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  • Insulated Flexible Duct Decisions: Price Considerations for Cost-Savvy Customers

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    In last week’s post, we talked about the performance considerations that homeowners and home builders must make when choosing between insulated flexible duct options. When it comes to the choice between products, cost is often the other major factor that you may be considering. Whether you’re trying to optimize the heating and cooling system in your own home or working to meet the needs of your clients as a home builder, it is important to ensure that the duct you choose falls within your short-term and long-term budget. There are two main factors that affect the prices of insulated flexible ducts: diameter and R-value. Read on to learn more about the direct (and indirect) costs (and savings) associated with each.

    The Impacts of Duct Diameter and R-Value on Cost

    In general, the lengths of insulated flexible ducts are standardized around 25 feet, regardless of their diameter. That way, you always have the option of cutting the duct to whatever length you  need. As duct diameter increases, so does the amount of insulation in a 25-foot-long duct, which explains the simultaneous increase in price. When you think about buying a duct with a larger diameter, you also have to consider the cost of the supports that you will need to prevent the duct from sagging when you install it. Ideally, you want to prevent the duct from sagging by more than about two-and-a-half inches, so with large-diameter ducts, you should plan to us a support every four feet.

    As you consider the upfront costs of ducts, the other key factor is the R-value. The R-value indicates the effectiveness of the insulation, with a higher R-value associated with higher effectiveness. Insulated flexible ducts can range between R4 and R8, and the price increases for higher R-values. At the same time, choosing a duct with a higher R-value may save you money in the long run--especially if you live in a cold area--since ducts with higher R-values are more effective for trapping heat and can therefore help lower your energy bills.

    The Relationship between R-Value and Duct Diameters: Ratings vs. True R-Values

    When you’re thinking about energy savings, it is also important to acknowledge the interplay between R-value and duct diameter. A duct with a 6-inch diameter and a duct with a 14-inch diameter may both be rated R6, but the true R-value -- that is, the true effectiveness of the insulation for retaining heat -- is higher for the 14-inch duct, simply because the larger amount of material makes it harder for heat to escape. That means that R-value ratings are can only truly be compared for ducts of the same diameter. Therefore, the discrepancy between R-value ratings and true R-values is another factor that you should keep in mind as you weigh the short-term and long-term financial costs of different insulated flexible duct options.
    At National Air Warehouse, you can find competitively priced insulated flexible ducts with R6 and R8 ratings, ranging in diameter from 4 inches to 20 inches. Contact us today for more help finding the right one for your project!

  • Choosing Between Insulated Flexible Duct Options for Your Home: Performance Considerations for Homeowners and Home Builders

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    Last week on the blog, we talked about installing and/or replacing ducts in a mobile home. Today, we’re going to discuss the insulated flexible ductwork choices that can work for any type of home or business. For home builders who are looking to install ductwork for the first time or homeowners who are looking to repair ducts that are faulty and/or damaged, it is important to recognize the differences between the different options on the market -- and what these differences mean in terms of the performance of the product.

    How R-Value Affects the Performance of an Insulated Flexible Duct

    When you are considering the performance of insulated flexible ducts, the measure you want to look at is the thermal resistance, also known as the R-value. The R-value is a measure of the effectiveness of the insulation. For an insulated flexible duct, this value is determined by factors such as the composition of the insulation material, its thickness, and its density. A higher R-value means that the insulation will be more effective, which is particularly important in cold climates, where high-level insulation performance is essential in order to keep the building warm when temperatures drop below freezing.

    The Performance Benefits of a Metalized Jacket for an Insulated Flexible Duct

    Another aspect of an insulated flexible duct that can play a role in its performance is its metalized jacket. You’ll find metalized jackets offered on insulated flexible ducts for most types of buildings because they offer protective benefits. Specifically, the metalized jacket can keep water out, which reduces the risk that moisture will interfere with the functioning of your heating and cooling system. The metalized jacket also provides a protective barrier against other potential sources of damage to the duct, such as dust buildup or animals that chew through the insulation.

    Some metalized jackets, commonly known as “silver jackets,” have an additional performance benefit -- they absorb noise. For homeowners who are looking to stifle disruptive sounds, a silver flex metalized jacket noise absorption is a significant performance benefit when choosing between insulated flexible ducts. If your vision of top-performing ductwork is a duct that supports a quiet atmosphere, a duct with a silver metalized jacket is probably your best option.

     

    National Air Warehouse offers high-performing flexible ducts that can meet the needs of any homeowner or home builder. Contact us today for more information about our products!

  • The Costs and Benefits of Replacing a Centralized Heating and Cooling System with a Ductless System

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    Traditionally, ductless air conditioners are used in single-room settings, such as a room addition or garage conversion. However, some homeowners today are considering replacing their entire centralized heating and cooling systems with an entirely ductless system. This approach is unusual, but it is becoming increasingly popular as concerns about energy efficiency grow. Read on for more information that can help you decide if going entirely ductless is the right choice for your home.

