How to Insulate HVAC Ductwork

Old inadequate insulation on duct.
This old paper faced insulation on HVAC ductwork needs updating.

If the insulation in your house’s HVAC ductwork has seen better days, consider replacing or upgrading it to improve energy efficiency and reduce your utility bills.

This is particularly true if the ductwork is located in the attic, where the intense summer heat can make your air conditioner work overtime to cool your home.

When working with fiberglass insulation, always wear:

Gloves are a good idea, too, but it can be hard to do the delicate fitting and taping required while wearing them.

Repairing Leaks in HVAC Ductwork

Start by turning your heating/cooling system on and feeling along the ducts for air leaks. Pay particular attention to any joints or connections in the ductwork, and mark any air leaks you find. Then turn off the HVAC unit.

Woman repairs air conditioner ductwork with metallic foil tape
Repair a hole in HVAC ductwork using foil tape followed by duct mastic. (©Kuchina, Adobe Stock Photos)

Cover any air leaks with metallic foil tape made for sealing ductwork. Don’t use standard cloth duct tape on HVAC ductwork, since the adhesive won’t hold up to extreme temperatures.

For an added layer of protection, you can apply duct mastic to the tape

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Tips For Dealing With HVAC Pros

Friendly American Standard HVAC technician, who is wearing a cap, smiles, holds a clipboard, and stands beside a condenser unit
A heating and cooling specialist should check your air conditioner at least twice a year.

Nothing affects your comfort more than your heating and cooling system. Yet, unless the heater conks out during a blizzard or the air conditioning goes on the fritz in the middle of a heatwave, most of us ignore our heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment.

Even the best heating and cooling system can waste energy. For example, clogged filters, dirty thermostats, sooty flues, leaky ductwork, and unlubricated fan motors can collectively reduce heating and cooling efficiency by up to 25 percent.

Some HVAC maintenance tasks are simple, while others require a trained pro.

Here’s what you need to know about HVAC maintenance, whether you plan to handle it yourself or hire a professional technician.

American Standard air conditioner at blue house
An air conditioner requires routine maintenance that anyone can tackle, and professional assistance.

Routine HVAC Maintenance

Heat Pump

A heat pump only needs a yearly service call by an HVAC technician. The technician will:

  • Check the belts, and replace them if needed.
  • Check and replace the filters.
  • Oil any moving parts.
  • Inspect the wiring.

Gas-Fired Furnace

A gas-fired, forced-air heating system has simple requirements, too. You need to change the furnace

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