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When Should You Consider Replacing Your Ductwork?

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Making sure your HVAC ductwork is in solid condition is important, as it delivers warm and cold air into your home.

Unfortunately, air ducts are typically an out-of-sight-out-of-mind component in HVAC systems. Thus, most homeowners forget to check it regularly.

Cold and hot spots can reduce the livable square footage of your home. This is why homeowners must be familiar with their HVAC systems.

This article dives deep into what ductwork is, why it's important, and the signs that indicate it's time for a repair or replacement.

What is Ductwork?

Every HVAC system has ductwork that distributes warm or cold air to different parts of the house.

This hidden system is often made of sheet metal or synthetic tubes that are carefully installed throughout your home. Fiberglass and plastic are used to attach one portion of the duct to the other.

Ductwork is connected to the HVAC unit, which is responsible for heating and cooling the air before sending it out through the vents.

Leaks, cracks, or holes in the air duct can significantly reduce the air quality in your home.

Types of Ductworks

There are three common types of ductwork: Sheet metal or galvanized steel, flex duct, and fireboard duct.

Here's a closer look at each type:

Sheet Metal Ducts

Sheet metal or galvanized steel ducts are the most durable type of ductwork.

It's also less likely to develop mold or rust.

Also referred to as flexible aluminum ducts, this type of air duct can be oval, round, or rectangular.

Flex Duct

As the name suggests, flex ducts are made from flexible materials, making them an ideal choice for locations where more rigid ductwork would be ineffective.

This type of ductwork is constructed from a steel wire spiral that has been wrapped in polymer materials and is covered by insulation.

Flex ducts are low-cost, lightweight, and simple to install.

Fireboard Duct

This type of air duct is the least expensive, but it does come with a few disadvantages. The most common is suppressed airflow due to the rough fiberglass surface.

On the bright side, fireboard ducts are noiseless and well-insulated—which can improve the overall comfort of your home.

Importance of Your AC Ductwork

Your HVAC ductwork is responsible for carrying large volumes of air between the air handler and the air vents in your home. It helps keep your family warm during winter and cool during summer. When an issue develops, it reduces the efficiency at which your ductwork does its job.

Ductworks are made of rigid materials that naturally develop leaks, cracks, and gaps over time. This is why getting regular maintenance checks is important. A professional can spot an issue before it worsens.

Signs Your HVAC Ductwork Needs Replacing

There is no straightforward way to identify if your HVAC ductwork needs replacing. However, there are signs that you can watch out for that could help.

If you notice any of the following at home, it could mean you need new air ducts.

1. Hot and cold spots in your home

The most common indicator that your HVAC ductwork needs repairs or replacement is having hot and cold spots in your home. This is when some rooms in your home are warmer or colder than others. When this happens, it decreases the overall comfort and livability of your home.

You can use a thermometer to confirm if you have hot or cold spots in your home. Once you've confirmed the problem, you can contact an HVAC professional to help you locate and solve the issue, before it gets worse.

2. Poor indoor air quality

Faulty HVAC ductwork can also compromise your home's indoor air quality.

Initially, you might notice that your home feels and looks dustier than normal. Later, you and your family members start developing allergies—coughing and sneezing in every room.

This is because dust and pollen can easily infiltrate your HVAC system if there's a hole, crack, or leak in your ductwork.

If your family has started an orchestra of coughing and sneezing in your house, it could mean you need ductwork replacement, stat.

3. Loud noises from your ductwork

It's normal for your HVAC system to make some noise when it's running. It's a different story when the noise becomes loud and irritating. This is a huge sign that something could be wrong with your air ducts.

Fiberglass joints and plastics are used to connect air ducts. Over time, these fiberglass and plastic connectors can loosen or get damaged. This could be the reason why you're hearing loud noises coming from your ductwork.

Don't ignore the noises—contact an expert to help you with repairs or replacements.

4. High electric bills

HVAC systems work twice as hard in heating your living spaces when there's a problem in the air ducts. This is because a lot of air escapes through a hole or leak in the ducts.

Naturally, homeowners would be forced to raise their thermostat levels to compensate for this dysfunction. Unfortunately, the higher you set your thermostat, the more power it needs to operate. This usually reflects in your monthly energy bills.

Besides causing your utility bills to spike, faulty AC ductwork could also potentially reduce the lifespan of your air conditioner.

5. Old ductwork

If your home is more than 20 years old and hasn't had its air ducts replaced even once, it's more than due for a replacement.

Air ducts are good for at least 10 to 15 years before they start developing problems. After such time, you can expect to see issues such as cracks, loosened seals, joint wear, mold, and even pests appear.

Regular professional maintenance can help your ductwork last many years.

Keep your loved ones safe—contact a HVAC technician to provide you with the right solutions.

6. Foul odors coming from your air vents

You don't need to be an expert to know that your air conditioning system shouldn't be releasing foul odors when it is running. If the air smells musty when you turn your AC on, it could mean you have a mold infestation and it's time to replace your air duct system.

When you have a mold infestation in your ductwork, mold spores get released through the air vents of your HVAC system. When inhaled, mold can cause all sorts of health problems.

If you suspect mold growth in your air ducts, contact a professional immediately.

7. Poorly Designed HVAC Ductwork

Some homes have poorly designed air duct systems that prevent the proper distribution of comfortable air. In this case, a complete replacement is necessary to improve the air quality in the home.

When you're making modifications to your house, it could also be a perfect time for you to replace old ductwork. This ensures even distribution of clean and comfortable air to every room in your home.

When Should You Replace Your HVAC System Ductwork?

A good rule of thumb is to replace your HVAC ductwork once every 10 to 15 years. You don't want to wait until problems start to develop before getting professional services from an expert. Consider the signs we shared with you in the sections above.

If you notice any of the above-mentioned signs in your HVAC system, even if it hasn't been 10 years, there's a good chance that your ducts require repair or replacement. Contact an expert to inspect your unit and provide you with effective solutions.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Ductwork?

The costs for replacing ductwork will vary depending on your location, system size, and materials. Typically, you can expect to spend anywhere between $1,900 to $6,000.

Contact Sunset Heating and Cooling Electrical to get a free estimate for services today.

Need Help Replacing an Old HVAC Unit?

Your HVAC system keeps you and your family comfortable year-round. It warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer. It's one of the most overused appliances in most homes. Therefore, wear and tear will naturally occur over time.

Seeing the costs of replacing an HVAC system and its ductwork can make any homeowner feel overwhelmed—maybe even disheartened. Regardless, it shouldn't be a reason for you to avoid professional AC ductwork repair and replacement.

DIY repairs can be cheaper in the beginning, but it also puts you at risk of costly errors that could lead to further damage to your HVAC system. Professional HVAC technicians have all the tools and materials required for a successful replacement or repair.

Sunset Heating and Cooling Electrical

If you're looking for efficient services from a reliable company, look no further than Sunset Heating and Cooling Electrical!

We believe that every customer deserves excellent and expert services. Thus, we make sure that all our technicians are skilled and trained to provide only the best solutions to whatever HVAC-related issue you throw our way.

Whether you need help installing a new HVAC system or conducting a simple filter replacement, you can rely on us.

Contact our office today for a quick estimate for services.

Call us at (503) 500-5866

We look forward to serving you!

What Our Clients Say

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