When you think about the key components of your home’s HVAC system, the furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump might come to mind first. The ductwork that distributes conditioned air is another essential component that directly affects the performance of the entire HVAC system. Deficient duct design, poor installation, or leaky/damaged ductwork can cause serious problems related to:
- Temperature control. The loss of cooled or heated air through defects in the ductwork can make it difficult to keep your home’s interior at a consistent, comfortable temperature.
- Air quality. Leaks and pressure imbalances in a flawed duct system can introduce and circulate allergens and contaminants that erode your indoor air quality.
- Energy consumption. If your HVAC equipment has to work harder to compensate for duct system issues, it uses more energy.
- Equipment lifespan. An extra workload also puts wear and strain on your heating and cooling equipment and can shorten its lifespan.
Fundamentals of Good Duct Design
The purpose of the duct system is to deliver the correct volume of heated/cooled air throughout your home, at the right temperature, then bring stale air back to the HVAC equipment for reconditioning. Crafting such a system requires an understanding of air distribution and thermal gain/loss principles, the use of quality materials/fabrication, as well as skilled installation. An effective duct design also takes these factors into consideration:
- Proper sizing. All the ducts must be sized to match the HVAC equipment capacity. Using oversized ducts will erode the system’s efficiency, while undersized ducts won’t carry the necessary volume of air.
- Balanced airflow. To maintain neutral pressure in the HVAC system and throughout the house, the duct system must deliver and return a matching volume of air. This requires a specific number of supply and return ducts.
- Duct placement. Ducts should ideally be placed within the home’s conditioned envelope, and any that are routed through an uninsulated area like the attic must be properly sealed/insulated to limit energy losses.
If you’re concerned that your HVAC system’s duct design is affecting heating and cooling in your Eastern North Carolina home, contact us today at Jackson & Sons.
Jackson & Sons, Inc.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Eastern North Carolina (including Wayne, Johnston, Greene, Lenoir, Pitt and Duplin Counties) about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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