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
Generally speaking, good ductwork will incorporate the following principles:
- 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 AirSM. With more than 30 years of experience, we can provide the skilled workmanship and service you need to keep your heating and cooling system in tip-top shape.