When is Ductwork Replacement the Right Thing to Do?

You might have heard some HVAC maintenance professionals tell you or other homeowners that having ductwork problems doesn’t necessarily require you to replace your entire HVAC system immediately. They are not saying that to lead you into deeper trouble by waiting for your ductwork to cause bigger problems and thus, requiring you to spend more in the future. All they’re saying is, there are incidences wherein ductworks can be repaired to bring back their efficiency and proper functions, not necessarily whole replacements that will actually cost you more. HVAC contractors may perform inspections and tests so that you can be assisted in deciding on which action to take.

So, whether you need your system ductwork to be replaced or not depends on its overall condition. As mentioned earlier, some of these conditions can be remedied with a repair or partial replacements. But of course, there are some conditions that would require a full replacement of your ductwork. It would be to your advantage to know these things so that you won’t be duped.

Your ductwork needs replacement if it is not designed correctly.
If your HVAC is causing energy loss, this may be caused by air leaks, as well as ductwork that was not designed properly. Leaks and poorly designed ductwork cannot circulate the air that should effectively cool your house. So, even if you brought the correct HVAC system with the correct size and capacity, if your ductwork is not designed correctly, the rest of your system will not be able to function properly.

Various ductworks that are ineffectively designed result in various scenarios. For example, air that is poorly circulated back to the return duct will be stuck in the area around the supply duct, and when too much air will accumulate in that area, the air will seep out of the house, which will push the AC system to generate more air. On the other hand, if the duct is designed poorly, the cold air will not be able to reach various parts of the space, which will result in the entire area not getting properly cooled because the temperature of the cold air from the areas with good ducts will be evened out by the temperature of air from the areas the duct did not serve properly once the air circulates. This may lead to thermostat issues. Of course, the effects of poorly designed ductwork will only get aggravated by cracks, leaks, or tears in the ductwork. When at least 20% of the conditioned cool air gets lost because they escape through these holes in the duct, you may adjust the setting of your thermostat, thinking that the AC unit isn’t working properly. Plus, your BTU rating will not be accurate. So, you will definitely end up with increased energy bills. Thus, you have to know at least the basics of what makes ductwork design efficient.
(Via: https://www.aircheckms.com/ac-installation/good-ductwork-makes-your-hvac-system-work/)

Your flexible ductwork needs replacement if it has been twisted, torn, or kinked.
A lot of homes feature flexible ducts made of plastic material. The flimsiness of the material causes it to be damaged to the point that it may not be repairable already. Flexible ductwork that has become twisted or kinky and has tears will greatly affect airflow and therefore the overall performance of your HVAC unit. Thus, this needs to be replaced already.

Flexible ductwork must be installed properly to get the right amount of airflow to each room and a poor installation can severely affect airflow and comfort in your home. This means no kinks, using 90 degree elbows at all ceiling cans and the ductwork is pulled tight with minimal slack to minimize friction resistance.
(Via: http://www.greenintegrateddesign.com/blog/is-metal-ductwork-better-than-flexible-ductwork)

Your ductwork needs replacement if it has mold.
Ductwork that has leaks will cause excessive dust to your home, not to mention bring musty odors caused by mold. Moreover, if there is mold in your ductwork, its spores will also be distributed to the rest of your home. Thus, these ducts with mold infestation do not just need to be cleaned; it would be better if they are replaced.

Black mold in your air vents can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms and health problems. The symptoms may vary from person to person, and can also depend on the length of exposure and the amount of spores inhaled.
(Via: https://www.abchomeandcommercial.com/blog/mold-in-air-vents-harmful/)

Your ductwork needs to be replaced if it is already too old.
The “functional” life of ductwork may be very long if it is properly maintained, although its components such as joints, seans, and seals may already show signs of wear and tear after 10 years. For the sake of your comfort and health, you may consider replacing your HVAC system’s ductwork if it has been serving you for at least a decade.

The ductwork in most homes lasts between 10 and 15 years before problems arise. If your ducts are more than 15 years old, have them replaced before major issues such as pests, gaps, or even collapsed sections of ducts appear.
(Via: https://byrdheatingandair.com/blog/3-signs-replace-ductwork#:~:text=The%20ductwork%20in%20most%20homes,collapsed%20sections%20of%20ducts%20appear.)