(Also Called: Getting Your Ducts in a Row)
Improperly designed HVAC systems may have ducts that are too small for the amount of air they need to carry. If we think of the house like a human body, having ducts that are too small causes high blood pressure. Make sure you hire a company that will check the sizing and examine every square inch for leaks, blockages, as well as poor design. Improperly using air filters – either dirty filters or using a filter that constricts the flow of air – is equally important.
So, not only is the size of the ductwork important, but making sure the air is flowing through it is just as essential to the overall health of the house. The whole idea of size is to make sure that the blood pressure is low so that adequate air flow can be achieved. Air flow is the key to efficiency and size of the equipment. After all, if the house can’t breathe, then it can’t work and will have a heart attack.
Air flow and fresh air
A certain amount of fresh air is needed for good indoor air quality, and there are specifications that set the minimum amount of fresh air needed for a house. An honest, experienced contractor will be able to test your home to measure not only the amount of airflow, but how much fresh air is needed, thereby ensuring an efficient air conditioning and heating system.
If a duct system is poorly designed or installed, your home will waste energy no matter how well insulated it might be, so don’t think simply heaping on more insulation will solve the problem. A certified technician will measure ducts and vents and look for problems. Fix or replace damaged ductwork before adding insulation so that air stays where it belongs: moving through the ductwork on its way to individual room.
In typical houses, about 20 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. Some ductwork becomes kinked or crushed, especially if work around the ducts has been done, like what happens during home repairs or renovations. Moving the ducts frequently or too roughly can cause them to break or tear, causing leaks. If air is escaping through these breaks, then your attic or crawl space is being cooled instead of your house. Think of these tears in your ductwork as holes in your pockets where money continues to fall through. Repair the leaks and keep your money where it belongs: in your pocket.
And just because duct tape is a similar color and has the word “duct” in it, don’t think it can be used to repair the tears in your ductwork. Duct tape does not stand up over time when used in this application and will eventually become dry and brittle. Mastic sealant or metal tape is made for sealing tears in ductwork, so it’ll stand up to the conditions of the heated or cooled air flowing through the ducts, as well as the areas where the ducts are, like an attic or crawl space.