How Ductwork Design, Energy Efficiency and Comfort Go Hand in Hand
How old is the ductwork design in your home? If you haven't had a major upgrade to your HVAC system in the past 10 years, the ducts in your home are likely as old as the house. Upgrading the ducts can make your home more energy efficient and comfortable.
Why Is Duct Design So Important?
Modern duct design uses certain principles to improve system efficiency and home comfort.
- Place ductwork in conditioned spaces, when possible. Ducts in unconditioned spaces are exposed to extremes of heat and cold. This causes heat gain to cooled air and heat loss from heated air. If ducts must be run in attics or other unconditioned spaces, the outside should have an insulation barrier of at least R-8.
- Accept no substitutes for proper ducting materials. In older homes, some HVAC systems use the voids between wall studs or ceiling joists to move air from one place to another. This is highly inefficient. Proper ductwork is the only acceptable solution.
- Place manual dampers at each point where a branch comes off the main duct. This makes it possible to balance the amount of air entering and existing each room, making the home more comfortable and efficient.
- Make sure return air has a clear path. Each room needs a way for conditioned air to come in and for air to exist. Ideally, each room would have its own return air duct. Otherwise, bypass grills or jumper ducts can be used to feed a central return air duct.
- Newly installed ducts must be sealed and tested before going into service. Each joint in the ducts must be fastened with metal sheet screws and sealed with mastic and/or metal foil tape. Before hooking the ductwork up to the main system, it needs to undergo a leak test to make sure it meets HVAC leak standards.
Your home's poor ductwork design could be contributing to a 15 to 20 percent energy loss. If you think your ducts or air indoor quality need some help, check out Bryans United Air Conditioning's indoor air quality services or call 504-208-2071.
Image via Flickr by dulasfloyd