A heating and cooling system pulls air through your home to heat or cool it. To do this, your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) contractor places one or more ducts in strategic locations throughout the house to suck the air out of rooms, send the heated/cooled air through the ducts, and expel the air back into the place through one or more vents.
Since air naturally moves from areas where it’s warmer to colder, during the winter, a heating system pushes warm air through a duct that runs along a cold exterior wall. In summer, an air conditioner pulls hot air from the interior of your home and dumps it through a duct inside an exterior wall.
The problem? These ducts are hidden behind drywall and carpet most of the time, so they’re often uninsulated and leaky. This can add to your utility bills and cause hot or cold spots in your home’s temperature that you may not even realize exist. It also raises concerns about mould growth and dust circulating throughout your home.
If you want to improve the efficiency of your ducted heating and cooling Melbourne, it’s worth spending some time to insulate and seal the ducts in your house properly so they don’t leak heat or air conditioning. As a result, you’ll save money on utility bills while keeping your home more comfortable all year round.
If you’re looking to find out how exactly you can do this yourself, keep reading.
How to Seal and Insulate Ducts in the House
To seal your ducts, follow these steps:
1. Start at one of the main registers (usually located on an exterior wall) and pull back any insulation or drywall that’s blocking access to the duct. You may need to use a drywall or putty knife to pry away sections that are taped in place.
2. If you see dust, debris, or insulation inside the duct, pull it out with your hands or use compressed air to clean it off. This is just an initial cleaning; you’ll want to do a more thorough job later.
3. If you don’t want to use a ladder or can’t find an easy way to access your attic, enlist a friend to help you lift the insulation away from the ducts and off the floor joists (the beams that support your ceiling). This will give you easier access and make it less likely that you’ll damage the insulation.
4. If your attic already has insulation sitting on top of the floor joists, gently add more to fill in any gaps and create a continuous layer that covers the entire floor. You want to ensure there aren’t any voids or low spots for air to escape through; these spots should be filled with fibreglass or another loose insulation that can easily be blown into place.
5. Once the floor is completely covered, move onto the walls on either side of your register. If you’re working with a friend, have them hold up one edge of a piece of insulation while you push it in between the studs and tape it to the wall, so it doesn’t fall. If you’re working by yourself, use pieces of rigid foam insulation to seal the gap between the studs before putting up your final piece of loose insulation.
Once you’ve put up all the insulation and it’s filled in any gaps or voids, tape off any seams with special flexible fibreglass tape so there are no spots for air to escape.
Now that your ducts are mostly insulated, you’ll want to seal the rest of them with a special foil insulation tape or foam insulation backing (if you’re installing new ductwork).
Start by removing the grilles from each register and taking out any registers in adjacent rooms if there’s no arrangement for you to access the ducts from outside your house.
Next, wrap a piece of insulation around the plenum box (the opening where your main duct connects to smaller ones inside your home), leaving about 1/4″ exposed, so you have room to attach the foil tape or foam insulation backing. Wrap it as tightly as possible, so there’s no slack and try to completely cover any gaps between the insulation and the box if you can.
You should also apply a bead of foam insulation or spray-in sealant around all your exhaust and supply vents (registers) before replacing them; this will help stop air from leaking out through the edges.
Finally, reattach your registers and grilles and seal any gaps around their edges with a bead of caulk.
Note: If you’re installing a new system, plan to have your ductwork insulated during construction, so you need not worry about the hassle later.
Though it takes some time and effort, insulating and sealing your ducts can significantly improve how efficiently your heating and cooling systems run.