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Your Guide to Air Duct Replacement and Repair

An HVAC system is an essential component of homes around the country. When you have central heating and cooling, you can appreciate comfortable indoor temperature year-round. When the system is already in place, you almost forget about what goes on in the background as long as it is working as intended. But it is also important for every homeowner to understand at least the basics of how an HVAC system works. The HVAC ductwork for example, has a vital role in making sure that your heating and cooling system works efficiently and provides adequate ventilation.

The air ducts in your HVAC system primarily distributes treated air in various areas of your home. The process involves taking in return from different rooms and delivering it to the heating or cooling components of the system. Finally, the air ducts circulate treated air in a continuous and seamless cycle. Each part of your home’s HVAC system is important. If there are problems with your air ducts, it can lead to inefficient heating and cooling which might cause damage to your appliance. Another concern is that an inefficient ductwork will lead to wasted energy and higher energy bills.

There are three basic principles surrounding HVAC air duct design which are:

1. All furnaces and air conditioners have a required amount of airflow passing in and out of the system, so that each appliance works efficiently and functions properly.

2. Every home is unique, therefore when choosing the right HVAC design, these challenges need to be considered to ensure that the HVAC system achieves proper airflow.

3. An ideal air duct system is determined by its ability to reach the intended airflow requirement passing in and out of the system. To guarantee optimum efficiency, air ducts must be sealed at all the seams, preferably with aluminum tape, as well as have proper insulation if air ducts are located in exposed areas such as attics and crawl spaces.

Residential ductwork systems need to be installed by professionals. Typically when you move it to a new home, the system would have already been put in place. Nevertheless, it is still necessary to have the system checked by a technician to address any issues, and check if you need air duct replacement.

AC duct replacement: problems with ductwork which cause HVAC inefficiency

HVAC system inefficiency is a common problem encountered by many homeowners. You will easily notice that your system is inefficient when you are not getting the right temperature even if the air conditioning is set on full blast. One of the first things you need to look into is your air ducts. The following are common problems with ductwork which may require air duct replacement.

1. Air ducts are the wrong size. Perhaps you’ve made an upgrade on your home’s furnace or AC unit but failed to take in consideration if the existing ductwork is compatible with the new appliance. If the air ducts are either too big or too small, the system will be inefficient and it could damage your new furnace or AC unit. Anytime you install a new heating or cooling appliance, the contractor should check the ductwork and make adjustments if necessary.

2. Misplaced vents. The ductwork vents are the exit point of heated or cooled air into different rooms inside your home. In some instances, vents may be located in incorrect locations. The ideal place for vents should be near windows and along exterior walls. With properly placed vents, you can control temperature easily.

3. Problems with return air vents. The return vents collect cold or warm air from rooms and bring it to the furnace or AC unit for cooling and heating. Misplaced and clogged return vents will cause airflow issues where there is not enough air circulating through the system. The heating or cooling appliance will not be able to produce enough treated air to reach the desired indoor temperature.

4. Leaks in air ducts. Leaks and tears are common issues encountered with air ducts. When the problem is severe, you may need air duct replacement but in most cases, a contractor can repair leaks and tears quite easily.

Properly installed ductwork is the life-blood of your HVAC system. Think of it as the circulatory system which ensures that hot and cold air are absorbed, circulated, and vented around your home to provide you with comfortable indoor air temperature at the push of a button.

When is duct repair necessary?

Since we have identified the most common issues encountered with air ducts, it is also important to be aware of signs that indicate you need air duct replacement or repair. Aside from the issues mentioned above, you also need to watch out for the following:

• Kinked and tangled air ducts. When you do a routine assessment of your HVAC system, you also need to check the air ducts for possible problems. If you notice areas where the ducts are either tangled or kinked, you will need to contact a contractor to replace damaged sections. Leaving your air ducts in this state will further the problem and cause greater concern for the entire system.

• Weak or inconsistent airflow. If the air flow is weak or inconsistent, the problem may be due to an incompatibility with your heating or cooling appliance and the existing ductwork. A contractor should check the appropriate course of action such as replacing sections of air ducts, adding new vents, adjusting the grill size, and replacing air filters. By making sure that your air ducts match the capacity of your furnace or AC unit, you are also meeting the energy-efficiency capacity of the appliance.

• Cold and hot spots in various areas. If you are experiencing hot and cold spots in various areas of your home, there are a number of possible causes. But in relation to ductwork, it could either be leaks, clogs, and tears. In some cases it could also be because air ducts are the wrong size. Similar to the previous suggestion, a contractor needs to check for adjustments and air duct replacement.

• Unusual sounds. Small sounds coming from your ductwork which you hear occasionally is normal. But when you start to hear loud and unusual rattling, whistling, and squeaking noise coming from your ductwork, you need to have a professional HVAC technician to check for loose sections, holes, and tears which may need air duct replacement.

One of the best ways to prevent these problems from happening is to ensure that you schedule a routine HVAC maintenance check at least twice a year. Most HVAC contractors conduct an inspection of your air ducts as part of the package.

How much does air conditioning duct repair and replacement cost?

Prices vary depending on the service you are looking for. Preventive measures such as cleaning your ductwork can cost around $300-500. For larger homes, the price can go up to $700. Cleaning air ducts involve disinfecting air vents and filters, and removing dirt and dust build-up inside ducts by using a vacuum cleaner. Experts advise to beware of low offers for cleaning air ducts. Some of these contractors use low prices as a ploy to get homeowners to pay more later on.

When it comes to repairing problems with ductwork, the price can range from $350-700. If the tears and holes are easy enough to reach and repair, homeowners can do this themselves and save on the cost of hiring a contractor. Nevertheless, if the air ducts are old and the tears are significant, you may be better off with air duct replacement.

The average cost of replacing ductwork is around $30-35 for every linear foot. If you own a single-family home, then there should be around 30 feet to 90 feet of ductwork. Nevertheless, this will still depend on the layout of the home and the type of system in place. A contractor will typically come up with the replacement estimate for you to agree on.

Depending on how difficult it is to access and replace your homes air ducts, the contractor may ask for a higher price. The accessibility of your air ducts is a significant factor which will cause the air duct replacement price to increase. Another consideration are additional costs such as installing new air vents and replacing air filters.

On the other hand, if you are considering to install a brand new ductwork for your home, the price range is about $4,000-$6000 for the air ducts alone. This will not include the cost of additional accessories and parts as well as labor.

Investing in good ductwork is always worth it in the end. Your HVAC system will not work properly without it. Moreover, an inefficient ductwork will lead to inefficient cooling and heating which will be highly inconvenient for your family. As much as possible, you need to keep your air ducts in good shape. With regular maintenance and proper installation, your home’s ductwork should last as long as your heating and cooling equipment does.

For all your HVAC ductwork needs, contact Fischer Heating today.

Image Copyright: cuchina / 123RF Stock Photo



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