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Replacement Ducted Air Conditioning: Can You Reuse The Ducts Or Do You Need New Ones?

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Buying an older home means you sometimes have a dilemma on your hands when it comes to tackling repair jobs that are needed around the home. Something that appears to be a simple fix may become a big drama because of the age of the existing structure. Take the situation where your ducted air conditioning unit has finally given up the ghost and needs replacing. Is it just a simple case of installing a new unit? Or, do you need to replace the ducting pipes as well? The answer may well surprise you.

Type Of Ducting

The first thing your HVAC contractor is going to want to see is what type of ducting is currently in your home. There are two types of ducting in existence, which are:

  • the round, flexible tube ducting; and
  • the square, metal rigid ducting.

The type of ducting you already have in your home may not be compatible with the type of air conditioning unit you want to install. If there is not an easy way to attach the existing ducting to the new unit, then it will need to be replaced rather than being reused. An experienced air conditioning installer can answer this question for you.

Outdated Insulation

In recent years, ducting has advanced with regards to the amount and type of insulation surrounding the ducts to keep the air cool in summer and warm in winter. Ask your air conditioning supplier to show you the difference between what you currently have in the house compared to what can be installed with your new unit. If the new type of ducting has significantly more insulation in place than what you have now, you have to consider the cost of the ducting replacement versus how much more energy you are going to use if you stick with the existing less-insulated ducting.

When it comes to replacing an air conditioning system in the home, the powered unit itself makes up a higher proportion of the cost than the ducting tubes because it contains mechanical parts. That means it may be very cost effective to replace the ducting at the same time.

When it comes to replacing your existing ducting air conditioning machinery, don't automatically assume one way or another that you will keep or discard your existing ducting pipes. Instead, have an HVAC expert examine your existing system first so you can get the advice you need to make an informed decision.