Keep Your Ducts in a Row
Question: What is ductwork and why should I maintain it?
Answer: Your Air Conditioning System Ductwork is a critical component to the entire system. If your system’s compressor is the “heart,” then your Ductwork is the “lungs” and pulmonary system.
By definition, Ductwork is used to distribute airflow from your Air Conditioning System throughout your home. This involves the air being sucked from throughout the house into the heater/air conditioner, where it is heated or cooled, and distributed back through ducts into the rooms and living areas. Both intake and output of air is critical to efficient heating and cooling, as well as humidity control and indoor air quality.
The key to any Ductwork system is proper installation by qualified technicians like those at A/C Today. If Ductwork is installed properly, it is an efficient means of keeping you comfortable and regulating the temperature in your home. However, shoddy installation can cause problems, which are often subtle or unseen. Aluminum tape is used to seal the seams between duct pieces, and insulation is used to separate the ductwork from areas up above your ceiling such as attics or crawl spaces. If either the taping or insulation is not installed properly, the results could be: air leakage, which will cost you money); poor air quality; excess moisture or humidity; and even early failure or shortening the lifespan of your Air Conditioning System.
Proper sizing is another consideration when installing Ductwork. The size of your ductwork must correspond with the size of your Air Conditioning System to ensure the most efficient operation. Once installed, A/C today installation specialists will then fine-tune your Ductwork for optimal efficiency, comfort, and longevity. Balancing is a method whereby “dampers” located within the ducts are adjusted so that the optimal airflow is distributed into each room.
Now that your Ductwork is properly installed, let’s talk about regular MAINTENANCE. Like any system, ductwork can degrade or become damaged over its operating life. Duct cleaning is one of those tasks that it’s easy for you to forget about. Since ducts and vents are often overlooked, many homeowners might not even remember the last time they were inspected or adjusted. It’s important to note that inspecting and cleaning your Ductwork may deliver health advantages and extend the life of your Air Conditioning System.
Over time, joints and seals can become loose due to system vibrations, dust and other debris can be blown into the ducts, or accidents can damage or deform them. Regardless of the quality of your ductwork design, without periodic maintenance, you may not get the most out of your Ductwork.
Here are some of the tasks that our A/C Today Ductwork Specialists can perform during our Scheduled Ductwork Maintenance Program:
- Test Ducts: Take readings of air pressure within the Ducts during system operation and analyze how much air you’re losing and how well the system is balanced. Our Ductwork Specialists can also offer recommendations on how to improve your home’s Ductwork design and layout, especially if you’ve re-arranged rooms or added square footage to the home.
- Ensure that vents and return vents are unobstructed: Everyone rearranges furniture from time to time. Our Ductwork Specialists will inspect your home to ensure that furniture or other fixtures are not disrupting airflow, thereby preventing air from circulating through rooms. A substantial airflow blockage or restriction can have repercussions throughout the Ductwork design, changing the pressure in the system and contributing to the shortened lifespan – or even failure – of system components such as fan motors and coils.
- Seal air leaks in the ducts. Ductwork leaks traditionally cause homes to lost between 10 and 40 percent of cooled air. When that cooled air escapes, the energy used to heat or cool it has been wasted. If the ducts are kept within the home’s thermal envelope, the energy might be contained within your home, but it still might be released into wall cavities or crawl spaces. Do you really want to be cooling the inside of your walls? Not likely.
- Insulate ductwork. Insulation will help the air passing through the ducts maintain its temperature until it reaches living areas. Oftentimes, insulation loses its effectiveness and must be re-applied.
- Professionally clean Ductwork and remove internal obstructions. An obstruction inside the ductwork can be just as damaging as furniture placed in front of a register – and can often go unnoticed. What’s worse, is that internal obstructions (such as a loose air filter) can get sucked into the ductwork and impact the air handler – much like a blood clot moving to the heart. This obstruction could interfere with your Air Conditioning System’s operation or even present a fire risk.
- Install a UV light in your Ductwork. Ultraviolet (“UV”) lights use ultraviolet radiation to sterilize air, destroying bacteria, as well as mold and fungal spores. This can help prevent buildups of mold and fungal colonies inside your Ductwork, where humidity is a concern.
Another step that you can take to ensure properly-balanced airflow is to avoid the random closing of vents in the home. Closing off certain vents will affect the delicate balance of pressure and airflow throughout the home. Remember: Your home’s Ductwork was designed and installed to deliver proper airflow efficiently. If certain rooms are cooled excessively or other rooms are not cooled enough, please let your A/C Today Ductwork Specialist know and we can explore all options with you, including the installation of a zoning system.