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Getting your ducts in a row

Washington Energy | 05/10/2011 | Posted in Air conditioning, Heat pump

As we change from heating our homes to cooling them, many of us are looking at how we can accomplish this efficiently.


 Getting yearly maintenance performed on cooling equipment such as air conditioning or heat pumps.

Focusing on the air delivery system or ducts.

Can you imagine if you tried to eat soup out of a bowl with holes in it? You’d likely go hungry. EnergyStar ® says that 20% of the air that moves through a typical duct system is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts – and that’s the average. This means the conditioned air is not being delivered to areas where it should be going.  So it’s easy to imagine how these leaks can affect utility bills and home comfort.

How do you know if you have poor performing ducts? You might notice your utility (gas or electric) actual usage is higher than expected. If you spent a lot of money on your high efficiency furnace or heat pump but still don’t feel comfy, this could be why. Or if some rooms with ducts in them are difficult to heat or are stuffy as air is not getting to them. Even if you don’t have air conditioning but run your furnace on a fan setting to cool your house you could benefit from better performing ducts.

What can you do? You can either do some sealing yourself or call a professional. To do it yourself, you can find some easy tips on the energystar.gov website. Many homeowners choose to work with a professional contractor. Heating equipment or service companies can now test for duct leakage and determine if your ducts need to be sealed. Duct testing takes about 1 to 2 hours.

I had my ducts sealed and insulated last year and have seen a dramatic increase in efficiency. My equipment does not have to run as hard to cool/heat my home. The increased efficiency means my equipment will last longer and save me even more money. Now, how is that a bad deal?

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