Should You Replace Your Ductwork? 3 Things To Consider

Replacing your home's ductwork is a big and costly job, but it can pay off substantially over the long run. Newer ducts can offer improved HVAC performance and efficiency, resulting in more comfortable temperatures in your home and lower repair bills. However, the upfront cost means this isn't a project that most homeowners will want to take lightly.

Unless there's a serious problem, you'll typically only consider installing new ductwork when you replace parts of your existing HVAC system, such as your air conditioner or furnace. But how can you know if you'll see any substantial benefits from this project? While you should always consult with an experienced contractor, these three questions will help determine if new ducts can help you.

1. How Old Are Your Ducts?

Ductwork doesn't have a set expiration date, so you can't just look at the age of your ducts and decide if you need new ones. However, ductwork does degrade over time. Correctly installed and designed ductwork can last a long time, but not all builders prioritize quality over speed and cost. If you have an older home, you may not even know much about its original construction.

If your ductwork is old enough to have gone through several HVAC system replacements, you may want to consider replacing it. At a minimum, ask your HVAC contractor to inspect the existing ducts in your home thoroughly. This inspection will help you evaluate their current condition and make an informed decision about a replacement.

2. Do You Have Uneven Heating or Cooling?

Hot and cold spots are symptoms of airflow restriction, poor system design, or both. Your home's HVAC system should deliver conditioned air evenly throughout your home. When some rooms are warmer or colder than others, that indicates an issue with the system. While a poorly-sized blower is one potential cause, ductwork issues are equally likely.

Before installing new HVAC equipment, have your contractor investigate the underlying cause of your home's hot and cold spots. If they discover a problem with the sizing or design of your ductwork, you may want to consider replacing it. Although this will add extra expense to your installation, it will also ensure your new system can perform much more efficiently.

3. Did You Fail a Leakage Test?

Ductwork tightness testing isn't something you need to do often, but it's worthwhile if you have an older home with ducts in unknown condition. A leakage test evaluates air loss through your home's ductwork system. While most systems will have some leakage, it's critical to keep air loss as low as possible for efficiency and performance.

If you discover an unacceptable level of leakage during this test, you will almost certainly want to install ductwork. Substantial air loss from your duct system can drastically reduce the efficiency of your new equipment, ultimately costing you far more money over the system's life. 

For more information, contact a local company like Elite Clean & Restoration.