Ductwork Design: One of the First Steps When Planning a New Home
Ductwork design probably isn’t the first thing on your mind when you’re building a new home, but it’s definitely worth a thought. The right ductwork layout is essential for your home’s comfort level and your HVAC system’s energy efficiency.
While there are a number of ductwork design issues to consider, return duct design is one of the most important. Return air ducts circulate conditioned air back to your system’s air handler to improve the system’s efficiency. Most homes are built without return ducts in every room. This reduces construction costs, but increases long-term energy expenses.
For example, one room may have a supply duct but no return duct. Another may have a return duct and no supply duct. While the room doors are open, air flows between the rooms and the air pressure is balanced. When the door is closed, though, the room with the supply duct fills with air that has nowhere to go, so the pressure rises. The room with only a return duct loses air, but doesn’t gain any, so the air pressure falls.
These zone pressure imbalances pose two potential problems:
- Combustion fume infiltration – Excessively low air pressure in a room containing a combustion appliance, such as a gas furnace, could cause toxic fumes to backdraft into your air supply.
- Increased heating and cooling load – Low pressure in zones that aren’t well air-sealed increases the rate of outdoor air infiltration. That increases the workload on your HVAC system, which raises your energy bills.
Proper ductwork design and installation during construction can prevent these problems. When your home has sufficient return ducts, you can close your room doors when you want and know the efficiency of your HVAC system won’t be compromised.
If you’re planning a new home, contact us at Sobieski Services for professional guidance on ductwork design and designing your HVAC system for optimal comfort and efficiency. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
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