One of the most important systems in your home, though hidden over your head, may be wasting a lot of your energy dollars. Your duct system, a branching network of tubes in the walls and/or ceilings, carries the air from your heating and air conditioning unit to each room. Ducts are made of sheet metal, fiberglass, or other materials.
Sealing your ducts to prevent leaks is even more important if the ducts are located in an unconditioned area such as an attic.If the supply ducts are leaking, heated or cooled air is forced out unsealed joints and lost. In addition, unconditioned air can also be drawn into return ducts through unsealed joints. In the summer, hot attic air can be drawn in, increasing the load on the air conditioner. In the winter, your furnace will have to work longer to keep your home comfortable. In both cases, your energy losses cost you money.
Unfortunately, many duct systems are poorly insulated or not insulated properly. Ducts that leak heated air into unheated spaces can add hundreds of dollars a year to your heating and cooling bills. Insulating ducts that are in unconditioned spaces is usually very cost effective. If you are buying a new duct system, consider one that comes with insulation already installed.
Although minor duct repairs are easy to accomplish, ducts in unconditioned spaces should be sealed and insulated by qualified professionals using the appropriate sealing and insulation materials.
10 Energy-Saving Tips That Require An Investment:
1. Seal heating and cooling ductwork. Duct leakage can be substantial--as much as 20% to 30%. Use water based mastic only.
2. Buy EPA Energy Star labeled energy-efficient equipment. When buying or replacing office equipment, compare energy requirements of various models.
3. Repaint building exterior with light colors. More sunlight will be reflected away from the building, thus lowering air-conditioning expenses. This is especially true for your roof.
4. Replace old appliances with more efficient models. Replacing an old dishwasher, refrigerator, washing machine, or furnace -- with a new, energy-efficient model can really save energy and money. Look for the Energy Star label.
5. Home Energy Audit. A home energy audit can identify ways to save up to hundreds of dollars a year on home heating and air conditioning.
6. Increase attic insulation to R-30. Insulation helps keep heat out in the summer and the cold out in the winter.
7. Insulate floors over unheated spaces to R-19. Insulation provides a thermal boundary, reducing energy use and increasing comfort.
8. Insulate and seal ducts in attics, crawl spaces, garages and other unheated areas.
9. Install Energy Star windows. These windows cost ~$0.50 /sq.ft. more than standard windows, save energy and increase comfort
10. Install a solar water heater. A solar water heater can provide 50% to 80% of your hot water needs.
Energy - Saving Tips:
- Time of Use
- Water Heating
- ENERGY STAR
- ENERGY STAR Recycle My Old Fridge Campaign
- EPA's GreenScapes
- SRP Duct Test and Repair Rebate Program