One of the most abused and overlooked parts of a heating and cooling system is the duct system. The Department of Energy estimates that the average system loses between 15-25% of its capacity due to the duct system.
In our market, we find these numbers to be mostly accurate, but sometimes too conservative. For many years, our area has had no licensing or inspection requirements for HVAC installations resulting in poorly installed duct systems.
We see many consumers concerned about the “brand name” or how many BTU’s the system is, but they rarely remember to ask questions about what is happening with their duct system. This is similar to buying tires and not having them properly balanced and aligned.
If you are building a new home or replacing a system in an existing home, you should demand a duct leakage test report after the system is installed. The best system will perform poorly with improper installation, and a basic system will perform satisfactorily with proper installation.
At Aire Solutions, we have the ability to test duct systems (and the entire thermal envelope of the home) to certify the air tightness or lack thereof, and we can advise steps to take to alleviate any problems.
We can custom build, rehabilitate or repair your duct system.
Whenever possible, heating and air conditioning ducts should be run within the thermal envelope of the home. This minimizes the impact of air leakage and thermal losses. When this is not possible, special care should be taken to ensure air tightness and thermal integrity of the system. Many people will demand R-30 insulation or greater in their attic, yet they will allow the duct system, carrying 50 degree air, to be run through a 150 degree attic with duct insulation values of only R1. This allows for a significant amount of energy loss. The consequences appear in your utility bills.
Duct systems that are properly sealed and insulated can make homes much more comfortable and energy efficient. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of a home’s heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent. We would be happy to help you evaluate and fix your duct system. You can use these Energy Star resources to learn more and to get started on making your home as energy efficient as possible. Remember in the end, it’s your pocketbook which will enjoy the energy savings for years to come.