Keeping Your AC System Cleaner

Getting Your Ducts in a Row With A New AC Installation

by Yolanda White

Eventually, it happens to everyone – your AC system finally reaches the end of its lifespan. While it's sad to see an old friend go, it rarely makes sense to maintain a central air conditioner once repair costs start to exceed the costs of replacement. Fortunately, installing a new system can improve your home's comfort while bringing in higher-efficiency cooling and lower utility bills.

Installing a new AC unit is also an excellent time to evaluate the ductwork that carries cold air to each room. Replacing your ducts can be extremely expensive, however, so it's not something you'll want to do unless it's necessary. These three questions, along with a professional evaluation, will help you determine if a duct replacement may be worthwhile for your home's AC system.

1. Do You Have Persistent Air Quality Issues?

Air quality issues can originate from numerous sources, so condemning your ductwork shouldn't be your first move. Instead, you'll want to consider the ways that you're finding your air quality less than adequate. Are there detectable, moldy odors? Do you frequently suffer from allergies while inside your home? These questions can help pinpoint the source of the problem. 

Many options exist to improve your air quality, including whole-home purification systems or larger HVAC filters. You can discuss installing these devices as add-ons with your new AC system. Because of the high cost, you should only consider a significant ductwork renovation if you've already exhausted all other options for improving your air quality.

2. Have You Inspected Your Ducts?

An inspection is a valuable tool that can provide helpful information about your home's ductwork condition. Installers will typically check your ducts using an inspection camera and may also perform a leakage test to check for air loss. These two approaches can locate problems such as mold growth, physical damage, cracks, or restrictions.

Fortunately, you won't necessarily need to remove all of your ducts if you find a significant problem. Instead, you can usually repair the affected section to reduce leakage or remove restrictions. Dealing with these repairs before putting in your new equipment will ensure you get the best bang for your buck from your new AC system.

3. Are You Experiencing Air Distribution Problems?

Common symptoms of air distribution problems include hot and cold spots. These problems often result from insufficient flow into a room or zone, reducing comfort or forcing the system to run too long. You may also have too much airflow, creating cold spots and short-cycling your air conditioning equipment. Both issues can indicate a problem with the design of your ductwork.

In these cases, you may want to discuss the most cost-effective options with your installer. You may be able to remedy the problem by installing partial dampers or making minor modifications to your existing ductwork. As with other ductwork-related issues, completely removing and replacing your ductwork should only be a final option after exhausting other solutions. Contact a company like Vigil Air for more information.