Ductless No More: What To Expect During Your HVAC Duct Installation
Ensuring that your HVAC system is ready for summer is one thing. But, if you live in an area where summers are particularly hot and humid, then you’ll want to at least look into HVAC duct installation if you haven’t already.
Upgrading your home with ductwork is a daunting task for many homeowners, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here’s what to expect from your HVAC duct installation and how to ensure it all goes smoothly.
Preparing Your Home for HVAC Duct Installation
If your home doesn’t currently have an HVAC system, then it’s possible that it also doesn’t have any pre-installed ducts either.
If you currently have air duct installation in your home but it has been there longer than 10 to 15 years, then it’s likely that you’ll need to think about replacing them soon.
What are ducts? They’re the passages that carry airflow from your home’s central HVAC system to the various rooms all over the house. They can also remove hot or cold air, depending on the setting.
As part of most standard HVAC systems, your home probably includes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units.
These are the physical units themselves, and what you need to think about replacing are the air ducts that transfer the cool or hot air.
In order to prepare your home for HVAC duct installation, you’ll want to:
- Make sure your home’s structure and layout can support the installation
- Research providers in your area and their labor costs
- Understand what your needs are in terms of heating and cooling
You’ll also need to clear out space where they’re going to install the actual central air or heating units themselves.
However, a qualified professional can help you make sense of where it’s best to place the units as part of the installation process.
Think About Duct Installation Costs
There are many factors that affect the cost to install HVAC ducts. It’s important to understand these costs before scheduling the installation.
Think about things such as:
- The design of your house: This is usually the primary cost factor and will determine the intricacy of your air duct installation.
- Where you’re going to install the ductwork: An experienced professional will look at how to install ductwork in existing walls first. It’s also typically hidden in the attic or basement.
- How many stories your home has: The more stories your home has, the more ductwork it will need. This translates into higher costs.
- The number of vents you need: Usually, the number of vents a home needs is the same as the number of rooms in the home. If a room is particularly large, it might require more than one vent.
- The duct material: Flexible ductwork that is made from a wire coil is usually the cheapest, but you can also sheet metal and fiberboard.
- The number of temperature control zones: If you have a temperature control zone in your home, then it means that it comes with its own thermostat. If you want more individual thermostats in your home, then the prices of duct installation increases.
Understanding these factors can help you understand what to expect during the HVAC duct installation.
This will not only help you prepare for the installation, but it will also give you a better idea of what you need to ask when speaking with your contractor.
Finding the Space for Installing Ductwork
If you’re going to invite a professional into your house to alter your home’s inner workings, then it makes sense to try and understand what happens when installing ductwork.
Figuring out where you’re going to put your ductwork is likely going to be one of the biggest challenges. Why? It usually requires you to figure out where in your home you have two to three feet of extra space to install the ducts.
For most homeowners, this causes a bit of a problem, which is why mini split systems are usually the solution. These systems work best in small, open spaces.
However, if you don’t have a small open space like an attic or basement, then you’ll need to factor in ductwork and space elsewhere.
While this could get pretty technical, all you really need to know is that a contractor is going to install metal ducts into your home and to do this, you need space.
If you don’t have space, then you can get creative and build a box or other kind of decorative accessory that will allow you to hide the ductwork.
If you have particularly high ceilings, then it might be a possibility to drop the ceilings.
Expect all of this to take time. Any professional worth working with will take at least one to two days just to install ductwork and the central heating and cooling system unit.
If you are working with constraints regarding space, then it’s best to speak with your contractor as they’ll be able to offer you suggestions on what they think is the best solution.
Making and Implementing the Ductwork Plan
Retrofitting a home for ductwork requires accurate planning.
This is where things start to get serious, but it’s okay because we’ll help guide you through every step of the way.
Once you’ve considered all of the pre-planning things like costs and how to prepare your home, here’s our ductwork installation guide on what to expect throughout the actual planning and installation process.
Performing a Home Assessment
First, you’ll probably have a home assessment or meeting to take a look at any existing ductwork or to check out the space in your home to see if there’s enough room to install ducts.
If there isn’t enough space, then we’ll probably suggest the ductless mini-split system mentioned above.
If your home doesn’t have the proper space for a duct system, then a mini-split system is actually a better option anyway.
Opting for a poorly fitted and installed duct system will lead to higher energy bills. It also won’t really help properly heat or cool your home in the way that you need.
Mapping out a Duct Plan
Once it’s clear that your home is suitable for ductwork, it’s time to create a plan.
A ductwork plan consists of mapping out the placement of the ducts and how they’re going to connect inside of your home.
This includes factors such as duct length, insulation, and where to cut the supply and return vent holes.
As part of this process, you’ll also need to plan out and decide where you want to put the air handler, outdoor unit, and maybe even the furnace.
During the planning stage, it’s important that the contractor size your HVAC system to ensure that you get the right amount of heating and cooling according to your home’s size.
If you know you’re going to want extra thermostats in certain rooms of your home, now is the time to ask!
Cutting Vent Holes
With a solid plan in place, now it’s time to cut holes in your walls and ceilings. These holes are going to be where your duct supply and return vents will go.
Depending on the size and layout of your home, these holes might vary in size and placement.
It’s best to ask your service technician or contractor about any concerns you have about the placement before they start cutting into your drywall.
Installing the HVAC System
Most homeowners seem to think that this comes last. It’s actually the step right before you’re able to fully finish the ductwork installation, as you need something to connect all the ducts to.
If you’re installing ductwork, then you probably didn’t have a pre-existing HVAC system in your home. After they cut the holes, a technician will install the outdoor condenser, air handler, and furnace during this stage.
This is also when you can expect them to install thermostats and show you where the air filters go.
If they don’t explain it to you during the installation process, be sure to ask which air filters are best for your HVAC system in order to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your energy usage.
Connecting the Ducts
You’ve made it to the final step! Once everything is in place, it’s time to lay the ductwork and connect everything to the indoor unit.
Then, they’ll seal the ducts and properly secure everything to ensure there is no possibility of leakage.
Finding the Right Team for HVAC Duct Installation
Understanding what to expect during your HVAC duct installation is only half the battle. You’ll need to find the right HVAC company to work with in order to ensure that your system and ductwork work properly.
Not only is this important for your safety, but it will help ensure that your system is heating and cooling at full optimization. This helps save on energy usage and costs.
Looking to set up a time for one of our technicians to come and take a look at your home as part of an HVAC duct installation?
Contact us today we’d love to help you!
Howard Hale creates effective content and marketing strategies for a multitude of businesses. His agency, ManifesGo is all about helping small businesses manifest their marketing goals and objectives.