Welcome Winter With Proper Duct Insulation

learn about proper duct insulation for your home

Welcome Winter With Proper Duct Insulation

How is your home’s duct insulation?

Most homes across the country contain a series of ducts (or tunnels), which circulate air throughout the house. The ducts circulate warm air in the winter to heat your home and often circulate cool air in the summer to cool your home. If your home includes a forced air furnace and/or a central air conditioner, then your home relies on ductwork. Air ducts carry warm and cool air to different rooms throughout your home.

As duct systems distribute heated or cooled air throughout our homes, they should be leak free. Plus, particularly in the winter, we want insulation for heating ducts wherever they pass through unheated spaces in your home.

Home ductwork is made up of two basic types of heating and cooling ducts.

  • Supply ducts carry warm, heated air (or cooled, air conditioned air) from your furnace to all the rooms of your house.
  • Return ducts allow the air from the different areas of your home to flow back to the furnace.

Duct insulation and sealing remain vital to home comfort.

How to know if your home has proper duct insulation?

Proper ductwork must be well-sealed and balanced to ensure your home's heating and cooling systems work as efficiently as possible. In addition, all ducts that are in unconditioned attics, basements, garages or crawl spaces should be well insulated. Proper duct installation includes:

  • A manual D or similar duct sizing analysis.
  • In unconditioned spaces or where condensation can be a problem, R-8 duct insulation (go no lower than R-6).
  • A comprehensive UL 181 approved duct sealing process.
  • Balancing dampers to be able to adjust airflow to different areas of your home.

A properly sized, sealed, insulated and balanced duct system improves your home comfort and energy efficiency, while delivering cleaner air.

What are the warning signs of poor duct insulation?

GreenHomes believes home energy projects are far more successful when homeowners understand how their homes operate. If you understand the problems, then solutions make sense. We help you learn about the issues you want resolved! At GHA, we work with you to create a detailed process that resolves the underlying problems. As a result, we believe you'll enjoy long lasting results because you know about the root causes of common problems and solutions.

Homeowners should know that uninsulated ductwork contributes towards home comfort problems. Here are some warning signs that identifies if better duct insulation is required.

  • Air temperature coming out of supply registers from ductwork in unconditioned spaces is very cool to the touch.
  • Air temperature coming out of supply registers from ductwork in unconditioned spaces is warm to the touch.
  • Ductwork has visible signs of condensation.

Remember that insulating and sealing ductwork in unconditioned basements will make the basement spaces colder. Care should be taken to make sure water pipes don’t freeze in the winter. The best way to know if your home needs more sealing and insulation remains a home energy audit. The right assessment helps determine the real issues in your home. Plus, quality auditors provide solutions that make the most sense for you and your home. While sometimes a new system is just the ticket, it often makes sense to address insulation and air-sealing first, before installing a new furnace or air-conditioner.

How to know if your home needs duct replacement?

Homes with flexible ducts over 10 to 15 years old should be inspected by a qualified technician.


Older flexible ducts typically contain poor insulation, may include asbestos as the insulation material, and probably has some rips and tears. In addition, many contractors do not properly seal the duct connections during installation. As a result, this leads to air dissipating into the attic, basement or walls.

This is not ideal. However, replacing or improving your duct system offers many advantages.

  • Improved Comfort: Duct insulation and sealing helps with common comfort problems, such as rooms that are too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. 
  • Enhanced Indoor Air Quality: Unsealed ducts allow fumes from household and garden chemicals, insulation particles and/or dust into the duct system. As a result, the particles aggravate asthma and allergy problems. Therefore, sealing ducts improves indoor air quality by reducing the risk of pollutants entering ducts and circulating through your home. 
  • Promotes Safety: During normal operation, gas appliances such as water heaters, clothes dryers, and furnaces release combustion gases (like carbon monoxide) through their venting systems. Leaky ductwork in your heating and cooling system may cause back-drafting, where these gases are drawn back into the living space, rather than expelled to the outdoors. Sealing leaks can reduce this risk. 
  • Saves Money: Leaky ducts reduce heating and cooling system efficiency by as much as 20%. Duct insulation and sealing increase energy efficiency and lowers energy bills. As a result, the improvements often pay for themselves in energy savings.

Plus, for homeowners planning to install new heating and cooling equipment, a well-designed and sealed duct system enables a smaller HVAC system. Proper sealing and insulation help purchase a smaller, less costly heating and cooling system.

How can GreenHomes America help?

Lack of duct insulation and duct leaks remain a main contributor that causes high heating and cooling costs. Additionally, poorly insulated ductwork and leaky duct connections cause uncomfortable home conditions, such as cold or drafty rooms in the winter. Therefore, sealing duct systems and installing proper insulation makes sense.

GreenHomes America quality contractors provide expertise air sealing your home's ducts, which optimizes airflow.

GreenHomes America takes a commonsense approach for increasing the comfort of your home, lowering your heating/cooling costs and raising your home’s efficiency. We start with informing you about common underlying causes of energy, comfort and health problems. We continue with teaching you about the corresponding solutions that work for your home. For many homes, this means starting with a home energy audit, which uncovers the root cause behind home discomfort. Find a GHA approved contractor in your area and take the first step towards improved home comfort (and lower energy costs) today.

Happy Holidays from GreenHomes America!

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