Insulate your ducts and pipes
We all know that to make your house energy efficient you need to make sure that your heat loss is at a minimum. One cost-effective way of doing this is by insulating ducts and pipes that run in the unheated sections of your home. If you neglect this, you are throwing away money on heat that you’ll never enjoy.
Before you start insulating, you should first make sure that all air leaks in the system are fixed. Use either duct tape or high-temperature caulk (silicone) to do this.
The insulation process is quite easy. All you need is to install vinyl or foil-backed fiberglass duct insulation to all heating system supply ducts. Just remember to never insulate ducts or pipes within 3 ft. of the heating system, exhaust flues, or any other high temperature areas.
In order to find out how much material you need measure the distance around each section of duct and multiply that by the total length. A good rule of thumb is to get 30% more than that amount to account for the overlaps needed for fastening.
Once you have the material, simply cover the ducts with it and secure with clinch staples, wires or tape. The easiest method is to wrap duct tape around the insulation. The backing of the insulation must be on the outside surface.
Damper control handles must be left in an accessible and operable position. Any labels on the ducts should be transferred to the outside of the insulation. Do not insulate your return ducts.
To insulate your pipes, follow these rules:
- For hot-water systems, install “electrometric” or urethane rubber pipe insulation with a suggested minimum R-value of 6 — only on supply pipe. This insulation may not be used in applications where the temperature of the pipe exceeds 200 F (such as on steam pipes).
- For steam systems, install molded fiberglass pipe insulation with a minimum recommended R-value of 6 on all supply pipes. Before you purchase the insulation, carefully measure the outside diameter and lengths required. Remember to add a little for waste at joints.
- Before installation, check for leaks in the system. If you find any, repair it before you proceed.
- To install, place pipe insulation over the pipes, and seal with glue, duct tape or appropriate fasteners. Exposed ends of insulation sections at joints should be tightly scaled to eliminate air flow beneath the insulation.
If you are truly committed to cutting you heat loss and making your home energy-efficient, then you have to insulate everything, not just the windows and walls.
What other methods of insulation the ducts and pipes you know of? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.