One of the most overlooked yet essential part of every home is the air conditioning ductwork. When the air conditioner is in optimal condition, you can save a lot on the costs of heating and cooling your home. Further, an efficient duct system provides the right ventilation, keeping your family comfortable no matter the weather outside.
That’s why it’s important to have your ducts cleaned and inspected regularly by a professional. Not only will this help keep your air conditioner running smoothly, but it can also improve your home’s indoor air quality.
What is air conditioning ductwork used for?
The duct system is made of passageways used for proper ventilation or airflow. It supplies air and exhausts it from your home. Ductwork includes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The supply and return ductwork are two types of ductwork. The supply ductwork carries air from the furnace or blower to the rooms in your home, while the return ductwork pulls the air back to where it came from.
For example, the air is sucked from your house into an air conditioner or heater and then pushed back through the ductwork. Without proper return vents, you will begin to experience problems with air pressure and climate control.
Keep in mind that only air moves through the ductwork. The duct system does not include the pipes that transfer water or gas throughout your home.
Is it necessary to replace ductwork?
It is wise to check on your duct system every 15 years. This is the typical lifespan where ductwork runs efficiently. Although duct systems can last up to 25 years, most deterioration of ductwork begins after 15 years. Major issues such as collapsed ducts, gaps in the ductwork, and pests commonly appear around this time.
If you notice any of these problems, it’s time to have your ducts checked by a professional. They can clean and repair your ducts so that they last for another 15 years.
Understanding the Parts of Ductwork
Now, it is important to know the functioning of the ductwork by first understanding all of its key components:
● Air terminals- These components are the outlets that return air inlets, exhaust, and air supply through diffusers.
● Return and Supply Plenums- The return plenums carry air from the return vents into the air handler. Meanwhile, the supply plenums bring air to rooms that need heating or cooling.
● Smoke and fire dampers- When ducts need to pass through a firewall, this part of ductwork is included to seal off the duct immediately upon detection of fire or smoke. To reopen the ducts, an HVAC technician needs to do so manually.
● Stack boots and heads- The stack boot provides the transition from a duct to a relatively thinner duct in the wall. This allows vertical airflow in thin walls.
● Take-offs- You may notice several metal tabs fitted into the openings attached to the main duct. These allow small portions of airflow into branch ducts.
● Turning vanes- This component reduces air turbulence and resistance to airflow. These vanes guide the air and the direction it takes.
● Volume control dampers- This part of the duct system minimizes airflow volume either manually or automatically.
● Vibration isolators- These are inserted in the duct to minimize vibration. For instance, blowers create a vibration, which can create noise throughout the home. To avoid this, the rubberized vibration isolator is added.
Materials Used in Ductwork Installation and the Best Material to Use?
Some of the common materials used in duct systems include aluminum (because it is light and easy to install) or galvanized steel (typical or standard). They are also made of fiberglass, which is used in some cases where there may be a fire hazard. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is used when there is a concern about corrosion or when conductor material must meet rigid standards for cleanliness. Other duct materials include stainless steel, which is often used for exhaust systems because it can withstand high temperatures and is very durable, and copper, which is used in some cases because it does not corrode.
Keeping the Air Ducts Clean
Clean air ducts is important for the health of your family. Especially when there is a respiratory-related global pandemic, you need to make sure the air inside your home is clean. Air ducts can be filled with bacteria, mold spores, pollen, pet dander, mildew, and other harmful contaminants.
Further, air ducts can also get clogged with these air particles and make your HVAC equipment work less efficiently. Not just that, but you may encounter health issues. For healthier air circulation, keep your ductwork clean.
First and foremost, choose the right filters and check them once a month. Regularly vacuum particulate at least once a week as these can get trapped in the HVAC. Finally, schedule professional maintenance ductwork inspection, especially before the beginning of summer and winter.
Modern heat pumps and split-system air conditioners do not rely on conventional duct systems. The equipment uses zoning strategies instead. Ductless air conditioning and heat pumps are common in the modern HVAC industry. You will need to consult an HVAC expert if you want to get a ductless system to ensure adequate ventilation in your home.
ECM Air Conditioning, with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides air conditioning services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County. If you’re looking to have a new HVAC system installed, we’re on-call and ready to assist you. So if you’re in need of an HVAC installation, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an inspection! Our HVAC installation experts will check your ductwork, measure, check wire sizes, and more before making recommendations to ensure maximum efficiency and comfort. Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our HVAC installation team online by clicking here.