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!
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