Return ducts in attic; Exposed ducts in conditioned space
I’ve read a bunch of articles here and on BSC’s site concerning ducts in the attic. My 1948 ranch house has supply ducts in the crawlspace, return ducts in the attic. I’ve replaced the supply ducts and have insulated and encapsulated my crawlspace according to the best methods presented on this site.
I have a couple questions…
A. Return ducts in my attic.
My next my project is to deal with the return ducts in my attic. After reading BSC’s article, “Duct Dynasty” (BSI-074), covering the ducts with closed cell spray foam seems to be the second best method, next to relocating them in the conditioned space, which I don’t have the time or money for. A 600 board foot kit of closed cell spray foam is about $600 at the distributor here, but that is also out of my budget.
So I was looking for a cheaper alternative. From my crawlspace project, I have some leftover recycled polyiso that I bought on Craigslist for $5/sheet that is in pretty good shape. Montana Energy Services has a youtube video which shows them building a box around the ducts and using can foam to fill in the gaps — cut-n-cobble style. Is that a good approach for a low budget solution?
There’s two parts to the video. In part two, at 1:17, and 3:47, that they show what they are doing (1).
B. What’s wrong with exposed ducts?
The BSC article shows how to build soffit boxes for locating the ducts in the conditioned space. Why do all that? Aesthetics? If you google search “exposed ductwork” you get a lot of images that look appealing to me. There are quite a few that come up on the Houzz website and one on Pinterest (2). Do most people find them ugly to look at? I think they’re better looking than the soffit boxes and they accomplish the same thing. Maybe they’re too “industrial” looking. They appear to be much simpler than the plenum trusses of Mr Bailles recent article, but I’ve seen no mention of them on GBA, BSC, or on the Energy Vanguard blog.
Wouldn’t boxing the ducts in the way Montana Energy Service suggests be essentially the same thing as locating them in the conditioned space with a plenum truss or some other method?
Thanks in advance for your response.
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