    The Benefits of an Entirely Ductless System

    There are two main reasons why homeowners today are deciding to replace their centralized heating and cooling systems with ductless systems: environmental concerns and energy costs. As the threat of climate change grows , many homeowners are looking for ways to lower their carbon footprint. Cost-savvy homeowners are also looking to find ways to lower their monthly energy bills. Replacing a centralized heating and cooling system with a ductless alternative can accomplish both goals. Consider the following realities:

    • By some estimates, about 25 percent of the energy generated in a centralized heating and cooling system gets lost to the ductwork -- a non-issue with ductless systems.
    • The inner workings of a ductless system are inherently conducive to energy savings. In a centralized heating and cooling system, the compressor turns on and off in response to changes in the system’s needs, but with a ductless system, the compressor only speeds up or slows down, which is less energy-intensive.

    Homeowners may also opt to make the switch from to a fully ductless system if there are varying climate control needs in different parts of the home. For instance, in a home where several renters each have a room but share a central living area, a ductless system can enable each tenant to choose the temperature of their own room. For empty-nesters whose kids have left for college and who rarely spend time in rooms other than the kitchen, living room, and master bedroom, it simply doesn’t make sense to use a centralized heating system that unnecessarily keeps empty rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

    The Upfront Costs of Ductless Systems

    The primary deterrent for homeowners who are considering replacing a centralized system with a ductless system is the upfront cost. Depending on the cooling capacity, cooling efficiency, and brand, a ductless air conditioner can range in cost from around $1000 to around $3,300. The energy savings may make up for the upfront costs in the long-run, but you have to recognize that adopting an entirely ductless heating and cooling system for your home is going to be a significant initial investment.
    Whether you are looking for a ductless system for a single room or for multiple rooms in your home, National Air Warehouse offers a wide range of high-quality products. Contact us today for more information!

  • Understanding Insulation Ratings for Duct Replacements: A Guide for Home Remodelers

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    If you are a home remodeler, you might find yourself needing to replace the ducts in existing HVAC systems. Whether the duct is in an attic, a basement, or a crawlspace, the wear-and-tear of long-term usage can damage the duct, resulting in leaks that cause air to escape before it can be released into the home. In many cases, ducting needs to be replaced as part of a larger home remodel, in order to ensure that a comfortable climate can be maintained in all rooms of the house.

    While the ductwork in an older home may be uninsulated, most of the replacement ducts on the market today are insulated. When you consider the options, you will find that different ducts have different insulation ratings, which are expressed as R-values. You need to understand what the R-value means in order to choose the right one for your home remodeling project.

    Thermal Resistance (R-Value) Definition

    The United States Department of Energy defines thermal resistance, also known as R-value, as “the insulating material’s resistance to conductive heat flow.” Put more simply, the R-value measures the effectiveness of the insulation material. A material with a higher R-value is a better insulator. Some of the factors that influence R-value include the composition of the insulation material, the thickness of the material, and its density.

    The Right R-Value for a Home Remodeling Project

    When deciding how high the R-value needs to be for the home remodeling project that you are currently working on, the two main things you need to consider are the climate zone in which you are working and the location of the ducting within the home.

    • For homes that are located in a COLD CLIMATE, a high R-value is extremely important. If the ducting is located in an attic, the R-value should be between R6 and R11. For ducting located in a crawlspace or unheated basement, anywhere from R2 to R11 will probably suffice.
    • For homes that are located in a MIXED CLIMATE, a high R-value is slightly less important, but it can help to save the homeowner money during the colder months. If the ducting is located in an attic, an R-value between R4 and R8 is sufficient. The range expands if the ducting is located in a crawlspace or unheated basement; anywhere from R2 to R8 will probably work.
    • For homes that are located in a WARM CLIMATE, you should still be looking for replacement ducts with R-values between R4 and R8 if the ducting is located in the attic. If the ducting is located in a crawlspace or unheated basement, you can probably get away with no insulation at all, but to be on the safe side and help save the homeowner money, most home remodelers choose ducting with an R2 or R4 value.

    If you’re looking to purchase ducting for your home remodeling project, National Air Warehouse offers options with R-values ranging from R4 to R8. Contact us today for more information about our products!

  • Switching Over to the Warm Months

    With such extreme changes in temperature, your heating and cooling units benefit from annual service checks. Plus, you are more likely to catch any minor issues before they turn into bigger ones. Add a checkup to your spring cleaning list to make sure your house is ready to handle the heat.

    A spring tune-up will provide some very important monetary benefits, especially if your system has been neglected for some time. As your technician runs a thorough check of your equipment, he will adjust loose parts, lubricate moving components, and clean dirty areas. Potential problems can be diagnosed so that preventive repairs can be completed before summer. Following are some specific ways in which your budget can benefit:

    Dirty inside and outside coils can represent up to 30 percent of your cooling expenses. A thorough cleaning makes it easier for air to flow inside, for proper cooling levels to be reached, and for your compressor to operate without stress.
    Low refrigerant can add 20 percent or more to the energy usage needed for cooling your home. A recharge is important to protect your compressor, but fixing any leaks is equally important to avoid a continued problem with refrigerant levels.
    Leaky ducts can add another 20 percent to the total cost to cool your home. Energy loss is already an issue in this portion of your system, and duct sealing is a priority to keep those costs lower.

