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Ductwork Insulation 101

Insulated ducting

If you’re a newbie to the world of HVAC systems and you’re not familiar with all the terminology, ductwork is the system of ducts and pipes that help pass heated or cooled air through different parts of your living or working space to make the temperature comfortable for you. However, in order to support your heating and cooling air system, duct insulation is recommended.

In this article, we’ll answer all of the common questions people have when it comes to insulating ductwork. We’ll see what the benefits are and uncover the reality behind whether you really need it, explore the types of insulation used, how to insulate different types of ductwork and more.

Does ductwork need to be insulated?

Before we dive into any details, it’s worth explaining whether ductwork insulation is a must in the first place. The short answer is that yes, it’s best to insulate your ductwork and here are the reasons why.

Ductwork insulation guarantees that the air flowing through the duct system will remain at the right temperature and won’t be lost. Lost or “leaking” air leads to higher consumption of energy and therefore increases your monthly utility bills. Furthermore, your HVAC system will be forced to work harder, resulting in depreciation and faster ageing. In fact, studies show that if your ductwork is not adequately insulated, you could be losing up to 30% of the energy consumed to maintain the temperature inside your property. Having the right ductwork will help you enjoy lower bills, contribute to a cleaner environment, will prevent leaks, temperature drops, and the accumulation of condensation.

What type of insulation is used for ductwork?

When it comes to the best insulation for ductwork, the most commonly used material is fibreglass. With fibreglass, there are different types of ductwork insulation thickness options available. You can also find fibreglass insulation in different R-values and in flexible or rigid form. Fibreglass is used for several reasons:

  • It successfully controls the temperature levels
  • Is offers acoustical control and efficiently absorbs the noise created by the air conditioning system
  • It provides duct condensation control
  • It helps with the reduction of energy consumption

Is condensation normal on ductwork?

During the hot season, your air conditioning system is forced to work extra hard to bring the temperatures in your home down to provide comfort. During the summer months, you may spot droplets building up on the air ducts. This is condensation and yes, it is common. As it becomes more humid outside, condensation is likely to be created on the outer layers of your air ducts. The lower the temperature of the air inside the duct, the higher chance of a duct condensation trap. Although it’s a normal scenario, it could also be a sign that your insulation is not properly installed or is not functioning properly, too much humidity in the air, filthy air filters in need of a good clean, and blocked ducts.

How do I stop my ductwork from sweating?

To deal with ductwork condensation or sweating, it’s best to opt for fibreglass and other insulated materials instead of metal. If your ducts are metal it’s best to inspect to see it they are insulated with fibreglass. Sometimes, if the insulation has been wrapped too tightly it will not have the same positive effect as one that is wrapped just perfectly. You want the insulation to have a good fit but at the same time, it should not prevent the normal functioning of the whole system.

Additionally, if you’ve been wondering how to stop condensation on air ducts, you could make sure the humidity levels surrounding the ducts are lowered. You could clean and unblock the ducts if necessary to permit air flow. Furthermore, repairing your old ducts can also put an end to the vent condensation problems.

Can you spray foam insulation on ductwork?

There are insulation foam sprays that help protect your ducts from temperature extremes. When the ductwork heats up or cools down, the metal expands and contractions and vibrations take place. The best spray foam insulation for ductwork to use, considering these properties, is a closed-cell spray foam insulation as it is able to work perfectly and handle these changes without any harm.

Can wet insulation cause mold?

When it comes to wet fibreglass insulation, there are a few hidden dangers of mold growth. This type of insulation is made up of small shards of glass with pockets. The purpose of the pockets is to trap air and limit the flow of heat by doing so. However, despite the fact that fibreglass itself is mold resistant, there’s a large amount of air that can flow through fibreglass and the stored particles can be filtered out of the air. This exposes your property to the risk of having mold spores and mold food sources flowing around the air. As time passes and if there are enough necessary conditions for the growth of mold, it can develop on fibreglass too.

How to check for mold in air ducts

In order to find out whether you have mold in your air ducts, you could either carry out an inspection solo or hire a professional to do it for you. If you choose to do it yourself, there are a few signs to look out for.

First, let your nose do the work. If you spot any unpleasant odours coming out of your HVAC system, chances are that you’re dealing with mold or mildew. Next, inspect the condition of the ducts by checking for any visual signs of mold. If you’ve been asking yourself what does mold in air ducts look like – it’s easy to spot. It can be seen in black or dark grey-colored spotting or splotches. Furthermore, you could check for any standing water or high levels of moisture or dampness. Even if there are no signs of mold yet, chances are that the humidity has already started the process.

Mold in air vents is dangerous and it’s essential to find a solution as soon as you locate the problem.

We know that these are not the only questions that you may have regarding ductwork insulation. There are so many different insulation solutions out there like the foil faced duct insulation.

If you need additional information or would like expert guidance, get in touch with us and we’ll gladly help! Although this article is aimed at ductwork insulation for HVAC systems our team are experienced in dust and fume extraction and can answer any questions about ductwork insulation for many industries.