The Elephant in the Attic – Part 1

elephantCertainly, you’ve heard of the ‘elephant in the room?’ It’s a popular metaphor for that thing which is obviously present, but nobody wants to talk about. Perhaps they are fearful, or the conversation might prove awkward. Have you considered the ‘elephant in the attic’ of your home?


Some years ago, I (Jim) visited the home of a new client. The problem was, their air conditioner was not cooling the house as when it was new. Several other companies had been to the home and recommended a new air conditioning system – both the outdoor unit and the blower unit in the closet. As part of the inspection process, I brought my ladder and drop cloth into the home and opened the access hatch to the attic. As I did so, the lady of the house exclaimed, “What’s up there?”


duct work in an atticAfter a brief explanation, she allowed me to inspect the ductwork in the attic. There, I found a large section of the cooling duct that had been crushed and pulled from its connection – cold air was flooding the attic. The air conditioning equipment was old, but even the best and newest equipment could not cool both the home and the attic above. It made good sense for the old air conditioner to be replaced. But we had to consider the ductwork, the ‘elephant in the attic.’ This was the only way to make the home comfortable, economically and reliably.


So, why is the ductwork not often considered? A lot of myths and misconceptions get in the way. Here are a few:

  • Myth: Because there are no moving parts, ductwork does not wear out. False – duct materials are subject to humidity and heat of the attic. As such, they age and eventually need replacement.
  • Myth: My old duct system will work with my new air conditioner. Partially true – higher efficiency and variable speed equipment is designed differently from equipment even a decade ago. Poorly matched ductwork can reduce overall efficiency and even lead to equipment failure.
  • Myth: All the technology is in the machine. False – the ductwork of today is better insulated, is antimicrobial (inhibits mold growth and odors), and is more cleanable the material found in new homes. Sealants that keep the duct from leaking have changed, as have the methods and codes relating to duct installation.
  • Myth: Ductwork is expensive. Partially true – at Complete Comfort, some duct repairs come at little or no cost when a new air handler is installed. Sometimes, however, deterioration and other factors lead to a smart decision to upgrade the entire duct system. In every case, the most expensive option is to ignore the ‘elephant in the attic.’


When a representative from our company visits your home, that person is trained to take into account the entire air conditioning system. Whether for maintenance, service, or installation, they look at the details that make the difference. We are dedicated to your Complete Comfort. Call today (561) 529-6262 to learn more.

Photo Credit (elephant)