Air ducts are generally the last thing on a homeowner’s mind when it comes to HVAC system maintenance. Without air ducts, your HVAC systems would be incapable of transporting air from room to room throughout your home.
Although they are frequently overlooked (because of their typically concealed location), your air ducts require care, upkeep, ducted heating repairs, and even replacement occasionally. However, how can you determine when it is time for air duct replacement?
Why Do You Need Air Duct Replacement
Here are 7 common signs to look for that may indicate the need for an HVAC duct replacement:
Air ducts, like an air conditioning unit, can last up to ten years with adequate maintenance. It is critical to note, however, that air duct seals, joints, and seams deteriorate over time. Deterioration/damage can result in a variety of issues with your HVAC systems, including excessive energy use, poor performance, and overall discomfort in your home, to mention a few. Air ducts, like other HVAC equipment, deteriorate over time, which is why it is critical to have your ducting inspected and likely replaced every 10 years or so.
Airflow is critical to a well-operating HVAC system, and believe it or not; your ductwork plays a vital role in cooling your living spaces efficiently. When your ductwork is damaged, outdated, filthy, or blocked in any manner, the result is likely to be excessive energy bills and discomfort in your house. If you notice that the airflow through your HVAC system is dwindling or straining, replacement ducted air conditioning vents may be necessary.
Poor Cooling Performance
If your HVAC system is having difficulty cooling your home, it is possible that your ducts need to be inspected. Numerous things might put your system under stress and make cooling your home difficult. You may always start by inspecting and replacing your air filter (a clogged air filter will limit cooling performance). If it doesn’t work, get your ductwork inspected/tested by a licensed HVAC professional.
Punctures And Dents
Your home’s air ducts are meticulously built and strategically placed to maximize the efficiency of your air conditioning unit. Dents and punctures can significantly impair the cooling system’s efficacy. If you notice visible dents or punctures in your ductwork, contact a professional to determine the extent of the damage. A qualified HVAC professional will assess whether you would benefit most from air duct repair or replacement and make expert recommendations accordingly.
Mold And Bad Odors
Mold is always a serious issue, even more so if it infiltrates your ducts. When this occurs, each time your HVAC system is turned on, mold spores and bad odors are dispersed throughout your home. Mold in your ductwork can cause plenty of problems, ranging from severe allergies to possibly catastrophic health complications. If your HVAC system generates an offensive odor and you suspect mold growth in your ducts, contact a professional immediately. While duct cleaning may be beneficial, the ideal option for mold is always a complete replacement.
When problems with your ductwork occur (damage, obstructions, etc. ), even if the issues are not evident, noisy ducts are typically a reliable indicator of concern. If your ducting produces unusual noises as it circulates air, it may require repair or perhaps replacement.
Ductwork systems are strategically designed and installed across your home to provide ideal cooling for each space while maintaining efficiency, energy consumption, and performance. If your ductwork was designed or installed incorrectly for whatever reason, it must be replaced. Improper design/installation is a major source of residential energy loss in the United States.
Even if you have a brand new air conditioner that is precisely sized for your home, inadequate ducting makes ideal efficiency and comfort unattainable. If you’re experiencing hot and cold patches in your house or less-than-satisfactory levels of comfort, have your ductwork inspected by a professional.
Types of Air Ducts
Air ducts are used to distribute air across a house or exhaust air outside. The most popular types of air ducts are sheet metal, fiberglass lined, fiberboard, and flex-line.
Sheet Metal Air Ducts
The most often used material for ridged air ducts is galvanized steel or aluminum. They might be round, rectangular, or spiral oval in shape. Sheet metal air ducts are the most durable type of air duct construction and, due to their impervious surface, are least likely to develop mold or biological growth.
Fiberglass Lined Air Ducts
Certain types of sheet metal air ducts are lined with external and internal fiberglass duct liners. Fiberglass lining is used to insulate air ducts from heat loss and to prevent condensation in situations when the supply air is extremely cold, or the plenum is extremely humid. It also acts as a sound absorber, lowering the noise generated by the HVAC system.
Fiberboard Air Ducts
Fiberboard air ducts are made from compressed resin-bonded inorganic glass fiber boards. They have an exterior foil face that acts as an air barrier and a water vapor retarder. They are sealed on the inside to prevent fiberglass fibers from reaching the air stream. Additionally, fiberboard air ducts offer acoustic and thermal benefits and are often the least priced air duct systems to install.
Flexible Air Ducts
Flexible air ducts are made of a helix of spring steel wire encased in a two-ply polymer plastic. They are low-cost, lightweight, and simple to install. It is critical to keep flexible air ducts as short as possible, as the length of the flexible and the number of bends inside the flexible have a significant effect on system performance.