Most American homes use forced-air heating and cooling. Air is conditioned by a furnace, A/C, or heat pump, then distributed to rooms in the home via a powerful blower fan and a network of ducts. While this is a time-tested way to heat or cool a home, ducts tend to deteriorate and leak over time. If they’re not properly designed or installed, the delivery of conditioned air can be compromised from the very beginning. This is why proper duct design is so important.
Principles of Good Ductwork Design
Ducts should be installed in conditioned areas — If they’re not run through heated and cooled parts of your home, and instead are routed through a crawl space or unheated attic or basement, substantial heat energy can be lost through the thin walls of supply ducts or via leaks in the ductwork. In the summer, heat from those areas can infiltrate the ducts in the same way. In return ducts, dirty air in unconditioned areas can infiltrate ducts and contaminate household air.
Professional installation is essential — Your contractor shouldn’t cut corners in duct design such as using cheap material for ductwork or utilizing wall voids to route air. Sheet-metal screws and mastic sealant should be employed to firmly connect duct sections. Avoid using standard duct tape to connect ducts or repair leaks in the ductwork. Rather, quality metal-backed tape should be used.
Balanced airflow is important — The same amount of air that’s coming out of registers (supply air) should be routed back to the HVAC equipment to be conditioned again. The air pressure in rooms should be nearly neutral, to avoid pressure forcing air outside or drawing it inside through leaks in the exterior walls.
Return airflow should be adequate — Many homes don’t have enough return air vents. They may have a main return register in a large common area, but lack return registers in each room with a supply register. This is only a workable situation if there’s easy air movement between rooms.
For help with proper duct design for your Peachtree City-area home, please contact us at Powers Heating & Air.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ductwork design and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.
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