Ductwork Integrity & Insulation | HVAC Airflow
So you are having a new HVAC system installed and you selected a system that is high efficiency and you want to get the most out of it. Have you looked at or has the HVAC contractor looked at the duct work and determined if it is good enough for the high efficiency system. A good HVAC contractor would look at the ductwork to make sure it is adequate and sized properly for the new system. This is often done as the HVAC contractor wants to ensure that the new system is properly matched to the HVAC ductwork lest the system not work as it should. Beyond that the most overlooked part of the ductwork is the ductwork integrity.
Ductwork Integrity & Insulation | HVAC Airflow | Delivering Air
Delivering the air to its designated destination is very important. Studies have shown that many ductwork systems in a residential home has 10 to 20% leakage. Why would someone want to install a new high-efficiency system and attach it to ductwork that has a air leakage rate of 10 to 20%. This is akin to watering your grass with a leaking water hose and only 80 to 90% percent of the water gets to the grass. Now add a cost to the water that is exorbitant for water and you are paying more than you should to water the grass. In the case of the ductwork you are paying for electric, gas, or oil for heating and cooling your home and none of those commodities are cheap. Fix those leaks in the ductwork and put that 10 to 20% in your pocket.
Ductwork Integrity & Insulation | HVAC Airflow | Ductwork in Flood Zones
Basically the ductwork should be well sealed and insulated. In flood zones the ductwork should be constructed and sealed good enough to prevent water from getting into the ducts in case of flooding. This can save you money in the event of flooding as if flooding occurs and the ductwork is sealed good enough to keep the water out you will only have to replace the insulation and not the whole duct system. That is far cheaper than replacing the entire ductwork system. Sealing the ductwork for water tight integrity will definitely ensure air-tight integrity and this will save you money on utilities for heating and cooling your home.
Ductwork insulation is also very important to prevent moisture issues and heat loss/heat gain. Moisture occurs when the air conditioner delivers saturated cold air that is below the dew point. If the ductwork insulation does not have a vapor barrier then moisture from the surrounding air will get into the insulation and sweating will occur. The ductwork insulation gets wet and slowly the water builds up and the insulation accumulates more water. Eventually, the ductwork insulation becomes waterlogged and the insulation falls off of the ductwork. Mold and mildew problems occur and the ductwork becomes unhealthy to the home. It is important to have good insulation the offers a vapor barrier to prevent these problems from occurring.
When you are replacing your HVAC equipment never overlook the ductwork. The HVAC contractor’s crew is there and doing the work so make sure the ductwork is taken care of or at a minimum checked for leaks and insulation vapor barrier. In the long run you will save money for having properly sealed and insulated ductwork. Energy saving duct work is as simple as making a check of the duct work and sealing the holes.