Is Duct Insulation Worth the Money?
December 27, 2021 •Reid Geiler
Have you ever heard the saying, "You've got to crack an egg to make an omelet?" Well, that proverb can certainly be true when it comes to saving money as a homeowner. Especially when you look at things like improving energy efficiency. You've got to spend a little money to save a lot.
Anything that can help waste less energy—like duct insulation, for example—can help save you loads of money down the road. So, is duct insulation worth the cost? We will take a closer look at the process and let you decide for yourself.
Everything there is to know about your home's air ducts
Most homeowners are familiar with the role that air ducts play. This system of tubes spreads out across the floors, ceilings, and walls of a home. Its purpose is to carry heated or cooled air from the furnace and air conditioner throughout the house. Most ducts are made from sheet metal, fiberglass, or hard cardboard material.
When an air duct system is correctly installed, sealed, and insulated, it evenly distributes the conditioned air throughout the house. This keeps each of the rooms at a comfortable temperature.
The problem is that the materials used for air ducts are thin and sometimes fragile. It's easy for air to leak through id they are not sealed correctly.
That's where duct insulation comes into play. When an air duct system is correctly insulated, it regulates the temperature. There's no drastic fluctuation in air temperature as it travels from the furnace or air conditioner throughout the house. Even better, there's no wasted energy and costly energy bills.
A lot of homes have ductwork in unconditioned areas like attics and basements. This is where duct insulation is needed the most. If your home has uninsulated duct systems in unconditioned spaces, you might be wasting a lot of money.
How your air duct system is costing you money
Anyone who has paid a gas or electric bill knows how much it costs to heat and cool an entire home. We spend lots of money conditioning the air that we send through our duct systems. If an air duct leaks, we end up wasting massive amounts of money. Many times, we spend several hundred dollars a year on lost heating and cooling. We may not even know that the air duct system is leaking and costing us money.
According to a recent Forbes article, the average house loses anywhere from 20% to 30% of the air in their duct system through leaks and poor connections. As a result, your home's HVAC system works even harder to keep your house comfortable. The cost of that wasted energy adds up. Most of the time, it severely outweighs the cost of sealing and insulating a duct system.
What happens when an air duct is insulated?
Although we at Geiler are all for taking on DIY projects, insulating air ducts is not one we would recommend. It might sound like it's as easy as taping some duct wrap around an exposed duct in the attic. However, insulating an air duct system is a multi-step process. You'll see on our website that we offer not just duct insulation but duct repairs and duct sealing.
Before you can even begin to insulate, you must address any duct leaks. When we start duct insulation work at home, we begin by looking for gaps, holes, or cracks. We want to make sure there's no space for conditioned air to leak out or contaminated air to get in. Only when we have sealed the ducts can we address the insulation. The insulation keeps the temperature in the ducts consistent and can prevent problems like excessive moisture. But, without duct sealing, you might still lose air from your HVAC system.
Five reasons why duct insulation is worth it
By now, you can probably tell that we are all for insulating a home's ductwork. But, in case you still need a reason to support the decision, we've given you five.
Lowers utility bills Remember, a typical home loses up to 30% of its conditioned air through leaks. That means that more than a quarter of your HVAC bill could be going towards wasted energy. Will it cost you money to have your ducts insulated? Of course. But this is the egg you have to break, so to speak, to make the metaphorical omelet. After a few years, the updates to your now-efficient HVAC system will have paid for themselves in the money you save on energy bills. As a bonus, you'll save even more money avoiding the maintenance costs of an overworked HVAC system.
Increases Comfort at home A sealed and insulated duct system helps your heating and cooling system work more efficiently. That means your home will be kept at a comfortable temperature more effectively. On top of that, insulated ducts can improve air quality as well. The leaks that lose the conditioned air can also let in low-quality air, causing the ducts to circulate dust and other pollutants.
Reduces energy use Getting your air ducts insulated isn't just good for your bank account. Insulated air ducts cut back on energy waste, which is beneficial for the environment.
Increases home safety Although it's not common, leaky ducts can also let in carbon monoxide coming from gas appliances in your home. It's a low risk even with uninsulated ducts, but getting your ductwork insulated reduces the risk even further.
Prevents other costly problems Part of what duct insulation does is maintain a consistent temperature. That's not just in the home but in the ducts themselves. When cooled air travels through the ducts in warm areas of the house, such as an attic, the temperature difference can cause condensation. Over time, the moisture from the condensation can lead to problems like mold and mildew. With an insulated duct, you won't have to worry about condensation and the costly risks.
Ready to reduce your energy bills and your carbon footprint? Call Geiler, experts in all things heating and cooling.