At times, staying on top of the heating and cooling equipment in your Tampa, Florida home is a Herculean task. In addition to monthly air filter changes, you’re responsible for scheduling routine maintenance, keeping indoor vents, registers, and grilles clean, and making sure that there are no build-ups of debris by your air conditioner’s outside condensing unit. The list goes on and on. But what about your HVAC air ducts? Although HVAC ductwork is largely out of sight and out of mind, it has a tremendous impact on the health, comfort, and overall safety of everyone living in your home. While you can minimize the risk of developing duct-related indoor air quality (IAQ) issues by having your air ducts professionally cleaned, there will come a time when replacing these structures is the best choice. Following are eight reasons why.
1. Your Home Energy Bills Will Go Down
Much of the energy that central HVAC systems use is lost during distribution. In fact, in some households, as much as 30% of the energy used for heating and cooling is lost via HVAC ducting alone. This is often the result of insufficient insulation, cracks, gaps, other air leaks, and poorly designed duct systems.
Sadly, even buying the most efficient heater and air conditioner you find won’t diminish these losses. Efficiency ratings for heating and cooling equipment are determined independently of HVAC ductwork. To get the full value that high-efficiency units offer, you have to make sure that your HVAC ducting is in equally good condition and properly configured to support your heating and cooling equipment.
The average lifespan of HVAC ductwork is between 10 and 15 years. If your ductwork is nearing the end of its lifespan, it was likely designed and installed at a time when heating and cooling equipment looked and functioned quite differently. Getting new ductwork now means having an air distribution system that’s just as modern and efficient as the heater and air conditioner it supports. Once installed, properly insulated ductwork that’s absolutely free of air leaks will result in tremendous energy savings. You’ll have more money in your wallet and a significantly smaller carbon footprint.
2. Your Air Conditioner and Heater Will Be Quieter During Operation
Deteriorating ductwork can be responsible for a number of jarring and annoying air conditioner and heater noises. If you’re tired of listening to loud banging, clanging, whistling, or humming sounds when your HVAC system is in use, this is a project that’s definitely worth investing in. Although most HVAC systems aren’t completely noise-free, you should be able to enjoy moderate indoor temperatures without being disrupted by your heating and cooling equipment.
3. Your Home Will Smell Better
If your home has pervasive and persistent odors, your ductwork may be the culprit. Dry, burnt smells in the winter are common when the heater is first turned on. These odors indicate build-ups of lint, hair, dust, and other debris that are trapped in hard-to-reach places. Although you can clean your HVAC air vents and grilles to limit these smells, having dirty ductwork will undermine these efforts entirely.
It’s also not uncommon for HVAC ducts to gradually develop problems with mold and mildew. This remains true even when these growths aren’t visibly present in other areas of the home. Whenever warm air moves through cold ducting, condensation develops. If your old ducts are uninsulated or under-insulated, the air that moves through them is likely humid. This excess moisture can lead to damp, moldering smells all throughout the living environment, as well as a lower IAQ. Putting brand new ducts in and installing adequate insulation will give you the benefit of a cleaner, fresher-smelling building interior overall.
4. Zone Your HVAC System for Efficiency and Improved Comfort
Old, outdated HVAC ductwork is rarely flexible and adaptable enough to accommodate advanced zoning techniques. With HVAC zoning, dampers are installed to inhibit or allow airflow in individual zones and rooms. Unlike closing HVAC air vents, using dampers doesn’t cause excess air pressure in HVAC ducting or place excess strain on heating and cooling equipment. Instead, it offers a safe and sustainable way to limit your energy costs and provide customized comfort wherever it’s needed. Having your new ductwork zoned for efficiency means that you’ll never have to heat or cool your entire home uniformly again. Instead, you can selectively direct heated or cooled air to occupied spaces only.
5. Your Indoor Air Quality Will Improve
HVAC ductwork should be professionally cleaned about once every three to five years. If you have people in your household with chronic respiratory issues such as COPD, asthma, or allergies, you might want to have your ducts cleaned once every one to two years instead. However, even regular cleaning isn’t enough to make your current ductwork last forever. Not only does aging ductwork gradually develop gaps, cracks, and other structural damage, but it eventually collects enough trapped debris to negatively impact your IAQ. Deteriorating ductwork also has a tendency to allow unfiltered air in so that it’s distributed throughout the home without ever passing through HVAC air filters.
6. New Ductwork Makes It Easy to Install Integrated Accessories
Replacing old ductwork is the perfect time to install integrated HVAC accessories. For example, if your IAQ is a concern or if you’re having problems with excess humidity, you can talk with your HVAC company about media filters, air purifiers, air scrubbers, and whole-house dehumidifiers, among other accessories. Having these put in at the same time as your new ductwork will allow for optimal placement and seamless integration.
7. Provide Service to Remote or Under-Serviced Areas of the Home
Having new ducting installed is also an opportunity to get the layout of this system just right for your home. If you’ve made building modifications or if building modifications were made by past owners after initial ductwork construction, there are likely areas throughout the building that are unserviced or under-serviced. For instance, if you’ve recently finished your basement and have started using this space as a rec room, family room, workout room, or den, it’s likely too hot to use in summer and far too cold to enjoy in winter.
Although you can provide zoned heating and cooling to spaces like these by having a ductless mini-split heat pump installed, your HVAC company may find that it’s both cheaper and more feasible to simply extend your duct system while replacing it. This is also an opportunity to install larger ducts in areas that require them or bypass ducts to address problems with excess air pressure.
8. Extend the Lifespan of Your Heating and Cooling Equipment
Well-made and well-insulated HVAC ductwork will limit the amount of strain on your heating and cooling equipment. This upgrade will reduce the amount of work that your heater and air conditioner have to do to create and maintain your preferred indoor temperatures. As a result, these important appliances will last longer, and they’ll likely develop fewer problems over their lifespans.
At Protek Roofing, Heating, Air & Solar, we offer reliable heating, cooling, and indoor air quality services to residents of Tampa, Florida, and the surrounding region. We also provide solar panel installation and storm damage repairs. If it’s time to have your HVAC ductwork replaced, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call today to request an estimate or to schedule an appointment.