New HVAC needs new ductwork, too

You’re considering a new system that will provide better heating, cooling and ventilation while being more energy efficient and less harmful to the atmosphere than your old system.

So far, so good.

Just remember that you should get new ductwork, too.

That’s because understanding of ductwork has grown along with HVAC knowledge in general.

You will need ducts that can handle the added airflow that new HVAC delivers.

And you will want other improvements not understood 10 or 20 or 30 years ago. That means a return vent to work with a supply vent and ductwork installed in conditioned spaces where it won’t lose as much temperature. Also, we now know we should keep ducts away from garages and crawl spaces that can enable dirt to enter the system.

Making decisions

When hiring a contractor, make sure he understands ductwork as well as heating and air conditioning.

Ductwork will be one of the issues a contractor can help you consider when you are making decisions. Poor ductwork installation is often the cause of problems associated with a new HVAC system, according to the Department of Energy.

Some of the most valuable information will come from calculations made according to manuals provided by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, which sets best practices for the industry.

Manual J calculations explore the heat gain or heat loss for each room and estimate the amount of conditioned air needed. Manual D calculations show how the ductwork should be laid out to properly handle air flow requirements.

Beware of any contractor unwilling or unable to perform these calculations.

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