Ductwork Design that Won’t Let You Down
Your A/C and furnace may be responsible for cooling and heating indoor air, but it’s your ductwork that delivers the goods. In fact, the importance of superior ductwork design can’t be emphasized enough for correcting home efficiency imbalances (i.e. heat gain/loss). Read on to learn how ducts are supposed to be designed, and you won’t be let down when it comes to improved home comfort and energy efficiency. Duct Materials Stick with industry-approved materials, such as tried-and-true sheet metal. Metal ducts can last a lifetime with regular maintenance and duct cleaning. Above all, don’t use building cavities to convey airflow. You’ll lose efficiency and comfort, and unknowingly promote unhealthful indoor-air quality. Conditioned Zones Bring your ductwork “indoors.” Good ductwork design calls for installing ducts in conditioned zones, such as raised floors and chases, and avoiding hot attics or cold basements when possible. Alternatively, you should adequately insulate ducts located outside the conditioned spaces. Return Airflow To maximize cooling and heating efficiency, return airflow must remain unrestricted to the grilles. Even closed doors to rooms can obstruct return air and adversely impact efficient heating and cooling. Ideally, a return grille should be installed in each area where there is a supply outlet. When this isn’t practical, jumper ducts and transfer grilles installed in doors and walls may be used. Airtight Sealing Duct sealing is another important principle of good ductwork design. Metal duct joints should be sealed with mastic and wrapped with heat-resistant metal tape. Testing for Perfect Balance Before you sign off on your duct installation, your HVAC technician should test the system for potential airflow losses and balanced airflow in the living spaces and through the ducts. Damper doors installed near the trunk may be used to tweak air delivery room by room. Lastly, sophisticated tools are used to measure airflow, pressure, humidity, and temperature. At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.