Truth about Duct repair and ductwork installation

Do I need to replace my HVAC duct, have air duct service, or repair my ductwork installation?

Inadequate airflow causes a loss in total capacity, a loss in sensible capacity, a loss in efficiency, and a reduction in reliability (due to refrigerant floodback to the compressor and distorted refrigerant system feedback to the servicer).

In 1996 a study commissioned by Arizona Public Service Co., the utility investigated total airflow in newly constructed houses in Phoenix. The study revealed that:


  • The airflow in 14% of the tested homes was at 90% of nominal airflow (360 cfm/ton).
  • 39% of the homes tested at 80% of nominal airflow (320 cfm/ton).
  • 14% tested at 70% airflow (280 cfm/ton).
  • 7% tested at 60% of nominal airflow (240 cfm/ton).


Of course, this sample does not necessarily represent the entire country, but I suspect that Phoenix is not the only place that suffers from this phenomenon. A test by Texas A&M University (Table 1) shows the ramifications of low airflow on capacity and efficiency. Notice that a 25% reduction in airflow (300 cfm/ton) causes a 7.5% reduction in cooling capacity and a 4.2% reduction in efficiency.

This gives you some idea of what it costs the consumer to have a system with low airflow. Of course, the consumer also pays a high price in reduced reliability; 60% of the homes tested in Phoenix had a total airflow of less than 350 cfm per ton. Why does this matter? Because besides poor performance issues, 350 cfm/ton is the minimum airflow recommended by most manufacturers for ductwork airflow and anything less will require air duct repair.

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