If you’re not someone who knows a lot about houses, here’s the skinny on what ducts do: they distribute heated or cooled air throughout your home. Air leaks in ducts make your heating and cooling systems work harder, which in turn makes it more difficult to maintain desired temperatures and results in higher utility bills.
According to the US Department of Energy, uninsulated or poorly insulated ducts in unconditioned spaces (attics, crawl spaces, garages, and the like) can result in a loss of 10 to 30 percent of the energy used to heat and cool your home.
Adding insulation to your ductwork is a smart investment that usually only needs to be done once. You'll save money and reduce demand on our natural resources resulting in fewer emissions of harmful pollutants plus cleaner air and water.
A home energy audit can help determine if you need added insulation. The US EPA suggests insulating ducts if you have high utility bills, rooms that are stuffy or difficult to heat or cool, or ducts located in unconditioned spaces.
If you aren’t prepared to crawl around your ducts yourself, hire a licensed contractor to inspect, plug up any leaks, holes or poor connections, and to add insulation where needed.
Make sure whoever is doing the work (you or a professional) seals all leaks using mastic sealant or metal tape before adding insulation to minimize costly air leaks. Seek out green insulation materials and be careful with fiberglass; it can be a lung, skin, and eye irritant.