The duct system plays a pivotal role in HVAC systems. It ensures proper air distribution to all areas of a home or office. As a result, you can enjoy smooth ventilation and maintain a constant temperature throughout. But first, you must learn to maintain your HVAC duct system.
But interestingly, ducts are not only air passages. Instead, the duct design plays a crucial role in air conditioning and heating efficiency. As a result, it influences the lifespan and efficiency of your HVAC system too.
For instance, a leaky or damaged duct will reduce the cooling efficiency. Likewise, a clogged duct can obstruct airways, which leads to extra energy consumption for temperature control.
Therefore, duct system maintenance is just as important as any other part of your HVAC installation. In this post, we will look at some easy ways to maintain your HVAC duct and try to understand how it can help in the long run.
Understanding Duct Design Considerations
Before learning how to maintain your HVAC duct maintenance, it’s important to understand the factors that influence a duct’s design. Here are some key considerations that HVAC services make for efficient duct designs.
- Duct size and length when they are laid out
- Proper air supply to distant locations from the central air supplier
- Cross-sectional size and vent design
- Equal distribution of air to all parts of the building
- Equal reception of air from all parts of the building into the HVAC system
- Exposure of ducts to the outdoors and insulation
- Passage of air ducts through cavities or walls
Moreover, there are two important questions to ask yourself: Do your ducts have HVAC soundproofing? Does it amplify or suppress the sound from the HVAC system?
With these factors in mind, let’s find out how to maintain your HVAC duct system in the best possible manner. And the first step is to understand the lifespan of an air duct.
How Long Can an Air Duct Last?
The average life span of air ducts depends on several factors. Typically, an air duct should last for more than 15 years. However, proper maintenance and cleaning can enhance its life for up to 45 years and beyond.
Also, flexible ducts have a shorter lifespan than hard ducts. Generally, flexible ducts become saggy and restrict airflow after some time. Hence, proper maintenance is one of the essentials if you want to extract maximum performance from your air ducts.
Most duct maintenance procedures involve cleaning and the removal of obstructions from the airways. As a result, annual duct maintenance and inspection can save you thousands of dollars in HVAC installation repairs.
Generally, HVAC companies that offer maintenance services also provide duct cleaning and maintenance services to help consumers get better efficiency out of their HVAC systems.
Simple Tips for Duct Maintenance
Learning to maintain your HVAC duct is a relatively straightforward job unless you’re dealing with cracks, leakages, or broken ducts. Some of these problems occur due to weather conditions. For instance, too much humidity or extreme temperatures can damage your HVAC ducts.
But a major reason for duct issues is the lack of maintenance. Often, homeowners tend to overlook duct maintenance, considering it a permanent and maintenance-free part of the HVAC system.
Professional HVAC services, on the other hand, usually do full maintenance checks that include duct maintenance.
So, how can you ensure a properly working HVAC duct for your home? This is what you should do:
1. Clear Duct Obstructions
One of the major duct problems occurs due to blockages or obstructions in the ducts. When the air doesn’t get a sufficient path to travel, it can bounce back and cause problems with the airflow. But what causes obstructions inside the air ducts?
At times, there can be a buildup of dust and debris inside the duct airways that hinders airflow. Likewise, if you place any furniture or block the air vent, it disrupts the airflow. Eventually, it builds more pressure inside the ducts which doesn’t only disturb air circulation but also ends up damaging your other HVAC installations.
On top of that, it leads to inefficient energy consumption, which only makes things worse. That’s why. HVAC installation services in Fort Worth pay special attention to duct management to ensure low-energy consumption and flawless airflow throughout.
A blocked air vent has a major drawback for HVAC systems. As uncontrolled pressure builds up inside, it can lead to motor burnouts and costly damage to the HVAC equipment.
2. Seal Air Leakages
Primarily, air ducts are made from aluminum or steel. Hence, these materials shrink or expand with temperature changes, which means changes in size for the air ducts. Even with the most efficient air duct designs, there is always a chance of air leakage.
