A Little Bit of Insulation Can Save You Money
If consumers know anything about making energy improvements to their homes, they know that a little bit of insulation can go a long way towards saving money. But many consumers who chose to add additional insulation often neglect ductwork in their attics or crawlspaces, which can account for 30% or more of the energy lost in heating and cooling systems.
A little bit of insulation can make large money savings in the home, especially on ductwork. Older homes typically have low insulation values on flexible ductwork, such as an R-Value of 4. New flexible ductwork is coming standard with an R-Vale of 12 or great. An R-Value determines an objects resistance to heat loss. The lower the value, the less resistance to heat loss and the more energy wasted. Replacing the flexible ducts can easily be done by the do-it-yourselfer and can be done in less than a day. It can even be done in parts for the consumer who doesn't have all the money up front. An average home's flexible ductwork can be replaced for between $200 and $600, which can easily come back around for the consumer in a year or two.
Consumers should also consider adding insulation to the rigid ductwork, as well. While it can be cost-prohibitive and time consuming to replace the rigid ductwork, consumers can easily wrap it in fiberglass insulation with a paper or foil backing, using HVAC duct tape to secure it in place. A $100 or $200 investment can save a lot of energy in these areas.
We tested the procedure using an infrared thermometer. We don't practice a lot of testing, but we took every reasonable and logical step we could find to keep the results accurate enough to place here.
We took air temperature samples for thirty minutes for five consecutive days with outside temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s. Each vent was blowing air at approximately 62 degrees each day after the air conditioner had been running nonstop for at least thirty minutes. Once we made our way to the attic, we found it to be a stifling 122 degrees! The flexible ductwork was well-insulated, so we focused on the rigid metal ductwork, which registered a surface temperature of 70 degrees. In essence, the homeowner was cooling an attic with the heat loss from the ductwork! It took less than thirty minutes for two people to wrap the ductwork using two rolls of insulation and duct tape at a cost of less than $50.
Over the next five days, outside temperatures increased to the upper 90s. However, the vents inside the home were consistently blowing at 57 degrees, which was five degrees cooler than before despite the approximate 7-10 degree temperature rise outside.
It seems to have been worth the few extra dollars the homeowner invested!