Ductwork is an important component of your forced-air heating and cooling system. Improperly designed ductwork can lead to inefficiencies in multiple ways. Planning ductwork that doesn’t hinder the energy efficiency of your home can be accomplished by utilizing the following principles:
- Minimize bends and turns. Straight ductwork has the least resistance to airflow and will make it easy for your air handler to provide the airflow rates your heating and cooling devices need to operate efficiently. This is easier if your home is well insulated and air-sealed because then air registers do not need to be placed near exterior walls.
- Use appropriately sized ducts. Ducts that are too small will have a high resistance to airflow that may prevent your air handler from achieving sufficient airflow rates for efficient operation. Even if it does, the high air velocities in the ducts will be noisy. The air velocities in ducts that are too large will not be effective at distributing air throughout the rooms.
- Use as few separate pieces of ductwork as possible. Every place you have to connect pieces together is a potential place for air leakage to occur. This leakage wastes conditioned air and can allow external air into circulation. Make sure connections are well sealed by using mastic or quality metal-backed tape.
- Balance the supply and return flow. This is accomplished by ensuring the return flow has the same airflow capacity as the supply. You will also need to ensure every supply register has a route to a return register. To accomplish this, either include a return register in every room, or install wall and door grilles to supply a suitable route.
While these tips are a good start to planning ductwork, you will want to consult a professional to work out the details, like calculating exactly what size of ducts would be appropriate.
If you’d like more help planning ductwork, contact Stack Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided HVAC services to northeast Ohio residents since 1976.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ductwork planning and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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