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40 Year Old A/C Ducts

July 20, 2010

Leonard stopped by my house to check out our air conditioning issue.  By the time I got home he had already been under the house to have a look.  He was standing near the front gate when I got home and as we walked into the house he told me the bad news.  He told me there was condensation on most of the duct work her surveyed and also saw it pooled on the trunk. The reason this was happening was because the insulation around the ductwork and in the trunk was thin and old. 

Leonard estimated the duct work and trunk to be about 40 years old.  It was originally part of an over/under system and had not been replaced when the outside unit was purchased.  As a result time had begun to take a toll on the duct work and he said it needed to be replaced. 

There were two options for replacing the duct work.  One was to keep it under the floor while the second consisted of putting it in the attic and cutting new vents into the ceiling. The second option depended on there being enough room in the attic so Leonard and I had to head up there to check things out.  If it was 95 degrees outside it had to be 110 in the attic and I was dripping sweat as we climbed back down into the house.

Luckily, Leonard said there was enough room in the attic for the duct work and new trunk.  He suggested that this would be the best thing to do since the vents could be laid out in a better manner and provide for better air flow.  Our current vents sit under furniture and are positioned near the windows which is not optimal for heating or cooling.  Leonard also noted that the new duct work would save us some money on our electric bill as it would not be riddled with holes like our current antique ducts.

I am happy that Leonard came out to look things over.  He is going to get a quote from his office and have it emailed to me later in the week.  I am looking forward getting it as soon as possible so we can budget money for the repairs and get this problem fixed. 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2010 4:55 pm

    Last year I attended a Continuing education class for my contractor’s license. The guy who teaches it spends a lot of time on making houses more energy efficient when renovating or building new ones. one of the interesting things he talked about were ductless AC systems.
    From what he said, ductless systems are more efficient. If installing ducts in the attic, foam insulation should be applied to the backside of the roof sheeting and the entire attic space be insulated. Regardless of how old your old subterranean ducting was, it was at the bottom of the house where it has less chance to soak up the heat that builds in the attic.
    I know that if I were presented with the choice of replacing the attic AC ducts in my house, I’d look at insulating and sealing the entire attic space. It seems asinine to insulate the attic space and leave the ducts up in the hot attic space. I notice that when it’s really hot and my AC cycles on after the ducts have been soaking in the attic heat, a great deal of hot air comes out before any cooler air does.

  2. August 5, 2010 8:58 pm

    Thanks for you advice! I really don’t have a choice though. The a/c ducts under the floors are damaging our hardwood and we have to do something asap. Plus, the majority of the vents are under furniture so the house doesn’t heat/cool that well. I know there are negatives to having it in the attic but the alternative of new floors is way more $$$.

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