If your energy bills are continually on the rise, don't just resign yourself to the idea that prices are up these days in the Cleveland area. There could be another explanation – hidden areas of energy waste in your home. One of the biggest culprits is often your ductwork. Leaks or blockages can wreak havoc on your utility costs, causing them to be up to 20 percent higher than necessary, according to Energy Star.
How can you tell if your ductwork needs repairs or an upgrade? Look for signs in the accessible areas of your duct system, or schedule a ductwork troubleshooting visit with your heating and cooling contractor. This evaluation requires specialized training so be sure your contractor is up to date and has the needed instruments to evaluate your system.
Here are some typical duct problems and ways to correct them:
- Uninsulated ducts in spaces outside the home's conditioned living area, such as the attic or crawl spaces. Add insulation to these ducts. In the basement, you might consider adding insulation to the walls instead, if the ducts are providing needed heat.
- Disconnected, damaged ducts. If you see holes or feel drafts of air, your ducts must be sealed and any hanging duct tape (a very common problem) replaced with duct mastic. If you see dirt or soot on any existing insulation, that is another sign that it may be hiding loose duct joints. Consider duct sealing.
- Dead-end ducts due to installation errors. This may be the cause if you have rooms that are always chilly with insufficient airflow. Some retrofitting may be in order.
- Unbalanced or missing return ducts due to poor initial design and layout. These circulation problems make your home comfort system work harder, sending your utility bills higher. Your contractor may recommend correcting the pressure imbalance by adding returns. Undercutting the doors in rooms that are closed off or adding transfer ducts in adjacent walls are options your contractor may discuss with you. Installing return ducts or door grilles may help as well.
Would you like to know more about whether your duct system might be hurting your home comfort and adding to your utility bills? Contact the experts at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling for a ductwork troubleshooting visit.
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