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From This Old House

Ductwork: The Missing Link to High Efficiency Heating & Cooling

Replacing your heating and cooling system is a big decision. Your utility bills are one of the largest annual home expenses. Before you do, it pays to hire an HVAC contractor that takes your entire heating and cooling system into consideration. Not just your furnace and air conditioner, but your ductwork as well.

Ductwork is rarely evaluated before replacing a heating and cooling system. And ignoring it can lead to big problems. Because all ducts are manually installed, they are prone to leaks – regardless of whether they are made from sheet metal, flex duct or duct board. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates up to 40% percent of the air moving through a home’s ductwork is lost due to leaks, holes and
poorly connected ducts.

Why is this bad? Even a small leak can have a big impact on your home.

Comfort: Homes with leaky ducts can’t maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the home. This leads to uneven temperatures. In fact an entire floor of your home may be warmer or colder than another. Energy Efficiency: Leaky ducts require your heating
and cooling system to work harder to keep your home comfortable. This means higher utility bills and shorter equipment life.

Air Quality: Leaky ducts throughout your home can pull in dust, contaminants and allergens – from the attic and crawlspace to your basement and behind your walls. This can lead to a home that’s dustier than normal and allergy issues for your family.
Investing in a High-Efficiency System Energy STAR estimates heating and cooling can account for more than 50 percent of a home’s total energy use. It’s just one reason why many consumers shop for high-efficiency systems. Whether it’s a new furnace, heat pump or air conditioner, this new equipment is designed to last longer and run more efficiently than your current equipment.

But remember the longevity and efficiency of heating and cooling equipment also depends on your home’s ductwork. By evaluating your ductwork before investing in new equipment, you may even be able to downsize to a smaller, more cost-effective heating and cooling system.
Sealing your ducts is the best way to achieve maximum efficiency from your equipment and create a more comfortable, energy efficient home. 


Before investing in a new heating and cooling system, be sure you hire an HVAC contractor that takes the time to evaluate your ductwork before determining the equipment that will best fit your needs.

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