Tuesday, May 05, 2009

4 Keys to a Duct System

Starting this week with the Filter Post we have been examining some of the pieces and components of your HVAC system that need to be maintained for your system to continue to work with your equipment. Today's component is your Duct System.

Some heating and air conditioning systems have been in for years. At some point there will come a time when your equipment will fail and you will have to purchase replacements. However, some of the support system can go bad long before the equipment if it is installed badly. It can also go bad if it is not good material, or is not well sealed.

4 Main Causes Duct Systems Fail or Go bad.

  1. Poor Installation
  2. Poor Materials
  3. Poor Duct Sealing
  4. Not Changing Filters
Proper installation is the first most important part of a duct system. Anyone can say they know how to put a duct system in, however, this is not the case. I have seen 5 foot runs be made with 25 feet of material because a contractor was in to big of a hurry to make one cut. That one cut could mean loads of work taken off the shoulders of the equipment over its years of service

Another important part is the use of good materials. Some materials are so poorly manufactured that they can crumble in just a few years. Take for example the picture to the right of plastic coated ducting in an attic.

When a duct system is installed it is important to be sure that all joints and seems be sealed. This is done with either real DUCT TAPE which is primarily either Polyken or Venture Tape and a heavy duty zip tie. The tape you see in the local hardware store with the little duck on it is not real DUCT TAPE. Another means of sealing ducts is with mastic, which is a water based paste that is painted on metal to metal seems to dry and form leak proof seals. There are other ways that ducts are sealed but those are the main two.

Bad joints can cause you to spend extra money heating or cooling your attic or crawlspace. The poor seals can slowly spread, and some high static systems can actually blow their ducts apart where they come off the unit if not sealed together properly.

The fourth way for a duct system to fail is for the customer to neglect their filter changes. The importance of your filter was stressed in the previous article, and will be again here. Allowing dust to buildup in your system can even cause the best duct systems to clog over time. When this happens it can call for a complete duct system cleaning, or a complete replacement if the material has deteriorated over time due to poor maintenance.

So Here is a list to assure you have a good duct system installed when the time comes.

  1. Hire a Licensed Contractor with a high BBB accreditation
  2. Ask if the contractor uses quality materials (Get Names and Google Them)
  3. Ask for pictures of previous work (If they don't have any walk away)
  4. Ask for a list of references
  5. Ask if they have a website or a blog to review them

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