The average cost of a new AC unit is $5,886 (in 2023), according to Angi. On top of that, new ductwork can cost between $3,000 and $7,500 per 300 linear feet.1 But do you always need a new duct system with AC replacement? An experienced HVAC professional will suggest replacing your ductwork and air conditioner together.
Your AC generates cool air. The ductwork distributes it throughout your home. Both must be correctly sized and in good shape for your HVAC system to work efficiently. While keeping your existing ductwork may save you money upfront, it can cost you more over time.
Why Install a New Duct System with AC Replacement?
Old ductwork can significantly reduce an AC unit’s performance regardless of how new and efficient it is. A few reasons why replacing both is a wise investment include:
- Age of the Ductwork: If your air conditioner is 15 years old and your ductwork is older, replace it. Corrosion, loose connections, brittle ducts, and other problems can make a new AC unit less effective. Modern ACs also have different operating requirements, which is another reason older ducts can cause problems.
Even if your existing ductwork is in relatively good shape, it will eventually need repairs and updates that will cost you more in the long run. A new duct system will save you money over time.
- Equipment May Be Mismatched: Even if a contractor retrofits your old ductwork, it may still be incompatible with a new AC unit. The size of the air conditioner and ductwork must match. If your ductwork is too big or too small, you’ll get less cooling, parts of your home can be hotter or colder than others, and your monthly energy bill may be higher.
- Old Ducts Often Have Hidden Damage: Wear and tear can lead to holes, cracks, and disconnected ductwork sections that allow air to escape. Your AC will work harder to compensate for lost air. Damaged ducts can also let outside air in, affecting temperature control and indoor air quality.
- Health Concerns: Mold spores, pollen, dust, chemicals, and volatile organic compounds are just some contaminants that may be in faulty ducts. And they’re often more concentrated in your home than outside. Signs of a problem may include allergy symptoms, breathing difficulties, headache, and fatigue.
- Pests Have Invaded Your Ductwork: Once rodents and insects get into the ductwork, they can leave behind waste and other contaminants that circulate in the air. They can also cause duct blockages and damage. At this point, your ductwork will be unable to distribute air effectively. Only installing a new duct system can restore an HVAC system’s efficiency and comfort.
- The Layout of Old Ductwork May Be Insufficient: The arrangement of the trunk line, branch ducts, and other components may be inadequate for the new AC unit. Or, perhaps the ductwork wasn’t properly sized to begin with. When installing a new air conditioner, replace the entire duct system instead of adding to or modifying the old one.
- Old Ductwork Can Be Noisy: Old, damaged, or improperly matched ductwork can produce noise. You may hear whistling sounds if the ducts are in poor condition or rattling if they’re creating excess pressure. Sources of noise can reduce airflow and cause additional damage to your ductwork and AC system.
Your Investment Will Pay Off
Replacing your ductwork and AC together avoids many issues. When air ducts are properly sized and configured, the system should run smoothly and efficiently. There will be less strain on your AC and its moving parts and the structure of your ductwork. Paying higher initial costs can avoid costly repairs, system breakdowns, and premature AC replacement later.
Contact Monarch Home Services
We provide high-quality ductwork installation and replacement in Bakersfield and throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Our certified HVAC technicians help size and install duct systems that improve AC performance, humidity control, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality. A new duct system can also make your home more eco-friendly. To request a quote and schedule AC and ductwork replacement, call (661) 215-6657 today.