Of all the things that you most likely think about with your home, your ductwork is probably the last thing on the list. After all, while problems can arise with your air conditioning unit, rarely do you ever have a problem with your ductwork, right?
Unfortunately, most homeowners don't realize that there's a problem with their duct system until it's too late. Whether there's a hole in the sides, a connection is loose, or it's just running inefficiently, one of the things you'll eventually need to think about is whether or not to replace your ductwork in its entirety. Most HVAC companies offer duct replacement as part of their slew of AC services; below are a few questions you need to ask yourself to see if it's the right fit for you.
How Old Is Your Ductwork?
Though every home is different, most air ducts last between ten to fifteen years. If your ductwork is reaching the midpoint of that lifespan, then it's worth it to consider replacing the entire system of ducts. As the years go on, deterioration will set in on the ducts, making them more susceptible to damage. While regular cleaning and maintenance will help preserve the life of your ductwork, standard air conditioning services only go so far before it's recommended that you install a new system.
Are You Replacing Your AC Unit?
Without a doubt, one of the best times to redo your home's ductwork is when you're getting a new AC unit installed. High-efficiency AC units are great, but if the ductwork is outdated or inefficiently laid out, you won't get nearly the same benefits as you would otherwise. In order for there to be maximum cooling efficiency, your ductwork needs to be as straight as possible and needs to fit the size of the unit. Ductwork that is too small or too complex can minimize the impact of a brand-new unit.
Are Your Energy Bills Going Up?
Generally speaking, your utility bill should remain the same from year to year. While you might see a slight average increase just because utility companies rates have gone up, your usage should stay about the same. Pull out your last several years' worth of statements; if you're noticing a rise in usage, that means air is being lost somewhere. The most common culprit is leaks or holes in your air ducts. Schedule an inspection with your local HVAC company to determine what AC services need to take place, and don't be surprised if they recommend new ductwork.