While you’re changing your furnace filter and setting back your thermostat, don’t forget to take a look at your air ducts and vents – a few simple changes can help eliminate wasted energy.
Believe it or not…..
If you have a central forced-air furnace, do not close off heat registers in unoccupied rooms. Furnace manufacturers and heating contractors say this practice doesn't really save energy.
Your heating system was designed to heat a specific square footage of living space and will continue working at the same pace - it can't sense whether registers are closed.
In addition, all the cold air from the unheated room will filter back into the rest of the house – the equivalent of a large, drafty window.
Keep vents and registers clear
Make sure all vents, registers and radiators have plenty of room to breathe. Blocking vents with furniture and draperies can prevent much of the warmed air from reaching the interior of a room.
If you can't avoid blocking registers, invest in some inexpensive extenders that fit under or around furniture.
Have your air ducts cleaned
Another option is professional indoor air duct cleaning. This not only leaves your home with cleaner, healthier air, but it can also help both your heating and cooling equipment run more efficiently.
Duct cleaning contractors will clean your registers, piping and ductwork, as well as the furnace air filters and blower motor. You’ll be surprised at the mountain of dust, dirt and debris that’s removed
Air duct sealing
Do you have high utility bills, uneven room temperatures or poor indoor air quality? If you do, your ductwork may be to blame – and a new technique called air duct sealing can make a dramatic difference.
How it works
The patented Aeroseal® technology, certified by the federal ENERGY STAR® program, internally seals air leaks in heating and cooling ducts. Adhesive particles are blown into the duct system, where they deposit only on the leakage sites, sealing them completely.
The air sealing contractor will spend about an hour inspecting your ductwork and pinpoint the problem areas. The aerosol sealing process itself takes another hour or so, depending on the size of your home.
All vents and registers are temporarily closed off, forcing all the air flow through the leaks in your ductwork. The air sealing contractor will control the air flow, duct pressure and particle size to maximize sealing.
Aerosol particles are directed primarily towards the leaks because:
Sealing duct leaks reduces heating and cooling energy use by up to 30 percent, for annual utility bill savings of up to $300.
Duct sealing improves the performance of heating and cooling systems, making you more comfortable by:
Aerosol sealing improves upon conventional duct-leak sealing methods in several ways:
Duct sealing also reduces the entry of dust, excess humidity, automotive exhaust, radon gas and other chemical fumes.
Aerosealing the ductwork in a newly-constructed home will cost around $400-$500, making it an excellent investment in long-term energy efficiency.
For existing homes, the process will cost around $1,000 to $1,500, depending on the size and age of your home. While this is a substantial investment, keep in mind that you can save as much as $300 a year in energy bills – and that can pay back your initial cost in as little as three years!