Typically, a normal home loses up to 30 percent of its HVAC system’s air through duct leakages. As you lose air, it only means more energy consumption and lower accuracy in temperature control. Eventually, temperature maintenance becomes more difficult.
This is where you must ensure proper air sealing to make sure that the air stays within your home’s thermal envelope. Other than leakages, the ducts can also lose air to wall cavities and crawl spaces.
Since air sealing requires professional skills, the best way to get long-lasting results is to talk to an HVAC maintenance company.
3. Thermal Insulation
Other than stopping leakages, thermal insulation is one major problem when it comes to temperature maintenance. Ideally, you would want to keep your ducts in a thermal envelope for efficient temperature management.
Thanks to a thermal envelope, you can maintain the internal temperature of the duct and the air passing through it. As a result, it reduces energy consumption and the load on the HVAC installations.
Insulation also stops heat from escaping through the walls and other open parts of the house, which makes it easier to control the temperature.
Insulation can be pivotal, especially when you live in extreme weather conditions. For instance, if you use your HVAC system throughout the year, insulation becomes even more important for controlling your energy bills.
4. UV Light Installation
Air quality is a primary concern for homes and offices. Due to climatic conditions, we can’t always rely on the quality of the outer air. And since the HVAC systems use this air for internal ventilation, it’s important to ensure air quality for everyone inside the building.
Generally, ducts remain unattended for long durations, which leads to the buildup of dirt and bacteria inside. So, installing UV lights could be a good option. Ultraviolet radiation kills bacteria and helps sterilize the air.
Moreover, it prevents the growth of mold and fungus inside the ducts. This is especially useful when your duct isn’t active throughout the year.
As a result, installing UV lights can improve air quality and help reduce health risks. Therefore, it’s a good idea to consult your HVAC service provider and ask them to install UV lights inside the ducts.
5. Get Your Ducts Tested
Duct testing ensures that the inner lining and walls can sustain the rated air pressure. Typically, HVAC services conduct rigorous testing of duct designs before installation to ensure that the material will hold up for the rated lifespan.
An HVAC air duct has a typical lifespan of up to 15 years. So, if your ducts are getting old, testing for air pressure can help reduce health and safety risks. Moreover, it prevents air leakage and insulation problems too.
Eventually, as you maintain your HVAC duct, it can help you save money in the long run, especially if it is used more frequently.
6. Don’t Cut Down Vents
Air vents have an important purpose in ensuring the quality of air ducts. At times, consumers cut down air vents just to save on HVAC costs, but it’s not the ideal thing to do. Remember, fewer air vents mean less space for the air to pass through.
So, you might think that having fewer air vents means less need for air conditioning and lower energy bills. However, it doesn’t reduce the amount of air that enters the ducts through your HVAC system. As a result, it can put unneeded pressure on the walls of the duct which could lead to punctures and serious damage.
Closing a vent adds pressure inside the duct, which isn’t ideal for your HVAC system and the ducts. So, you can also try adding a zoning system for your HVAC supply to control temperature on a room-by-room basis.
7. Ensure HVAC Duct Soundproofing
HVAC systems produce considerable amounts of noise, and that travels directly to your rooms. During a duct maintenance procedure, it’s a good idea to ask your HVAC company to install soundproofing systems too.
Typically, HVAC sound-dampening systems can considerably lower the noise that you receive through the air vents. Moreover, HVAC soundproofing is a critical element for noise-sensitive areas like hospitals and educational setups.
HVAC soundproofing typically involves installing sound filters and redesigning the airways so that they transmit the least amount of noise through the ducts to the air vents.
HVAC maintenance is an essential practice for ensuring flawless air conditioning and ventilation of your duct system throughout the year. An unclean air duct frequently causes safety hazards and can raise your energy bills. Moreover, dirty air ducts tend to have bacterial and fungal buildup, which poses genuine health risks. Therefore, learning how to maintain your HVAC duct and getting an annual duct cleaning service is an effective way out of these problems, and it’s generally quite cost-effective too.