Leaks, insufficient insulation and improper sealing are typical issues with ducting. Ducts lose some of their effectiveness as they get older due to things like cracks, holes or poor connections. Inconsistent temperature control could be the consequence of poorly planned or scaled duct systems. Additional causes of duct damage can include external sources like bugs or severe weather. To address and avoid these difficulties, you must schedule regular inspections to ensure correct insulation, sealing and maintenance. Dust, dirt and mold may also build up and negatively affect the air quality inside your home if you ignore upkeep.

The ductwork in your house greatly affects its energy efficiency as well as your health. Leaky ductwork allows conditioned air to escape, resulting in energy loss and high energy costs. Poorly insulated, unsealed ducts also cause temperature fluctuations, which can be uncomfortable and increase energy costs even more. Dirty ductwork can aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms, making duct cleaning an essential part of home maintenance. In addition to scheduling regular duct cleaning and maintenance, here are 11 simple tips you can use to improve your ductwork performance.

1. Add More Insulation

Insulation plays a direct role in the performance of ductwork. Adding more insulation to the ducts is a good idea when you experience temperature inconsistencies or high energy costs. The extra insulation will go a long way in helping regulate temperatures in areas that are more difficult to heat or cool than others. These areas usually include crawlspaces and attics.

2. Upgrade to High-efficiency Filters

A high-efficiency air filter is an upgrade that improves ductwork performance by capturing more airborne particles. This translates into better interior air quality and less dust buildup. To effectively capture smaller particles, use pleated filters with a high MERV rating, preferably 11 or above. HEPA filters with a MERV rating of 17 and above provide even better filtering. Unfortunately, these don’t allow sufficient airflow in residential HVAC systems and are considered hospital-grade filters that are best suited for large commercial HVAC systems. However, you can purchase separate air purification units that accept HEPA filters. No matter what type you choose to use, make sure to change or clean the filters regularly. If you don’t, the heating and cooling systems will experience restricted airflow. This can lead to a host of costly and inconvenient problems, such as system overheating and failure. It also puts your health at risk by allowing more indoor pollutants to stay in the air.

3. Install Dampers

For better temperature control, consider installing dampers. These devices connect directly to the ductwork, allowing you to open and close them according to your heating and cooling preferences. If you don’t want to heat or cool a certain part of the home, simply close the damper. Some dampers even come with remote control technology, allowing you to open them via a remote. Others require you to open and close them manually.

4. Regular Duct Testing

HVAC professionals normally use the blower door test during ductwork testing. By artificially inflating a vacuum between the home’s interior and exterior, the blower door test determines the efficiency of the ducting system. A strong fan is set up in an external door to lower the house’s pressure. Then, in order to find air leaks, the technicians will employ pressure sensors. By measuring and identifying the amount of leakage, the test tells where to seal the ducts. It’s best to do ductwork testing at the time of HVAC system installation, during significant modifications or every five to 10 years to promote the best performance.

5. Replace Damaged Sections

Resolving faulty ductwork is a great way to boost its performance since it stops energy from escaping and enhances airflow. Experts can spot weak areas by using sophisticated equipment like thermal imaging, airflow evaluations or visual examinations. A common method of repair is to replace ducting sections or use mastic or metal tape to plug leaks. Mastic or metal tape, however, doesn’t always provide an effective solution. In some cases, the technicians will use an aerosol duct sealer with fiberglass mesh or duct wrapping to enhance thermal performance.

6. Redirect or Add Vents

Another way to improve ductwork performance is to reroute or add vents. This allows you to make sure the conditioned air circulates uniformly in each room, preventing any hot or cold zones. There are certain parts of the home that commonly benefit from rerouting or adding vents. These areas include bedrooms, basements, upper floors, corners, home offices and kitchens.

7. Consider Zoning Systems

Upgrading to zoned heating and cooling allows you to manage the temperature independently in different parts of the home. This maximizes energy efficiency by eliminating the need to maintain a constant temperature throughout the house. With regard to the ductwork, it specifically enhances its performance by optimizing the airflow distribution. It also provides individualized temperature control, lessens the load on the HVAC system and saves money on energy bills. The reduced load should translate to fewer maintenance problems, saving you even more money.

8. Upgrade to Efficient HVAC Equipment

There are several types of energy-efficient HVAC equipment that you can use to improve ductwork performance. Air conditioners and furnaces with higher efficiency use less energy, reducing the strain on duct systems. Systems with variable-speed motors allow for precise regulation of airflow, which in turn reduces wear and tear. Smart thermostats learn your heating and cooling preferences and make energy-saving adjustments, which may result in fewer maintenance visits.

9. Install Return Air Vents

By directing air back into the ducts, return air vents improve the efficiency of the ducting. These openings allow air to be recycled back into the HVAC system, which helps maintain a steady pressure and improves system performance. The best places to install air return vents are in central locations within a home. These locations include hallways and bedrooms on each floor and near large living spaces.

10. Use Aerodynamic Duct Design

Installing ductwork with an aerodynamic design increases airflow in the home. The goal of this design is to maximize the dispersion of conditioned air while decreasing pressure drops and turbulence. This efficient airflow, achieved by minimizing resistance, not only enhances heating and cooling but also optimizes energy efficiency.

11. Get Rid of Pests and Vermin

Birds, insects and rodents are the most common ductwork pests. Because bugs can eat through insulation, introduce impurities, and damage ducts, addressing pest issues is necessary for your ducts to work correctly. If you have a pest or infestation of any type, contact one of our ductwork specialists or an exterminator right away.

Ductwork isn’t the only part of the home that influences your comfort. Blue Best Plumbing, Heating, Air, Generators helps homeowners with all of their heating, cooling and plumbing needs. We offer HVAC installations, ductless AC, plumbing repairs, maintenance plans, indoor air quality testing and more. Give Blue Best Plumbing, Heating, Air, Generators a call right away if you want to schedule ductwork cleaning in Bountiful, UT.

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