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HVAC Ductwork Repairs in Austin, TX

Your ductwork can either maximize the comfort and efficiency you get from your HVAC system or limit it – sometimes to a (literally) severe degree. That’s why it’s important that ductwork be considered during any AC repair or replacement assessment. Even the shiniest, most energy efficient air conditioner on the market will be hindered by compromised ducts. In this guide, we’ll walk you through these topics:

  • What Are the Signs You Need HVAC Ductwork Repair or Replacement?
  • Common, Effective Ductwork Repairs
  • Should Air Ducts Be Cleaned?
  • What Ductwork Services/Products Can Efficient Provide?
  • How Does Efficient Evaluate Existing Ductwork?

Let’s dive in!

What Are the Signs You Need HVAC Ductwork Repair or Replacement?

Ductwork can last decades if installed correctly and not disturbed. Degradation occurs with external damage (people accidentally stepping on it), UV light exposure, long-term heat exposure and poor quality materials. Most homes have ductboard and flexible ducting, which is easier to install and less expensive than metal duct. It is also more fragile and less durable.

Common visible signs of damage include cracks, leaks that cause deterioration, and sagging. This damage is often caused by people, pets or pests. When this happens, the ductwork should be repaired or replaced, and the cause should be addressed to prevent future damage.

Aside from these visual signs, another indication that ductwork repair or replacement is needed is reduced performance. This is harder to assess, as it is typically a slow degradation (years) of performance while the HVAC system is still functioning to specifications. However, it usually falls into these categories:

  • Financial – Increases in electric bills, at times with no utility rate increases, or just “high” utility bills. A typical home of 2500 square feet and average construction may have a peak electric bill of $250/month, while a poorly performing home of the same size may be $500. However, there are many variables to consider. These include temperature settings, home usage, insulation quality, HVAC machine age and efficiency, specific utility rate, and other drivers (pools, ground lighting, auxiliary electric heaters, dryer use, etc.).
  • Comfort – While the HVAC unit may be functioning properly, the home performance may be lacking. Hot or cold rooms, lack of airflow to some areas, and high noise levels are signs.
  • Health – Dirt, dust and smells. While some dirt, dust and spotting on grilles happens in most homes – particularly around cooking or shower areas – these should not be significant. Sensitivities and allergies flaring up can be a sign that air is not properly filtered, and contaminants are not controlled by the HVAC system. Excess dust accumulation on surfaces and on the air filter may be a sign of leakage. Mold or mildew spotting on grilles and other surfaces should be assessed. The cause may be as simple as failure to use exhaust fans, non-functioning exhaust fans or even consistently dirty air filters.

Common, Effective HVAC Ductwork Repairs

If the ductwork is in good condition but was not installed with best practices, a few simple air duct repairs or modifications can make a big difference. For example:

Making sure connections, joints and penetrations are properly sealed is important for preventing air leaks and maintaining the efficiency and performance of the HVAC system.

  • Connection – Where different sections of ductwork, fittings or components are joined together. This can include connections between duct sections, connections to HVAC units, connections to vents or registers, and connections to other fittings.
  • Joint – A length of ductwork. If your system is ductboard, rectangular metal or round snap lock, flat sheets are cut and formed into a rectangle or rolled into round to make a joint. Where the pieces of ductwork join, the seam needs to be sealed. If your system is made of flexible duct, there are no seams to join or seal.
  • Penetration – Where the duct passes through walls, ceilings, floors, or other barriers. It involves the openings or holes made to allow the duct to go through these structures.

Making sure grilles are properly sized is another simple fix. It’s important for:

  • Airflow Efficiency: Properly sized grilles ensure that the correct amount of air flows through the system. Undersized grilles can restrict airflow, leading to reduced efficiency and increased energy consumption, while oversized grilles can cause uneven air distribution and discomfort​.
  • Comfort: Grilles that are correctly sized help distribute air evenly throughout the space, providing consistent temperatures and improving overall comfort. Incorrectly sized grilles can lead to hot or cold spots and inadequate ventilation
  • System Longevity: Properly sized grilles reduce the strain on HVAC components. When airflow is restricted due to undersized grilles, the system has to work harder, which can lead to premature wear and tear on parts like the blower motor and compressor​​.
  • Noise Reduction: Appropriately sized grilles can help minimize noise. Restricting airflow with undersized grilles can cause whistling and other noises as the air is forced through narrow openings,
  • Air Quality: Ensuring proper airflow with correctly sized grilles aids in better filtration and ventilation, which can improve indoor air quality by effectively removing contaminants and distributing fresh air throughout the space​.

Efficient offers a 1-year parts and labor warranty for ductwork. This warranty covers any disconnections or leaks at connection points (excluding damage from external factors like rodents or water).

Should Air Ducts Be Cleaned?

In short, a properly installed and maintained air duct system should generally not need cleaning. At Efficient, our policy is not to recommend cleaning ductwork – particularly for ductboard and flexible duct. It can easily be damaged in areas that are hard to see. Externally-lined metal ductwork can be cleaned with little risk of damage; however, it may not be necessary.

What HVAC Ductwork Services and Products Can Efficient Provide?

Efficient will provide all duct-related services except cleaning. We can perform repairs or replacements to fiberglass, flexible and metal duct. We can also do any type of ventilation ducting, kitchen hood ducting and high-temperature applications. Most specialty ducting is metal, either galvanized, black iron, stainless steel or aluminum, all of which we can handle.

Efficient executes many commercial construction projects each year, with ductwork built to print or designed and built by us. Our fabrication shop produces ductwork for many jobs that are not ours to install (though we could). In fact, approximately 75% of our duct systems are sold to other HVAC companies to install in Central and South Texas. Because we have our own fabrication shop, we’re able to build solutions to fit each unique property.

How Does Efficient Evaluate Existing Ductwork?

Efficient will perform a visual inspection of the ductwork installation to evaluate both its quality and condition. We’ll use technology – such as cameras for hard-to-see areas, and probes and lasers for temperature readings – when it is necessary. However, most of the time it is not, and we won’t utilize extra tools and time just to run up the bill. We would rather spend that time and money on the repair or replacement. If the ductwork is not in good condition and/or was not installed with good practices, replacement of all or part of it can yield better results in efficiency and comfort than system replacement.

HVAC Ductwork Repair: Key Takeaways

If there is visible damage to your ductwork or you are experiencing reduced HVAC system performance, consider having your ductwork assessed for repair or replacement. The solution may be as simple as properly sealing your ductwork or installing correctly sized grilles. If complete replacement is necessary, Efficient’s skilled team of HVAC specialists and fabricators can work together to design and build custom ductwork for your property. Whatever is needed to make your indoor environment more comfortable – ductwork repair or replacement, or AC maintenance, repair or replacement – we are here to help. Call us today at 512-501-2275, or fill out our quick contact form to request an appointment.

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