned off when this inspection is done.
- Move Your Furniture – This is perhaps the simplest way in which you could improve the effectiveness of your furnace and air conditioning unit. Furniture should never be placed in front of the registers. It’s also a good idea to regularly clean these registers to ensure the build-up of dust is kept to a minimum.
AirPlus has been cutting annual energy costs for homeowners across Toronto for more than 20 years and offers installation, repair and maintenance services for a variety of heating and cooling systems.