Are Your Air Ducts Acting Confused?

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Confused Air Ducts

Are some of your vents very generous with the airflow, while others are very selfish with the airflow?

What’s up with that?

After all, if they are controlled by the same thermostat, they’re all connected to the same air handler, right?

Insulated Air Ducts

Yes, but…

Isn’t it frustrating to walk from room to room, only to feel temperature differences… sometimes big differences – in temperature?

It could be a function of several things, but one issue is very possible: Ducts with Problems!

What sort of problems would cause one vent to be generous with airflow, while the next vent is selfish with the airflow?

Here are four quick thoughts, all very common in the Atlanta houses I evaluate every week for our homeowners…

1. Poor Design. Air ducts only recently got the attention in the code books that they deserve. But if your house is over 10 years old, it was the wild, wild west for duct installers. You do know that your duct system wasn’t designed and installed by NASA technicians, right? Turns, twists, loops, hoop-de-dos, constrictions, and you name it … causes airflow to plummet in a flex duct system. In some houses, I want to say VERY Poor Design.

2. Leaks. Every joint or connection in your duct system has the potential to leak lots of air. The U.S. Government states that the average residential duct system in America is leaking 20 to 30% of the airflow! I’ve seen flex ducts that had been chewed up by rats so badly, that the fiberglass insulation was being blown out of the vents into the house! In new, high-performance homes the air leakage goal is 5%. What if that was the goal for the plumbing pipes in our houses… leaking 5% of the water and sewage under your home, every day… we’d never tolerate it.

3. Abuse. You know that recent big, heavy plumber you hired to work under your house? If he laid on your flex duct, while working… well – it’s been crushed so badly that it’s beyond repair and needs to be replaced. Or, the air duct cleaners were a little too aggressive with their tools… and you know what happens when people get in a hurry. Stuff breaks, tears, and starts leaking.

4. Stupidity. Last week, I saw a Supply Vent duct connected to the Return Plenum. The house was 12 years old, and nobody had discovered that the supply-air floor vent in the first floor foyer was actually hooked up to the return plenum! All it took was me climbing under the house, and paying attention.

Insulated Crawl Space

Here’s the good news…
My news isn’t nearly as good as John 3:16, but it’s good news nonetheless.

We Can Fix That! (Most of the time). There are exceptions & limitations to what we can fix with duct systems. But generally speaking, if we have access to the air ducts, we can improve them for you.

Where do I start?
It starts with a Duct Test. We’ll bring our Flowhood and test the airflow in your duct system, as well as visually evaluate your ducts based on your input, and more. This test is $395 per system.

How much does improving my air ducts cost?
Cost varies, based on several factors like, location of the ducts, how difficult it is to access the ducts, what type of ducts they are (flex, sheetmetal, duct-board), what the exact issue is with the ducts, and what your expectations are.
However, here are a few general guidelines for pricing your duct improvement(s):

Install a new vent in your ceiling, wall, or floor, and attach to your current air handler … $450
Resize or replace an air duct for reduced or increased airflow … $300
Seal and insulate your air duct system, using closed-cell spray foam insulation … ranges from $2400 to $3000 for most systems.

There’s enough confusion in the world we live in, without our air-ducts being part of the stress and anxiety in our lives. After all, shouldn’t we be comfortable in our homes?

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