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A Guide to Air Ducts in a Central Cooling System

What Does Ductwork Do to Cool a Home or Business? 

It’s the height of summer, and hopefully, everyone is grateful for the effective and efficient cooling system helping them beat the summer heat. During this time of the year, most people are less concerned about how an AC works than if it works. But, since everyone is enjoying a cool moment, why not take time to understand these valuable systems? 

Central air conditioning is present in most homes and businesses. The hallmark of a central cooling system is the ductwork that conveys cooled air around a structure. While ductwork is instrumental in an AC system’s efficiency, it does nothing to cool the air. Instead, thick insulation prevents cooled air from heating up as cool air is piped to different rooms. 

Ductwork can be made from a variety of materials depending on the needs. Some of the popular materials for ductwork are: 

  • Galvanized sheet metal
  • Plastic
  • Fiberboard

These materials can be shaped and molded into various forms to meet a certain need within a designed system. 

How Long Do Air Ducts Last?

replacementWhen it comes to air conditioners, one of the questions always asked is how long the systems last. Despite concern for the central cooling unit itself, most people don’t think to ask about the lifespan of ductwork. 

When an air conditioning system is designed, ductwork takes up over half the time and roughly half the cost in most AC installations. In light of this fact, the lifespan of ductwork is incredibly important. In most cases, this question is hard to answer. Different styles of ductwork have differing life expectancies even when they are part of the same system. The best practice is to replace flexible ductwork and fiberboard ducts when the air conditioner is replaced. Rigid metal ductwork will likely outlast two AC replacements between 40 and 50 years. 

Signs of Damaged Ductwork? 

Ductwork is responsible for most of the efficiency of an air conditioner. When ductwork is damaged, high bills are a sure sign that there are problems. If cooling bills have started to climb, there is likely degraded or damaged insulation on ductwork or leaks that allow precious cooled air to slip out.  

In some cases, indoor air quality can suffer when ductwork is damaged. This will result in humidity problems and large amounts of dust in the air and on surfaces in the home. 

How to Tell When Air Ducts are Dirty 


Air ducts are not only responsible for efficiency but also for clean air in a structure. When air ducts are dirty, there can be several problems present: 

  • Strong, musty odors that can’t be covered or removed
  • Pervasive respiratory issues like allergies or asthma
  • Never-ending chores like dusting and vacuuming 
  • Loss of efficiency resulting in high bills or low volume of cooled air

Luckily, dirty ducts don’t need to be replaced. They can be cleaned simply with help from air duct cleaning professionals. Air duct cleaning companies recommend scheduling service every two to five years for better health. 

About Albers Air Conditioning

Albers Air Conditioning handles residential and commercial AC and air quality issues. Highly trained technicians offer guaranteed service and family-oriented attention. Call today for upfront pricing on AC service in Mandeville, LA. 

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