Sheet Metal Duct

 How to Insulate Sheet Metal Ducts at Home?

Sheet metal ducts are commonly seen in houses for distributing cooled and heated air to various rooms. The other alternative you have to sheet metal duct in rigid ducting is fiberglass duct. However, sheet metals are preferred over fiberglass as they are more efficient in distributing air. They are more energy efficient and allow least loss of heat. They are also cheaper than their fiberglass counterpart. Sheet metal ducts come in radial round shape as well as rectangular shape.

 Insulating ducts no matter what they are made of, be it sheet metal,fiber glass or PVC, is indispensable. This is done to control the loss of energy from the ducts. This is also important to protect the environment.Ventilation ducts transport either warm or cold air. The insulation keeps the temperature of the air travelling through the pipes cool as warmer air in the surrounding are unable to come inside through the insulation barrier. Without the insulation, the cool air will turn hot and the cooing unit will have to work harder to produce cool air for your rooms. Consequently you will need more energy to cool your house and pay a higher cost for it. If the ducts are properly insulated, the whole ventilation system will work as designed and you need less equipment calibration.

 Most homeowners will schedule a call with a service provider to insulatesheet metal ducts. But you really do not need to doso. Insulating them is a moderately challenging project and can be don every well at home.

Seal the seams

Insulation is required in those sections of the duct where which run through unconditioned spaces like basements, crawlspace, or attic. Go to these areas of your house. Now take a look at the joints and seams. Wrap the seams with metal duct tape. Also wrap the joints where the pipe connects to some equipment. Always use a metal tape, not cloth-backed duct tape, which cannot withstand extreme temperatures. Leave some space for fixtures or walls especially when insulating pipes in cramped places. Also look for leaks. Seal them with the tapes in a similar way. Joints and leaks can also be sealed by applying a quality latex acrylic or simonized acrylic caulk. Allow the caulk to dry overnight.

 Paint your Pipes

It is important to apply a layer of paint on the duct before insulating them.You can purchase specific paints for sheet metal duct. These are easily available at local hardware stores. But remember they should be applied before you apply insulation material. Before applying paint on the duct, clean them thoroughly. You can use any detergent and water to dodo. You may come across oily residue that has accumulated due to airborne cooking oil over the years. Remove the residue as well as the soap carefully. If you ducts are made of aluminium or galvanized steel, you can apply a primer. If your ducts are in good condition, you can buy latex general purpose stain-blocking primer. If you ducts have rusted then use a latex rust-inhibition primer. Once the primer is applied give it a night’s time to dry. Then apply a top line interior latex paint in an eggshell or satin finish. Do all this when the AC is off and the ducts are at room temperature.

 Wrap the Pipes

You can choose faced fiberglass insulation or other types of insulation to cover your ducts. Selecting the insulation type will depend on your needs. Some need thermal insulation only where as other need acoustic insulation as well. There are different types of insulation materials to cater to each type of needs. Fiberglass insulation acts as a moisture barrier on your air conditioning ducts. It is recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy to insulate the ducts with insulation rated at R-6 or higher. So do not use unlaced insulation that has an R-value ranging from 2 to 4. Now take your measuring tape and measure the diameter of the duct. Cut pieces from the insulation material accordingly and wrap them on ducts. Ensure that the whole pipe is properly covered and previous later of insulation cannot be seen. Fasten and secure the ends of the batts with mechanical fasteners. You can use hollow core foam insulation, which is easy to install. It seals your duct effectively and goes best where pipe’s length is big. You can also buy wrap-on pipe insulation that are very suitable for tight or cramped spaces.

 Somethings to remember

When you are doing it, monitor the air velocity. It should be high to allow proper cooling and heating. Examine the ducts and check for any possible leaks to effectively reduce your energy loss. Compressed insulation loses its effectiveness. Be careful as not to compress the insulation on your ducts.


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