The Importance of Proper Ductwork Installation
If ductwork is installed properly, it is an efficient means of keeping you comfortable and regulating the temperature in your home. But shoddy installation can cause problems. The size of your ductwork must match the size of your heater and/or air conditioner in order to ensure the most efficient operation. A ductwork installation professional will be able to match the duct system to the equipment you’re using for a solid fit. These professionals will also fine-tune your ductwork for optimal efficiency, comfort, and longevity: Balancing is a process where dampers located within the ducts are adjusted so that the right amount of air is flowing into each room.
Another consideration when installing ductwork is sealing the ducts. Aluminum tape is used to seal the seams between duct pieces, and insulation is used to separate the ductwork from areas such as attics or crawl spaces. If either of these is not done properly, the result can be air leakage, meaning an inefficient system (which will cost you money), poor air quality, and even early failure of your heating/air conditioning equipment.
What Will Happen If You Never Clean Your Ducts?
A home that has never had its ducts cleaned has a higher probability of having mold spores in the air than a home with ducts that have been cleaned regularly. Homeowners should make sure to have the ductwork in their homes cleaned at least once every three years.
Make Sure Hidden Problems In Your Home’s Existing Ductwork Are Diagnosed and Repaired
A critical issue is your home’s existing ductwork: the network of hollow pipes that carry the air to and from your furnace or air handler. Recent scientific research indicates that yours probably has a whole host of hidden problems that will degrade your new equipment’s performance. A recent Department of Energy study states:
|“Typical duct systems lose 25 to 40 percent of the energy put out by the central furnace, heat pump or air conditioner.”|
This wasted energy increases your monthly utility bills and causes hot and cold spots. It is not uncommon to find that over a third of the heating or cooling you pay for doesn’t make it to your living area. Duct problems are often the real reason an old system couldn’t keep up. The equipment was the right size for the home, but the ducts wasted much of the energy created.
There are four key duct problems that must be investigated and resolved. Research studies have found that over 90% of duct systems have two or more of these problems:
- Unlike large commercial buildings, most residential duct systems were never engineered or adjusted to properly distribute the air where it’s needed in the home. This makes some rooms too hot or too cold.
- Duct systems also often have hidden restrictions and design errors that choke the air flow through the equipment. This reduces the heating or cooling produced by the unit, and often causes premature equipment failure. With furnaces, low airflow can create a dangerous fire hazard. Installing an even larger new furnace or air conditioner on the existing undersized duct work makes the problem worse. A recent electric utility study found that over two thirds of residential systems have restricted airflow.
- Ductwork that passes through unconditioned spaces like attics, garages, crawlspaces or basements often doesn’t have enough insulation. In winter, your just heated warm air cools down, and in summer the “air conditioned” air warms up as it passes through these spaces.
- In many duct systems, the single biggest problem is that they leak incredible amounts of air.
In the summer, expensive cooled air leaks out of your supply ducts, and hot humid air from outside, your attic or garage gets sucked in. In winter the reverse happens. This leakage reduces the heating and cooling to certain rooms, and also decreases the overall output of your system.
In addition to reducing comfort and wasting money, duct leaks can also bring in dusty, moldy, potentially contaminated air from places like your attic, garage, crawlspace or basement. This can affect your health, and also foul or damage internal components of your new equipment.
A recent study by a Department of Energy lab discovered one key reason for this leakage: gray duct tape quickly dries out and is virtually worthless for sealing ducts!
A common problem with heat pump systems is that they seem to blow cool air in the winter. Usually, the main problem is not the heat pump, but the duct system it is connected to. Repairs to the ductwork have in some cases doubled the amount of heat delivered by the heat pump.
A properly trained, conscientious and competent contractor knows that up to half your new system’s efficiency and comfort will actually depend on the state of your ductwork. Before he gives you a price for a new system, he will at least visually inspect your ducts for common problems.
He will often recommend more advanced testing using special computerized test instruments such as an Infiltrometer blower door, static pressure gauges, smoke generators and an air flow capture hood. If problems are uncovered, he’ll recommend repairs such as duct sealing, duct modifications and possibly zoning dampers to bring your duct system up to at least minimum performance levels.
If duct repairs are needed to ensure your new system will work properly, they are usually much more economical to perform while your new equipment is being installed. The Department Of Energy states:
“Duct repairs could be the most important energy improvement measure you can do.”
New high efficiency equipment on a poor duct system is like having a fuel efficient car with under-inflated tires: the engine may be in perfect shape, but your mileage is awful. To get the performance you deserve from your new system, have any hidden existing duct problems identified and repaired.
To learn more about duct work in the Brandon, Valrico, Riverview, Plant City, or Fishhawk area, contact ACE Heating and Cooling today!Tags: AC Duct, air conditioner, Air conditioning equipment, Air Quality, Brandon, Duct, Duct Size, Ductwork, Fishhawk, Florida, Lithia, Riverview, Ruskin, Sun City Center