When replacing your ducted air conditioning unit, should you also replace the ductwork? Can you re-use the installed ductwork for your new air conditioner? These are commonly asked questions, and here is a brief look at what you should know on the subject.
Condition of the Ductwork Matters
Over time, the seams and joints on your ductwork can come apart, leaving leaks that will reduce your system's efficiency. During the hot summer season, condensation may also form on the ducts, resulting in rust that may eat away at the metal and leave leaky holes. Lastly, the ductwork may begin to sag and block airflow if not properly supported.
These are some of the likely reasons why your existing ductwork may not be in the best condition. If a thorough assessment reveals that the ducts are in good condition, then you can re-use them and save on the cost of installing your new ducted air conditioning system.
Consider New Unit's Airflow Requirements
HVAC technology has greatly evolved over the last few years. Today's units are very efficient, and even if in great condition, your old ductwork may not be able to match the higher airflow demands of the newer units.
Before installing your ducted air conditioning unit, several calculations must be done as part of the system design and planning phase. These calculations include airflow requirements, which, in turn, will determine the best layout for your ductwork. If the existing ductwork does not meet this threshold, re-using the ducts may not be an option worth considering since they will not work as efficiently with the new unit.
Costs within the Bigger Picture
With a new ducted air conditioning system installation, you will no doubt look for insulation that's better than that on your current ductwork. If you insist on re-using the less-insulated unit, then you should also be ready to contend with using more power, and by extension, paying a higher utility bill. You may want to compare that with the upfront costs you will incur for laying new ducts for the new ducted air conditioning system.
Inspection and Expert's Say
The highlights outlined, however non-technical, might be too abstract for the average property owner or manager. To make an informed decision about whether to go one way or the other, schedule for an HVAC expert with experience in ducted air conditioning to have a look at your ductwork. You can trust an expert's assessment and recommendation about whether to re-use or replace your existing ductwork.