When Pipes & Ducts Collide—How to Repair Them at the Same Time


When plumbers need to repair pipes or do other plumbing related work in some older homes, they may find that the heating ducts have been installed after the plumbing, and must be removed before their work can begin. The homeowner will have two options: remove the ducts themselves or pay the plumber (at professional plumber's rates) to remove the ducts.

Removing and reinstalling exposed ducts is relatively simple, and much less expensive than paying a professional plumber. It will also be a good opportunity to to a little HVAC repair work on your duct work. If you're curious how to address both problems at one, read further.

Removing a line of exposed ducts

Exposed ducts, which are visible and outside of walls and ceilings, can be removed piece-by-piece or in multiple sections. Ducts are connected to ceilings or walls by hanger straps, which are narrow strips of sheet metal, or possibly tie wire, which is a thin steel wire. They are connected to each other to form a duct line by screws or pop rivets.

Depending on how your ducts are hung, you may need a philips head screwdriver (or a drill with a philips head attachment), a hammer, and a drill with #30 (1/8 inch) drill bits, and safety glasses.

To remove ducts one piece at a time, remove any tape that may be wrapped around the connected ends of the duct. This tape is used to seal the duct connections for air leaks. If the ducts are connected with screws, use your screwdrivers or drill to remove the screws. If they are connected by rivets, use the #30 drill bits to drill out the rivets. When drilling out the rivets, don't drill straight into the rivets.Use a circular motion to widen the outer flange of the rivet so that they will fall from the drill bit more easily. Be sure to use your safety glasses.

When the duct is detached, remove the hanger strap or tie wire from the ceiling with a screwdriver or hammer, depending on how it is attached. You can remove the entire line by removing all of the hanger straps or tie wires, but you will need help to hold the line of duct, and to lower it to the floor when all hangers are removed. This is preferable to removing single pieces or smaller sections, but only if you have help. There may be sharp edges or accumulated dust on the ducts, so gloves and dust masks are a good idea.

While the duct is on the floor, examine the ducts for possible mold or pest infestation. Check the hangers to see if they are still viable, especially if tie wire was used. Check ducts for rust caused by moisture. Vacuum the ducts if they have accumulated dust, hair, or any other debris.

If you removed an entire line of duct, seal the connections with water based duct sealer and sealing tape. Don't use duct tape, because it doesn't provide an adequate seal, and will crack and dry out over time. If duct was removed in pieces, apply the sealant and tape after it is reinstalled.

To install the ducts, simply reverse the procedure. If you don't have a pop rivet gun, they are relatively inexpensive (less than twenty dollars for a basic model), but you can use screws instead if you prefer.

These tips will help you take care of two problems at once. Consult HVAC repair specialists if you run into any issues.


26 March 2015

Replacing an Older Plumbing System

I absolutely love the beauty, charm, and character of an older home. When my husband retires from his job, I would like to purchase an older house in the mountains and transform it into a quaint inn. While older homes are beautiful, they do sometimes contain hidden issues. One of these problems is faulty plumbing. Rusty pipes and poor water pressure are common in an older abode. If you just purchased a charming older place, consider immediately replacing the plumbing system in the home. In doing so, you might be able to save yourself from major issues in the future. On this blog, you will discover the many benefits of replacing an older plumbing system.