Best Practices for Duct Replacement

Ductwork transports heated or cooled air from your HVAC unit to every living space in your home. To be efficient, it must be installed properly. There are many considerations for duct replacement that, if not addressed, can lead to poor AC or furnace performance and increased energy consumption. Improper installation can also reduce indoor air quality. Below, we’ll look at best practices for ductwork replacement to avoid these issues.

Use Industry-Approved Materials

In some older homes, cavities in walls, ceilings, and floors double as airways. These are not efficient carriers of conditioned air. Air ducts must be used and can be made of sheet metal, such as galvanized steel, which is strong and durable but tough to insulate. Fiberglass is pre-insulated and easy to cut and seal but is prone to wear. Flexible non-metallic materials (plastic, fiberglass, or PVC) are common and are convenient to install in corners and other tight spaces. However, they’re prone to tearing.

An HVAC technician can help decide on the best material based on the application, your home’s layout, and its heating/cooling needs.

Consider Location and Placement

Ductwork design should never be taken for granted. When in the design phase, the following factors must be addressed:

  • Duct Length: Choose the shortest possible path so ducts don’t run too far to a specific area; otherwise, your home can have hot and cold spots.
  • Exposure: Exposed ducts can cause extreme temperatures to affect conditioned air and strain your HVAC system. Make sure they’re placed behind walls, above ceilings, and under floors.
  • Conditioned Spaces: Whenever possible, install ducts under raised floors or in a protected space known as a chase within a home’s thermal and air barrier.

Insulate Your Air Ducts

Some ductwork may run through an unconditioned basement, garage, or attic. Consult with your HVAC contractor about the best type of insulation to use. Insulating materials can be wrapped around ducts to minimize energy loss. Otherwise, heat can escape from the ducts, making your HVAC system inefficient and reducing comfort throughout your home.

Consider the Proper Duct Size

Air ducts should be the right size for your home and your HVAC system. If they’re too small, the system won’t have enough airflow to function properly. Ducts that are too big will reduce air velocity, affecting the distribution of conditioned air. 

To avoid such issues, a contractor will follow best practices such as calculating each room’s required heating or cooling load and matching the proper duct size. To do this, they often use software that follows the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s Manual D guidelines.

Perform Proper Duct Sealing

An HVAC installer uses various methods to seal air ducts to prevent energy loss and indoor air quality problems. Ductwork is typically attached in sections. The installation process then entails taking steps to minimize air leakage, such as:

  • Connecting duct sections with screws and other fasteners.
  • Sealing joints and seams with mastic or fiberglass mesh. 
  • Using longer segments to reduce the number of pieces and connections needed. 
  • Performing an air leakage test to ensure the system is airtight.

Make Sure the Airflow Is Balanced

An even distribution of conditioned air is dependent on having balanced airflow. Air balancing requires the supply and return ducts to have the same capacity, which yields neutral air pressure. It also requires having the appropriate number of supply and return registers throughout your home. This is why you need a professional who is experienced in ductwork design. 

Proper air balancing can:

  • Maintain an optimal comfort level
  • Improve your HVAC system’s energy efficiency
  • Increase the lifespan of AC and heating equipment
  • Prevent mold and other indoor air quality issues
  • Avoid high energy bills and repair costs

Do I Need to Hire a Professional for Duct Replacement?

The ductwork in your home is complex. A trained, licensed professional can take every factor into account and perform the right calculations to ensure your duct system is properly sized and designed. Their insurance protects you from additional expenses and you also benefit from a commitment to customer satisfaction. Technicians have the proper knowledge, training, and tools to replace air ducts successfully while anticipating any issues along the way. They also test your HVAC system to ensure it works safely, reliably, and efficiently.

Contact Trio Heating & Air

We provide high-quality duct replacement, duct cleaning, and duct sealing services in and around San Jose, CA. Our qualified contractors meet the latest training and certification requirements, so every detail is covered when installing or servicing your ductwork. They also use the most advanced tools and technologies to ensure each project is successful. To get started, book an appointment online or call (415) 223-5096 today.


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