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Owls In The Attic

air ducts
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Welcome back to another Friday edition of what’s in your attic.  We are just in the process of wrapping up a job in Boca Raton, Florida that is the inspiration for today’s piece, so we are going to spend a little time on ductwork and how to know without a doubt if you have a problem with yours.

Let’s start with an analogy. Tires are to a car what ductwork is to an air conditioning system. You just went and bought a flashy new 2016 tricked out Corvette, now I am going to take off those big wide tires and replace them with the little doughnut spares. Do you think the Vette is going to perform the way it was designed to? That said, if you have issues with the ductwork in your home, you can have the best, most expensive, inverting air conditioner with a variable speed communicating air handler, smart Wi-Fi thermostat, and every bell and whistle that you can get that won’t cool or dehumidify any better than two shiny bottom of the barrel boxes that blow cold air.

Ok, so back to our attic for a minute. The absolute surefire way to know what is going on with your ductwork is to have one of our awesome comfort consultants perform a thermal imaging inspection of your ductwork to demonstrate to you how much cold air you are losing to the attic. In the image above, you see an example of gray “Owl” ductwork. This is an example of one of several types of gray ductwork that was used throughout the 1980’s. What the manufacturer didn’t know at the time was that this type of duct covering was susceptible to heat and UV light deterioration, which makes it the perfect product for a South Florida attic (please note the sarcasm).

I don’t see Owl flex as much as I used to a few years back, because as with all things that have a manufacturers defect, many of these types of duct systems have already been replaced. If your home was built in the 1980’s take a peak in your attic. If you see ductwork that has a gray outer liner you may have Owl or another type of flex that is not doing the job it was designed for.  As a matter of fact, if your home is over ten years old and you have never done any maintenance to your ductwork, you know what’s coming right? Before I give you the call to action part of the program, I want you to do a small exercise for me. Go and count the supply air vents in your house, I’ll wait.

Ok, so now take however many supply vents you have and multiply it by 2.5. That on the average equals the number of connection points in your typical duct system. If your home has 12 supply vents that means that you have around 30 connection points in your attic to get the air from point A to point B. Again, my example house is 12 years old and the duct system has gone through 12 summers of 140 – 150 degree heat. I think it would be fair to say that after that kind of torture each one of our connections is leaking 1%. Let that sink in for a minute, 1% leakage at thirty connection points in the attic.

Ok kids, call to action! If you found gray flex duct in your attic, or you are just concerned that you are losing massive dollars to spaces that are supposed to be getting conditioned, I can be found at THW@artplumbingandac.com, or you can schedule an appointment with a couple of clicks at www.artplumbingandac.com and we are a phone call away at 1-800-475-1504. Until next week,

House Whisperer out!!

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