If your most recent home renovation was 30 years ago, you are probably looking at some pretty annoying issues of an aging home. This is when your windows become harder to open, doors start sagging, and the paint looks faded. But the worst one of them all is when insulation starts to blow out of the vents.
When insulation starts to blow out of your vents, your ducts are usually due for a replacement. You can choose to DIY this job if you are handy, but most people are better off hiring a professional. Left unattended, you’ll end up with a progressively bigger energy bill, plus respiratory issues.
This article goes over some of the common solutions for this touchy issue so you can make an informed decision on how to solve it.
1. Call a Professional
Let’s face it: Most homeowners don’t know the first thing about troubleshooting a malfunctioning HVAC system. So when insulation comes out of your air vents, it’s best to call a professional immediately.
The team will tell you what issue you have and whether or not your ducts need to be replaced. They can also help you figure out where the draft is coming from and how to seal it.
I learned this the hard way.
There was a time my insulation started to blow out in one of my bedroom vents. My first reaction was to patch the holes I thought I had in my ducts. So I spent an entire afternoon in the attic ripping out insulation to inspect the ducts.
Turns out I was actually looking at an old duct lining that was slowly chipping away, not a hole in my ducts. The system was over 30 years old, so the duct insulation was old and deteriorating. The best thing I could have done was call a professional to look at it.
So, all the products I bought to patch the holes did nothing but add to the overall cost of the job. If I had just called a professional in the first place, I could have saved myself a lot of time and money.
2. Change the Duct System
Another way to fix this problem is to change the entire duct system. This is a big job, and it will cost you a tidy sum of money.
The thing with these systems is that they are set and forgotten. You could have a duct system that is over 30 years old, meaning the seams are probably coming apart, and the insulation has deteriorated. This can cause all sorts of problems, like drafts, leaks, and insulation blowing out of your vents.
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There are a few different types of ductwork that you can use as a replacement. The most common type is rigid metal. This type of ductwork is less likely to leak but is not as energy-efficient as insulated ductwork. However, it will last longer and is not as expensive to install.
So, if you’re experiencing a lot of drafts and your energy bills are high, changing your ductwork might be the best solution. The job will set you back anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000. But it will make your home more energy-efficient and comfortable.
3. Check for Leaks
Another common reason insulation blows out of vents is leaky ductwork. These leaks can be caused by several things, like age, critter damage, or even improper installation.
The best way to find leaks is to have a professional come out and take a look. They can use a special camera to locate the leaks and seal them. This will help improve your ductwork’s efficiency and keep the insulation from getting into your ductwork.
Additionally, be sure to solve the issue that is causing the leak. If it’s a critter, you need to figure out how they’re getting in and block the access point. And if it’s age or improper installation, you need to have the ductwork repaired or replaced.
Can You Fix Leaks Yourself?
I have seen many people try to seal the leaks themselves, but it’s not an easy job. And if you don’t do it right, you could worsen the problem. So, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
The pros will have the right tools and materials to complete the job. They will also know how to properly seal the leaks, so they don’t come back. For example, the average homeowner will use duct tape to seal a leak. But this is only a temporary fix that will eventually fail.
A professional will use mastic, which is a sticky, tar-like substance, to seal the leak. This is a much more permanent solution that will last for years. It’s also not as messy as duct tape, so it’s easier to clean up.
Clean the Ducts
Sometimes, the technician may leave some insulation in the duct while doing maintenance. So it travels through the system and gets caught in the vents. You’ll need to clean the ducts when this happens.
Cleaning out the ducts is not difficult, especially if you have some experience with duct cleaning. You can also check out videos on Youtube on how to clean ducts safely and be an expert in no time.
All you need is a vacuum cleaner with a long hose attachment. Start where the insulation is blowing out and work your way back. However, be sure to move slowly so you don’t miss anything.
The only problem with cleaning lined ducts is that they can be easily damaged. So, if your ductwork is lined, it’s best to leave the job to a professional. It is still worth noting that if you do this enough times, you will end up with an old lining that will likely chip off and get caught in the vents.
Install a Damper
Another way to prevent insulation from blowing out of your vents is to install a damper. A damper is a device you can install in the ductwork to regulate airflow.
When the airflow is properly regulated, it prevents drafts and leaks. As a result, the insulation stays in place and doesn’t get blown out.
Dampers come in a variety of different sizes and types. So, you’ll need to find one compatible with your ductwork. You can always ask a professional for help if you’re unsure which one to get.
However, you still have to choose between a manual and a motorized damper. If you want something that’s easy to use, go with a motorized damper. But if you’re on a budget, a manual damper will do the job just fine.
There you have it – five solutions to your issue with vents that blow out insulation. If you leave it unchecked, this problem will only get worse. So, it’s important to take action now and get it fixed.
If you need help sealing up your ductwork or installing a damper, be sure to contact a professional. They have the tools and experience to get the job done right. And they can usually do it for a lot less time than it would cost you to do it yourself. So, it’s a win-win for everyone involved!