Get Your Ducts in a Row: Understanding Your Home's Ductwork

Get Your Ducts in a Row: Everything You Need to Know About Your Home’s Ductwork

We’ve already talked about how to reduce your energy bill and extend the life of your HVAC system but now we will touch on one of the most important systems in your home: your duct system. Since your ductwork is hidden away within your walls, ceiling, or crawlspace, you’ve likely never taken the time to think about how important it is to your overall comfort.  After all, that ductwork is the very thing that ultimately delivers all that comfortable air to each and every room in your house. Here’s what you need to know about your ductwork:

How Ductwork Impacts Your Home

Ductwork plays an important role in the home, one you might not even think about. Simply put, ductwork used in conjunction with your HVAC system delivers heated or cooled air throughout your home to maintain comfortable temperatures. One end of each duct is connected to a main trunk line coming from your HVAC unit. The other termination point of each duct is connected to a metal funnel-like “boot” that feeds each of the air vents located in your home. It’s important to note that the separate pipes delivering refrigerant, water, or gas throughout the home are not  classified as ducts, as only air is moved through ductwork.

Since the ducts are used year-round, if they fail or have leaks, they can affect energy use, comfort levels, and system operation. Studies have recently shown that up to 10-30% of a typical HVAC system’s output can be diminished due to leaky ducts, leaks that if sealed correctly could cut the energy waste down to less than 5%. 

The Design of Your Ductwork

Proper duct system design is essential to the overall comfort and proper operation of your entire HVAC system. Even the most efficient and powerful HVAC equipment won’t do its job correctly without a duct system that is designed to deliver the correct airflow to each room of the house. Calculations involving the cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air delivery are performed to properly size the ducts for each portion of the home. A trained and experienced HVAC company will use their specialized knowledge to make sure that the duct system installed in your home maximizes the efficiency and comfort built into your heating and cooling equipment.

Should I Replace My Ductwork?

Problems with your ductwork don’t automatically mean you need a replacement. Reputable contractors who specialize in ductwork (like MSCO) can perform tests to help determine the best plan of action for your home’s duct system. An old or damaged duct system can be repaired, renovated, or completely replaced.  Here are some common signs that you might need a duct repair or replacement:

Heat and Humidity

Sudden changes in the comfort and humidity level of a room may mean that one or more ducts have become disconnected, thus not allowing the HVAC system to remove the humidity from the air properly.

Critters in Your Crawlspace

Unfortunately, rodents seem to like chewing on ductwork. Damage to the ducts in a crawlspace (or attic) from rodents or other animals can mean a loss of air through leaks, or even more extensive problems. If you have experienced an invasion of critters in your home, it’s a good idea to have your ductwork inspected for leaks and damage. 

Escaping Efficiency

If ducts are damaged, disconnected, leaking, or otherwise compromised – the efficiency of the entire HVAC system will suffer. Air that is meant to be delivered into your home will instead be flowing into your walls, attic, or even underneath your house. Your HVAC system will run harder trying to maintain your desired comfort level. Efficiency will be diminished. If you suspect damaged ductwork may be causing problems in your home, your experts here at MSCO will be happy to inspect your ductwork and make any recommendations necessary to get things back on track to keep you and your home comfortable.

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