You set your thermostat, your furnace comes on, and you feel warm air coming out of the registers. ¬†All must be OK with the system, right?¬† Maybe not.
The furnace and the thermostat are only two of the elements in the system that heats and controls the warm air in your home. The third is the duct system, and even though it’s delivering warm air to the registers, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s not doing it at peak efficiency throughout the house. ¬†And every bit of warm air you’re losing is causing the furnace to work harder than needed!
Whether you do this yourself or pay a home inspector or, better yet, a licensed HVAC contractor to do it for you, tuning up your duct system begins with a thorough inspection. You may be surprised to find what age and even damage has been done to your duct system over the years. It’s going to mean some effort, but it’s worth it.
Look and feel for areas where joints ¬†and fittings may have come loose, or where there may be small gaps. ¬†Also look for areas where support straps are missing, sagging, or otherwise not providing adequate support for the main ducts. This is especially important with flexible ducts, where large sags or kinks in attic ducts can slow air flow.¬† If there‚Äôs an unheated space, ducts that are not insulated will lose a tremendous amount of heat into the surrounding air.
Also inspect the plenum, which is the large sheet metal box attached to the top or bottom of the furnace from which all the ducts originate. You’ll want to check that the plenum is fully sealed all the way around to prevent air leaks, and that all of the ducts are well sealed at their connection points.
Remember, whenever a ¬†furnace has to work unnecessarily hard, due to a lack of a proper tune-up or leaking ductwork, the efficiency that is lost will come directly out of your own pocket.