    Another major issue addressed through spring HVAC maintenance is the condition of your indoor air. Dirty ducts and coils can aggravate your allergies or other respiratory issues. If you are sensitive to mold, you need to recognize that an unmaintained air handler is a huge problem, providing a place for mold and bacteria to increase with ease. Annual cleaning improves the condition of this area, and your technician can also discuss the benefits of a UV lamp for killing the materials in this space.

    Duct cleaning may not need to occur annually, but a duct inspection is helpful for establishing information about the condition of the area. Your ducts can harbor many kinds of pests, and droppings and dander can also trigger your allergies as your cooling system is operated.

    Making sure you get ready for spring and summer is must do after the winter months have come to an end. Hopefully this information will be helpful when getting your HVAC system ready.

  • Misconceptions About Your HVAC System

    People are often uneducated about their HVAC system. Many do not have the knowledge of the proper upkeep or things you need to do to maintain your system. Everyone wants to save energy and spend as little as possible and heating and air conditioning and having some know how may be all you need to do so. Here are some common myths and misconceptions about your HVAC system.

     

    You may hear the not using your system will keep it working longer or improve the HVAC system’s lifespan. This is actually incorrect. If you do not use your system dust and dirt may begin to collect. This can cause problems in your system so regular use is actually recommended.

     

    Turning on a fan is a great way to lower your energy bills if you find that you’re turning on the AC too often, but fans don’t cool down rooms in the same way that air conditioners do. AC units work by cooling down the air in the room, but fans produce cooling effects because the increased air circulation allows the sweat on your skin to evaporate faster, thus cooling down your body faster and making the room a little more comfortable. If you aren’t in the room when a fan is turned on, it’s really just a waste of energy.

     

    Humidity will not be effected if you raise the temperature. It cannot be controlled using the HVAC however lowering the temperature may lower the humidity.

     

    One of the most common myths about air conditioning is that you should raise the temperature on your thermostat way up when you leave for work or vacation. HVAC systems are designed to maintain constant temperature. The amount of energy used by your HVAC system to recover the temperature is more than if it remains constant. When leaving for vacation, raise the thermostat about 5 degrees, but any more than that can actually increase your energy consumption and costs.

     

    If the thermostat is located in near a vent or in direct sunlight it may not properly regulate your air conditioning system. This could cause your unit to start and stop frequently, which will lead to premature wear and tear.

     

    Now that you know a little bit more about your system you can take the proper steps necessary to keeping your home at the proper temperature. Proper temperature control will you keep you and your family happy all while saving you money.

  • The Best Methods of Air Duct Cleaning

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    Most of the residential and commercial buildings these days are usually erected with ventilation, HVAC, heating or air conditioning ducts. Since these are tightly assembled, it is rare that stale air or fresh air will circulate at the same time. If this occurs, then there may be accumulated pollutants in the air ducts. This will typically create air that is unhealthy for everyone living in the home. Subsequently, these same pollutants will become irritants, negatively impacting the health of the occupants of the building. In many cases, people will suffer from respiratory conditions and in other cases, the pollutants could likely cause damage to the home.

    Reducing or Eliminating Pollutants

    When you clean the HVAC air ducts, it will drastically eliminate or reduce the pollutants, creating healthier air and improving the health of the occupants. There are several suggestions for air duct cleaning. However, it is best to hire a HVAC contractor with more knowledge about the best practices for air duct cleaning. In so doing, the project will be done more properly and it will reduce the appearance of annoying rodents.

    The Disadvantage

    The disadvantage of air duct cleaning if you do this yourself is that you could ultimately damage the air ducts. So, to improve the air quality in your home, it is strongly recommended to get professional assistance. The HVAC technician will be able to tell when your next duct cleaning will be necessary. It is especially important, though, to know as much as you can about air duct cleaning so as to establish the one that is ideal for you. While you will be relying on a professional HVAC contractor, you will still have personal knowledge about what is involved and the methods used.

    Common Methods

    The most common methods used for air duct cleaning over the years is industry standard. As time goes on, advancements are being made to continue improving the methods involved in the process. However, for now, the methods employed are as such:

    • Power Vacuum or Air Sweep – this is a meticulous method of duct cleaning, although, more expensive. It does the best job of removing dirt in an extremely careful manner.
    • Point of Contact – while this may not be as thorough as the air sweep method, it is safer for the vents and air ducts. It is also less expensive, but still uses a vacuum, and spinning brush as the best cleaning tools
    • Removing the Source – this is the most common of all three methods for air duct cleaning. Mechanical agitation loosens the dirt and debris and extraction helps to remove everything entirely in a safe manner.

    Conclusion

    Methods of air duct cleaning have been around since the 1900s. However, the techniques have evolved since that time due to the work done by knowledgeable and experienced HVAC contractors. When you hire a professional HVAC technician, you stand a better chance to have improved air quality in your home.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/airductcleaning/3054209713/

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