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May 5, 2023

Do You Need To Replace Ductwork When Replacing AC?

Replacing your old AC unit with a new and improved model provides a terrific way to stay cool during Greenwood, IN’s warm summer season. However, many homeowners don’t know if they need to replace their ductwork when installing a new air conditioning system. So, do you need to replace ductwork when replacing AC?

To teach you about AC and ductwork installation, Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing put together a short guide to teach everything you need to know about the process.

Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing is Greenwood’s AC installation experts. Our team specializes in exceptional heating and cooling services that allow you to stay cool and comfortable no matter the outside temperature. If you want to ensure you beat the heat this summer, contact Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing for all your air conditioning needs in Greenwood, IN.

Replacing Ductwork When Installing a New Air Conditioner: Is It Necessary?

Your home’s ductwork distributes chilled air throughout your home whenever you use your air conditioning system. The air conditioner and ductwork work together to maintain your desired indoor temperature and can adversely affect your comfort if one doesn’t function properly. As such, it’s essential to have quality ductwork and a first-class air conditioner to stay cool during the scorching summer season.

So, do you need to replace ductwork when replacing AC?

Fortunately, you don’t have to install new ductwork when upgrading your air conditioning system. Most HVAC specialists can connect your air conditioner to your home’s existing ductwork if it isn’t in poor condition. However, inadequate ductwork can significantly hinder the AC unit’s performance, making it difficult to cool your home during the dog days of summer.

Many HVAC technicians recommend installing new ductwork after replacing your air conditioner to ensure optimal efficiency and even air distribution. Some modern AC units require updated air ducts to operate at their highest efficiency level, making it ideal to install new ductwork. However, sometimes experienced technicians can modify older ducts to match your unit’s requirements.

Your HVAC specialist will evaluate your ductwork and determine if you need to install a new duct system after replacing your air conditioning unit.

Signs You Need To Replace Your Ductwork when Installing a New AC System

Figuring out if you need to replace your ductwork before installing a new air conditioner isn’t always easy. Fortunately, most exhibit signs that alert you when to replace the system. Let’s review some common indications of failing or faulty ductwork.

The Ductwork Is Older Than the Air Conditioner

Most air conditioning systems last ten to 15 years before needing a replacement. However, modern air conditioners typically need newer ductwork to function correctly. Old ductwork will hinder the AC unit’s performance if it doesn’t correlate with the air conditioner’s operation requirements.

If your air ducts are ten years older than your air conditioner, consider replacing them when installing your new unit.

The Ductwork Is Too Big or Too Small for the Air Conditioner

Air conditioners come in several sizes and need ductwork to match their dimensions. Improperly sized ductwork will drastically reduce the unit’s efficiency and skyrocket your monthly utility bills. You will spend more money on subpar cooling if your ducts don’t correlate with your air conditioner’s size.

Talk to your HVAC technician to ensure your ducts match your AC unit’s size. They will determine the best solution to ensure your home receives quality cooling year-round.

Ductwork Damage

Ductwork often experiences wear and tear that prevents even air distribution. Holes and fissures can form over time and cause cool air to escape into attics, crawl spaces, and other unconditioned areas. Although heating and cooling specialists can repair ductwork, we recommend replacing the entire system if it experiences excessive damage.

New air ducts ensure even air distribution and optimal efficiency. Air won’t escape through corroded areas, ensuring your home stays cool during the hottest summer days. The reduced air loss will also decrease your monthly utility bills, furthering the benefits.

Foul-Smelling Odors

Dust, dirt, debris, and other contaminants often collect in old ductwork over time, creating a foul-smelling musty scent throughout your home. Sometimes mold and mildew form in humid areas within the ducts, worsening the odor while generating health concerns. Mold spores dramatically reduce your home’s indoor air quality and can cause numerous health problems, including:

  • Enhanced allergy symptoms
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchiness
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Difficulty breathing

The mold spores will continue to spread until you replace the ductwork or eradicate them. If you notice a foul-smelling odor stemming from your air ducts, contact a heating and cooling specialist to examine them and replace the ductwork if necessary.

