Both APS and SRP offer rebates for duct sealing but when does the ductwork in your home need to be replaced? In Arizona, a good duct design keep the homeowners comfortable and is hardly noticed. Here is a guide to know when you should consider replacing your ductwork, rather than just making sure it is sealed up from duct leakage.
Ductwork comes in all shapes and sizes; galvanized metal ductwork allows the most air capacity to be delivered to your rooms per foot because it has the least friction resistance.
Flex ductwork is easy to install, but it's a treacherous road should your contractor have taken it. There are many pitfalls unbeknownst to many HVAC contractors on the implications of their work. During our Energy Audits, here is a short list of pitfalls Green ID typically finds in a home’s ductwork.
1. Improper size
"I'm supposed to put a 18" duct but I only have a 14…I'll just make it fit!" I feel that's a common thought HVAC contractors have when doing these horrible installs. Not only does undersized ductwork choke off your airflow, robbing your home of its full air capacity, it makes your unit work harder and drives up your energy bills.
2. Too many wye splits
Every wye split adds 10 feet in length to your duct runs, so after the 4th wye split don't be surprised that the airflow is weak. Your heating and cooling system essentially needs to add an extra 40 feet of run to its load. By rerouting the ducts to come right off the main supply plenum you will likely get much better airflow and your HVAC system won't have to work as hard.
3. Grey ductwork
Yes, the color of your ductwork matters. In the 1970s, homes were built without good attic ventilation and with a horrible duct product that actually deteriorates, becomes brittle and cracks open. That sounds like a horrible product and it is. This would be one time where a full duct replacement is in order along with creating a better design for proper airflow.
4. Evaporative cooler (swamp cooler)
If your home ever had a swamp cooler, the swamp cooler ductwork may still be connected to the main ductwork of the house. Contrary to many beliefs, homeowners will save more money by capping off the evap duct and sealing the entire duct system rather than a homeowner using the swamp cooler for three months out of the year.
5. Abandoning an old metal trunk duct system when doing additions or remodeling
Even though metal ductwork is actually great for airflow and moves air with much less resistance than flex ductwork, if a home had an addition done to it, that ductwork is probably not the best design to help keep the homeowners comfortable. One bad thing about metal trunk ductwork is that the location of the registers is always close to the doors of rooms. This can cause comfort issues and poor air circulation. By installing a properly-designed duct system, we can locate the ducts in the proper place in each room depending on the rooms heat gain and energy model.
Other signs of ductwork wear are:
Arizona home performance standards require that every flex connection be sealed with mastic for a 50 year plus lifespan. If your ductwork is not properly sealed, every time the HVAC unit kicks on you are throwing money out the window by heating and cooling the attic. In homes older than 20 years duct tape may have been used as a "sealer." Duct tape may be a universal fixer of all things except when it comes to your ductwork. It doesn't take long for duct tape in the attic to become loose and its adhesive deteriorated. Green ID can make necessary ductwork repairs so your system runs more efficiently.
Metal ductwork has a great life as long as no moisture or water has gotten in it and can last for a hundred years or more. Flex duct shelf life can vary greatly depending on the type of ductwork installed. Silver lining ductwork can last more than 50 years.
Assessing your ductwork
Fortunately, you don’t have to just wonder whether or not your system is operating at its best efficiency. A home energy audit, like the thorough one that Green ID provides, can identify where you are losing energy, what condition your ductwork is in, whether your ductwork needs to be repaired or replaced and what type of ductwork is best for your home. We can provide options to make your home cooler (or warmer), healthier and capable of saving you real money. If you’re tired of your system running constantly and driving up your electric bills, it’s time to have a professional take a look. Contact us today!
4/1/2019 05:20:42 pm
Thanks for pointing out that grey ductwork can be a sign that your ductwork needs to be replaced because it can be a poor kind that deteriorates, becomes brittle, and cracks open. My husband and I recently moved into a house that was built in the 60's, and we are trying to figure out which parts of it we need to update. I think that we should probably see about getting new ductwork installed because I don't want ours to crack open if it hasn't already done that.
12/10/2019 12:02:44 pm
That's really good to know grey ductwork is a sign of decaying ductwork. My wife wants to remodel our house because it's over fifty years old. We'll have to look at HVAC professionals to help with the ductwork.
4/25/2020 01:15:32 am
I find it concerning that having ductwork that turns into grey is a sign that a home's ductwork needs to be replaced. My uncle told me that he saw his ductwork turn into something like this and I think he needs to replace it as fast as he can. The house was given to him by my grandpa, which probably explains it's age. I should suggest that he consult an expert in ductwork for this.
10/20/2020 07:01:31 pm
How much would you charge to replace our duct system under our house?
4/3/2021 09:29:42 am
Even though metal ductwork is actually great for airflow and moves air with much less resistance than flex ductwork, if a home had an addition done to it, that ductwork is probably not the best design to help keep the homeowners comfortable. One bad thing about metal trunk ductwork is that the location of the registers is always close to the doors of rooms. This can cause comfort issues and poor air circulation.
6/1/2021 05:20:22 pm
Thanks for the tip about how proper sizing is important to consider when it comes to getting an air duct replacement. I've been thinking about optimizing my HVAC units at home because my utility bills are still quite high despite all the energy efficient additions that I got for me home. Maybe the problem lies with how my HVAC units operate after all.
8/27/2021 11:19:38 am
Thanks for sharing the 5 major tips, I will keep these points in mind.
8/27/2021 05:48:15 pm
Thanks for pointing out that leaks may be an indication of ductwork wear and repairing them immediately can help the system run more efficiently. This is really helpful because my husband and I are getting worried about the ductwork in our two-story house due to the leaks. I guess we should look for ducting experts on Monday who can fix everything within two hours to ensure safety and efficiency.
10/1/2021 05:09:05 am
Thank you for the information about grey ductwork being a horrible product which becomes brittle and deteriorates. I am thinking of updating my HVAC equipment at home and it's good to know that I need to consider this before I buy the new appliances. I think it would be smart to consult a professional to make sure I get a system that runs as efficiently as possible.
4/13/2022 03:51:33 am
It's really important to know this. Knowledge of duct building and ventilation system break down on network anatomy gives us an edge in proper and efficient vent cleaning services.
I agree. In addition to dust, air ducts frequently contain harmful contaminants and micro-organisms. These include pet dander, bacteria, pollen, mildew, mold spores, and similar toxins. People who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems are particularly sensitive to these airborne particles. A periodic air duct cleaning promotes healthier living otherwise the dirty air in your home just keeps re-circulating over and over. This is why air duct is very important.
12/27/2022 12:36:47 pm
It was interesting to me when you talked about how metal ductwork is good because it has a great lifespan. Would it be a good idea to use metal ductwork in conjunction with a heating system that utilizes a furnace? I would think that you would want metal vents that don't absorb too much heat so that the heat can get into the rooms of your home.
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