Updating duct work in older homes

In many homes, the heater seems to be on forever before you get warm.

Or the AC’s humming, but you don’t feel any cold air.

So you think something big must be wrong: the heating and cooling system is broken or all the windows need replacing.

But before you start a major energy upgrade with major costs, do something simple: look up, look down.

The typical home has holes that leak out a full third of its heating and cooling costs.

The biggest issues happen where you can’t see them.

Often the first things we focus on when thinking about energy efficiency are windows and the cracks around them. The really big holes, the ones you can put a fist through, are in the places you don’t go—in attics, basements and crawlspaces. The dirty spots show where air is traveling through the insulation and out of your house.

That’s where wires, plumbing or heating ducts enter and leave the house or where foundation meets frame. Then go to your basement and look for gaps between the concrete foundation and the wood frame of the house.

Here’s how: In the attic: Before you change your system, seal your ducts.

Some homes may be perfectly insulated with no air escaping outside, but they’re betrayed by bad ductwork.

If the ducts that carry warm or cool air throughout your home are leaky, you could be losing 20% or more of that air before it even reaches your room.

And the holes in ducts—just like the holes in insulation—are usually where you can’t see them: the attic, crawl space and garage.

Most homeowners choose to work with a professional contractor for duct improvement projects.

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