Code Is The Minimum Allowable Legal Standard Allowed

Many homeowners mistakenly believe that if their ductwork passed the building inspection, it must be okay. This is a common misunderstanding, because it's not widely understood that the building code is the BARE MINIMUM, literally the lowest allowable legal standard allowed. It is not a quality standard. It is not a performance standard. 

To put it into perspective, for most of us, there is virtually nothing else in our daily lives that we're willing to accept the absolute, bare minimum. This is especially true for things we deem as crucial or integral to our well-being. Yet, this is the exact trap we fall into regarding our heating & cooling ductwork systems.

You see, most building codes don't address "delivered airflow" to your home. As a result, a duct system that "appears" to be installed normally can pass a code inspection, and still have inadequate airflow, also know as "low-flow". Passing inspection, may also not necessarily mean that all the ducts are sealed and insulated properly either. When it comes to your ductwork, you definitely cannot properly judge the book by the cover; it must be tested, otherwise it's just guessing.

Think for a second, aren't new homes are typically built by a hodge-podge of the lowest-bid subcontractors? Now, when you think about low-bid, does that promote high quality? Or, does it inspire wham-bam, in and out as fast as possible work? I think you get the point; most likely your ductwork was installed by the low-bidder, who was motivated to get in and get out as quicly as possible, without a second thought to any standard or process to ensure quality control.

It gets worse...

While efficiency standards have ratcheted up for HVAC equipment, the quality of ductwork system installation has actually declined. The housing bubble burst, collapsing the new construction market, which drove prices down, resulting in lower and lower low-bids. What happens with low-bid in the first place? Now, squeeze it even lower, then what happens? You guessed it, low quality. 

In fact, several studies have been conducted over the years that have confirmed that most, as in more than half, more like 9-out-of-10 residential central air conditioning units are not installed properly. Inadequate airflow, aka "low-flow" has been measured in approximately 70% of the systems. You read right, nearly three-quarters of systems DO NOT DELIVER PROPER AIRFLOW to you home!

"Low-Flow" translates directly into comfort issues, humidity problems, air health challenges, and more.

The moral of the story is, DON'T ASSUME JUST BECAUSE YOUR DUCTWORK PASSED INSPECTION THAT IT'S CORRECT.

 

 


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