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Your new or existing cooling and heating equipment is only as good as the system that delivers air to every room. Central air conditioners, heat pumps and forced air furnaces rely on a system of ducts to circulate air throughout your home. To maintain comfort and good indoor air quality, it is important to have the proper balance between the air being supplied to each room and the air returning to your cooling and heating equipment. Leaky ducts can cause an unbalanced system that wastes energy. Sealing your ducts is one solution that can improve your system's ability to consistently cool and heat every room in your home.
Whether you're having new equipment installed or working to improve the performance of your existing cooling and heating system, you should have your duct system checked. If you're not sure if you need to get your ducts checked, it is important to not put it off.
Most duct improvement repairs require the assistance of a contractor. A good contractor will:
- Identify any duct leaks with diagnostic equipment.
- Seal your ducts with mastic, metal-backed tape, or aerosol sealant. Duct tape should not be used because it can not withstand high temperatures and will not last.
- Test airflow after ducts are sealed.
- Insulate your ducts where it counts to keep the air at its desired temperature as it moves through the system. The contractor should use duct insulation material rated at R-6 to insulate ducts located in unconditioned spaces such as an attic or crawlspace.
- Conduct a combustion safety test after ducts are sealed to be sure all gas or oil-burning appliances are working properly.
Credits: US Department of Energy (http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=ducts.pr_ducts)