Pest Infestations

Rodents and insects often enter ductwork and wreak havoc on their structure. They cause extensive structural damage that reduces their efficiency and your home’s interior comfort. Some will leave behind urine and droppings that taint your home’s indoor air.

If you don’t address pest infestations swiftly, they will overtake your home and potentially spread to other parts of the house. If your air ducts experience a pest infestation, replace them as soon as possible.

A Sudden Surge in Energy Bills

Again, poor air ducts can’t distribute conditioned air efficiently, causing your monthly utility payments to soar. Structural damage, excess debris, and poor insulation reign as the primary culprits of increased utility bills, but other ductwork issues can cause them to rise as well.

If you notice a sudden surge in your monthly energy costs, hire a professional to inspect your ductwork and see if a replacement is necessary.

Uneven Air Distribution

Sometimes poor ductwork will create hot and cold spots within your home, cooling one room without cooling another. Improperly sized air ducts and leaks within their structure often lead to uneven air distribution, making it difficult to stay comfortable during hot afternoons. Upgrading the ductwork often fixes uneven air distribution and allows you to beat the heat all summer long.

Rattling or Whistling Sounds Coming From the Ducts

Most air conditioning systems produce whistling noises when blockages form within the ductwork. It can also signify structural damage and reduces the unit’s effectiveness.

Sometimes inadequate duct installation will cause rattling sounds due to excess pressure within the system. This prevents proper airflow and will sometimes create a high-pitched sound. These issues will further ductwork damage and even increase your energy costs.

Always address unusual noises within your ductwork as soon as they arise. It will help you repair or replace your air ducts before the issues spiral out of control.

The Ductwork Is 15 Years Old or Older

Residential ductwork often has double the lifespan of traditional air conditioners and requires a replacement every 30 years. Since most people replace their AC units every 15 years, it’s best to consider replacing the ductwork at the same time to ensure superior performance. Although 15-year-old ductwork isn’t outdated, it’s more prone to issues that will require costly repairs later on.

Installing new ductwork every time you replace your air conditioner offers a surefire way to ensure optimal operations and exceptional indoor air quality.

Benefits of Replacing Ductwork When Installing a New Air Conditioner

When people ask, “Do you need to replace ductwork when replacing AC units?” most AC installers will recommend it if the homeowner wants to get the most out of their new air conditioner. However, replacing them at the same time provides several other benefits that will take your interior comfort to new heights. Upgrading your ductwork and air conditioner together gives you the following benefits:

Improved Indoor Air Quality

Maintaining optimal indoor air quality helps your family stay healthy throughout the year. Installing new air ducts ensures your home receives fresh, clean air whenever you use your new AC unit, decreasing the chances of someone becoming sick within your home.

Enhanced Energy Efficiency

New ductwork allows your air conditioner to operate at its highest efficiency level. In contrast, poor or overly dirty air ducks restrict airflow and diminish your unit’s effectiveness. If you want your new air conditioner to reach its full potential, consider replacing your ductwork when installing the system.

Reduces Repair Frequency

Replacing old ductwork before it experiences significant damage will prevent you from wasting money on unnecessary repairs. Since outdated air ducts become more susceptible to breaking down, it’s best to install a new system when replacing your air conditioner. Although installing new ductwork costs more initially, it will help you save money over time.

Contact Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing for High-Quality Ductwork Installation in Greenwood, IN

Next time you ask yourself, “Do you need to replace ductwork when replacing AC?” contact Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing. Our team will install industry-leading ductwork while helping you replace your air conditioning system. Whether you need to replace your AC unit and ductwork or want to know about heat pumps vs. air conditioners, we have you covered.

Give Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing a call at (317) 563-8122 and receive unmatched heating and cooling services in Greenwood, IN, today!