Working With Soft Ducts

Dear NH,
As a new homeowner and a handyman-wannabe myself, I must thank you for your outstanding page. With your help, I just finished re-installing our guest bathroom toilet from the wax ring up. And as it still doesn't seem to flush very well, it's off to the roof to attack the vent.

After this, I must try to figure out why my office is the only room in the house that doesn't get cooled efficiently by the central A/C system. It's most likely because I'm the one in the family who likes it the coldest! Unfortunately, the soft duct leading to the room goes from the attic up into a crawl space over a finished room and the builders didn't include any access panels to look for clogs or kinks or leaks. I'll have to find him and thank him sometime. Any suggestions for how to tackle this one before next summer?

You may be right that the soft duct is slightly crushed. It is also possible, though, that the flexible duct is just too long. Those ducts cause lots of resistance to air movement--far more than rigid metal ducts--which might explain the low volume.

You can try to compensate by "balancing the system". This is a fancy name for creative closing, fully or partially, of all registers to the colder rooms (during AC season, that is... the reverse for the heating season). This forces the HVAC fan to overcome the resistance in the duct and force more air to your office.
The Natural Handyman


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