If you’re like most New Jersey residents, your home is heated and
cooled by a forced-air system. A furnace, heat pump or A/C heats or cools
the air, then a powerful fan blows it through ductwork and registers into
your rooms. The air returns to the HVAC equipment via return ducts.
By and large, your home’s heating and cooling system is only as good
as its ductwork. Both comfort and energy efficiency will suffer if the
ductwork isn’t delivering air effectively. So how do you know your
ducts are doing their job as intended?
Principles of Good Ductwork Design
- Ducts should be routed through conditioned areas as much as possible. This
way, if there is any leakage, at least the air will escape into an area
where it’s doing some good. When conditioned air or heat energy
escapes from (or infiltrates into) ducts, either through leaks or thin
duct walls, your HVAC system has to work harder to heat and cool your
home. If the ducts do run through unconditioned areas such as an attic,
wall void or crawl space, they should be insulated.
- Quality materials and installation should be used. Avoid taking shortcuts
when it comes to ductwork design, such as using wall voids in place of
actual metal or fiberglass ducts. Duct sections should be firmly connected
with metal screws and mastic sealant, and when tape is used, it should
not be common duct tape.
- Balanced airflow is imperative, with as much air moving through supply
ducts as it is return ducts. The air pressure should be roughly equal.
Otherwise, air will be drawn into the house, or sucked out of the house,
through leaks in the walls.
- Don’t shortchange return airflow. Ideally, you should have a return
register in every room with a supply vent or register. When this isn’t
possible, there should at least be an easy way for air to move from room
to room, such as with pass-through grilles in doors.
For more advice on the best duct design for your central New Jersey home,
please contact us at Elite Air, Inc.