Much Ado About Ducts: What To Do Before Replacing Your AC

Upgrading an old air conditioning unit can bring many benefits to your household. Newer, more efficient models can save you money on operating costs, and owning a system that's still under warranty can provide peace of mind. If your home already has a central air conditioning system, then you won't need to worry about the expense of retrofitting air ducts into an older home.

Of course, that doesn't mean that you should ignore your ductwork altogether. Your ductwork is a crucial part of your home's HVAC system, and you won't be able to realize the benefits of new equipment if your ducts are a disaster. If you're about to install a whole new AC system, make sure you handle these three ductwork must-dos first.

1. Evaluate Your Current Ductwork Design

One of the first things you should do when installing any new air conditioner is to evaluate your current ductwork design. Unfortunately, not all builders put the same level of care into home construction, which means many houses have suboptimal air duct layouts. Poor HVAC system design can lead to hot and cold spots, inefficient operation, and even poor air quality.

Ripping out and replacing your home's ductwork can be expensive, but it's still worth knowing about any issues. Be sure to have a frank conversation with your installer about any problems they discover so that you can weigh the costs versus the benefits. Even if you decide to keep poorly designed ductwork in place, at least you'll be aware of its impact on your air conditioner's operation.

2. Check for Leaks

Leaky ducts can create numerous problems for a new air conditioning system. Not only do they reduce system efficiency, but they can provide a path for dust and other contaminants. Leaky ducts may already be costing you money, and they can produce many of the same symptoms as a poorly designed HVAC system.

You should never leave a leaky air duct system unaddressed. Always repair any leaks that you can discover to ensure that your new equipment can operate as efficiently as possible.

3. Inspect and Clean

Air duct cleaning as a regular maintenance service has questionable benefits, but it's helpful in some circumstances. Mold buildup is one such situation. Older air conditioning systems can sometimes struggle to remove humidity from the air, leading to mold growth in the ductwork. If you're replacing such a system, you should consider a thorough inspection to detect mold in your air ducts.

While you can probably safely ignore a light layer of dust, be sure to schedule a professional cleaning if your inspection turns up any mold. Removing mold now will prevent your new air conditioning system from distributing spores throughout your home.

For more information about AC installation, contact a local HVAC contractor.