Ducting is often the most-neglected part of any HVAC system. Tucked out of the way and hard to see from the living areas of a house, ducting is easy to forget. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important! What do getting free performance out of your HVAC and extending the life of the unit have in common? They both involve your ducts! So it’s time to pay attention to those ducts, because the benefits are massive. Today, from sealing ducts to resizing them for a new system, we’ll cover these all-important parts of any HVAC setup.
Why Are HVAC Ducts Important?
An HVAC system moves air, plain and simple. Ducts carry air. They’re like your garden hose. Instead of moving water, they move air, but the principle is the same: it’s much easier to water a plant using a hose than it is to throw buckets of water in the direction of the plants; similarly, it’s much easier to get hot or cold air or exhaust where you want it if you seal it in a duct.
Of course, since HVAC ducts are sealed, they work best when they’re sealed very well. Since ducts are often neglected, they are also often sealed improperly. Holes can wear through them, registers can get loose, and the ducts often stiffen and decay over time. This means that they can let air in or out, and sometimes they even allow bad air to escape into the home. If the ducts are full of gaps and holes, the hot or cold air that’s being generated is leaking out of the duct before it gets where it’s going–even if the HVAC system is working properly!
The good news is that you can seal your ducts to stop air from leaking. Sealing your ducts will lower your energy bill, increase your system’s lifespan, and also improve your HVAC performance–sometimes drastically.1 Depending on what the duct is carrying, sealing it may also benefit the health of your family; for example, if a duct is carrying exhaust to the exterior of the home, it would be unhealthy for that exhaust to leak out of the HVAC duct into the home itself.
Okay, So How Do I Seal My Ducts?
Patience and time are the biggest tools in your arsenal. Often you can use mastic (not duct tape) to patch up obvious holes in easy-to-reach places.2 Unfortunately, those holes may not be the only ones in your ductwork–tiny holes, worn-out areas, and cracked ducts may allow air to pass without being visible to the eye. In addition, much of the ducting is hard-to-reach and you may not be able to get to all the places that need to be sealed.
That’s where the pros come in. We provide an inspection of the ducts with every tune-up we do; if you want more in-depth ductwork and repair, we can give you a fair quote and get to work. We’ll cover every part of the system, test it for air pressure, and go find the leaks! Working with a pro is a great way to start sealing any holes in your ductwork, or to finish the places you haven’t been able to get to.
You Mentioned Resizing…
One of our pet peeves are ducts that aren’t the right size for the HVAC equipment. Whether it’s a fan that’s burning up because of a small duct or an entire system working too hard, your equipment and your ducts need to work together. HVAC duct layout should be part of any home plan, whether it’s new construction or a remodel, but often that’s not the case. Similarly, people often upgrade to more powerful HVAC equipment without taking the duct size requirements into consideration. And sometimes ducts are so cobbled-together they resemble a maze more than a carefully laid out HVAC system. If your ducts meet any of those descriptions, re-doing large sections of ductwork may be necessary. It’s worth it–it’ll save your HVAC system in the long run, and increase system performance at the same time.
If you need resizing, duct sealing, or a complete duct overhaul, you’ll find working with a contractor benefits you greatly. HVAC ducts are tricky to work with, even though they seem simple, and you’ll want a professional at your side for most duct-related work. In addition, an HVAC contractor like Bell Brothers will be able to help you troubleshoot the system and figure out what to prioritize, which may not be immediately obvious otherwise. Finally, they’ll be able to test your ducts to ensure the work is actually having an effect–which is hard to do on your own. Bell Brothers offers great pricing on any job, and duct-work is no different. We love working on them, and showing people how easy it is to lower energy bills, increase performance, and make your home a comfortable place–so give Bell Brothers a call and let us help you with your ductwork!