When you think of the HVAC system in your home, the outdoor condenser and the furnace inside usually come to mind. But one aspect of HVAC that often gets overlooked is the ductwork. This is how your home transports heated or cooled air to your rooms and if they are old, poorly designed, or damaged they can restrict airflow and the system can suffer from thermal loss. If you are planning to replace your HVAC system, refinish a basement, or are considering an addition to your home, here are some tips on the major areas of concern for HVAC duct design.
Make sure the unit and duct system sizes match- Accurate sizing is critical to the overall efficiency of your system. In modern residential homes, the square footage determines the amount of ductwork needed. Undersized systems will run constantly to keep up while oversized systems will cycle on and off needlessly.
Use the proper size ductwork – Leaky ducts, undersized ducts, and unsupported flex bends, can cause negative pressure that pulls in outside air and contaminants into the airstream. Anything that restricts proper airflow will reduce efficiency.
Use proper insulation – Thermal losses can occur when ductwork is routed through spaces like attics, basements and crawl spaces. Appropriate insulation through these areas will increase the efficiency of the entire system.
Make sure all connections have tight seals – Loose connections can account for 20 percent of your cooling and heating costs. Metal ducts should be sealed with sheet metal screws, mastic paste, and heat-resistant metal tape.
Use approved ductwork materials – Sheet metal is the most widely used ductwork material used in residential buildings because they are lightweight and simple to manipulate or fabricate on site. Flexible fiberglass ducts have also gained popularity in recent years. Flex ducts have the added benefit of self-insulation and easy maneuverability to minimize airflow restrictions.
A properly designed and installed duct system will provide a lifetime of reliable service. For professional HVAC design, installation and repair, call Legacy Mechanical today!