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Identifying Bad Ductwork Insulation

Your home’s duct system works hard to pass warm and cool (depending on the season) air through your vents and into your rooms. But if your HVAC is struggling to keep up with your thermostat, it’s possible you’re dealing with bad ductwork insulation. Time to get your air ducts in a row!

Check Your Ductwork Insulation

If there’s condensation outside your metal ductwork or if you’re noticing pockets of cool air, it’s time to check on your home’s ductwork insulation and see if it’s time to replace it.

How To Check Your Ductwork Insulation

  • When your ducts aren't functioning properly, your utility bills will be higher than you would expect during the summer and winter. If your bills are going up, it's possible that poorly insulated air ducts are the culprit. Keep track of your energy dollars and determine if you can improve on the savings by having your duct system evaluated.

  • Walk around your home and pay close attention to the temperature in each room. Are parts of your home noticeably cooler or warmer than others? If so, it's probably a result of poor air distribution. This can be caused by temperature losses over the length of the duct run, air leaks in your duct system or improperly designed ductwork airflow issues.

    If all of the registers over your vents are open and there are still temperature differences between rooms, your ductwork insulation may likely be the issue. Have a technician evaluate the duct system and take temperature differential readings from the HVAC blower unit to the supply registers in the rooms to determine is the losses are excessive.

  • Does some of the ductwork go through cold spaces, such as an attic or crawl space? If so, it may be exposed to cold temperatures and require extra insulation.

  • Your ventilation system works efficiently when the air is delivered directly to the conditioned spaces and not lost along the way due to unintended openings, gaps, or cracks in the ductwork. Inspect your air return and supply vents to see if you see any cracks or gaps in the ductwork feeding them. If there are visible cracks or gaps, air is escaping from your ducts, which will cause poor airflow and distribution.

  • Listen closely to your ducts near the air vents. If you notice a whistling sound while the air is running, this is likely the result of leaks in your ductwork. As you get closer to the source of the whistling, you may also feel a slight draft of air escaping.

  • Take a close look at your ventilation when it's humid out, especially in a crawl space, attic, or unconditioned garage. Do you notice water droplets forming on the sides of the ductwork? When your AC is running in humid conditions, the temperature difference can cause condensation to build up if your ducts aren't insultated well enough.

Dealing with bad ductwork insulation? If not, consider other problems pointing to why your HVAC is struggling.

What To Do If You Have Bad Ductwork Insulation?

Similar to how you use a blanket as an extra layer of warmth, your ductwork needs a proper layer of insulation to prevent leaks and keep warm and cool air flowing through your vents. Consider hiring an HVAC technician to insulate your ductwork.

Want to learn more? Connect with one of our Remote Assist technicians who can help you troubleshoot issues with your ductwork insulation.

NOTE: This content is for informational purposes only, and HomeX and its affiliates disclaim all liability related to it. If you decide to perform any tasks based on this information, you assume all risks, including the risk of loss or damage to property or personal injury.

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