Ever since the 1960s, many homes in Terre Haute, IN, and elsewhere in the US started including ductwork to support central HVAC systems. As a result, they’re something most homeowners take for granted. This is especially true because the majority of the average home’s ductwork remains hidden inside finished walls. However, ductwork isn’t designed to last forever and will deteriorate as it ages. The question is, then, how to know when it’s time to replace your home’s ductwork and if it’s ever worth it to do so? Here’s a detailed answer to those important questions.
What Happens to Ductwork as It Ages?
Most residential ductwork is made from rigid sheet metal, typically either galvanized steel or aluminum. This is because those materials are tough, relatively easy to shape, and last a long time. However, many homes also include flexible lengths of aluminum ductwork, too. Those sections frequently form branches from the main rigid ductwork to supply vents throughout a home.
In general, the materials used in residential ductwork don’t break down as they age. However, the same isn’t true of the joints and seals that hold a ductwork system together. Those can deteriorate quickly, sometimes as soon as ten years after installation. When that happens, it can have a major impact on your home’s comfort and the energy efficiency of your HVAC system.
Reasons to Consider Ductwork Replacement
In general, there are only a handful of situations when it’s worth it to replace your home’s ductwork. The first is if it wasn’t designed properly by the original installer or no longer suits the type of HVAC system your home currently has. In that situation, it makes financial sense to replace your ductwork because failing to do so will cause a variety of problems. For one thing, it could shorten the life of your HVAC system, especially if your ductwork restricts airflow to and from the system’s blower fan. It can also make it impossible for your HVAC to maintain the temperature you want throughout your home and cause your system to operate inefficiently.
Another situation that could call for ductwork replacement is if you’ve made substantial structural changes in your home. This may happen because of any remodeling you’ve done or additions you’ve made to your home. In those cases, your existing ductwork may become incapable of handling the heating and cooling needs of the new or reconfigured spaces.
Lastly, it may be a good idea to replace your home’s ductwork if it’s leading to significant energy waste. According to some estimates, homes with deteriorating ductwork may suffer an HVAC efficiency penalty of up to 30% because of it. Over the life of your HVAC system, those losses could provide a powerful economic argument to support a ductwork replacement.
How to Tell if You Need Ductwork Replacement
The truth is that it’s difficult to tell if you need a ductwork replacement unless you hire a trustworthy HVAC technician to perform a ductwork inspection. They’ll check the condition of the visible parts of your home’s ductwork, as well as the parts inside your home’s walls. They’ll also measure the airflow passing through the ductwork to look for signs of leaks or other issues. This is the only way to make an evidence-based decision on whether you should replace your home’s ductwork.
In some cases, the skilled HVAC technician will discover problems that are best addressed through repairs instead. This may include reinforcing and resealing joints or patching any punctures found in the ductwork itself. Or it could be something as simple as a ductwork cleaning that could be sufficient in solving your ductwork problem. Alternatively, the technician may alert you to symptoms that the problem is with the HVAC system rather than with the ductwork.
Your Local Ductwork Experts
No matter what kind of HVAC or ductwork issue your Terre Haute home has, Medcalf Heating & Cooling can help. We offer comprehensive ductwork inspection, repair, and installation services. Plus, we offer both residential and commercial HVAC services, indoor air quality services, refrigeration, and water heaters, too. So, if you have reason to suspect that your ductwork needs replacement, contact the experts here at Medcalf Heating & Cooling right away!