The Duct System for Heating and Cooling Your Home

Forced air systems are used to heat and cool most homes. When it comes to heating your home with a furnace ducts have an important role to play, as they carry the heated air from the furnace to each room of the home. The two most common materials used to make ducts are fiberglass and sheet metal. The ducts can be located in the walls, ceilings, or floors and move conditioned air to wherever it is needed. Ducts that are not properly installed or insulated can really increase your energy costs.

How Ducts Work

The ducts take either warm or cool air from your furnace, heat pump, or central air conditioner and deliver it to the rooms of your home. Each of the appliances has a fan that forces the air through the ducts. If the temperature outside the duct is cooler than the temperature of the air inside the heat can seep out into the walls, ceilings or floors. The same can happen in the summer with cold air seeping out in response to the warmer air outside the duct. This air is then sucked back into the furnace, heat, pump, or air conditioner to be reconditioned. The best duct systems are a clean source of conditioned air without losing too much of their ideal temperature along the way. Duct systems that are not installed or operating properly can lead to much higher utility bills.

Sealing and Insulating Your Duct Systems

You should carefully check your ducts for leaks to prevent unconditioned air from entering your duct system. Good sealing materials should be used to seal the duct in unconditioned places. Since regular cloth duct tape can become dry, brittle, and ineffective over time it is best to use a fiberglass tape to seal the duct joints. A heat reflective coating should be used to insulate the basement walls and the ducts. If you have converted your basement into a living area you will need to install both supply and return ducts. The slab should have a well sealed vapor barrier to prevent moisture build up.

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