After your home is built or your room addition is completed is not the time to ask if your ductwork was designed and installed correctly. But an inadequate duct system can put a strain on your system, affect home comfort and cause energy bills to skyrocket. That’s why it’s important to get the job done right initially.
If your duct system design is good and your ducts are installed correctly, your ductwork will be able to do its job, which is to deliver conditioned air to every room in your house quietly and efficiently. To accomplish this, your duct system design should allow for adequate airflow with minimal restrictions and low energy losses. A good duct system design will take all of the following factors into account:
- Supply ducts need to be large enough to supply adequate air to every part of your house.
- Every room should be adequately served by a return air duct to keep airflow and pressure balanced correctly throughout your home. If every room does not have its own return register, be sure to undercut doors or install jumper ducts between rooms to allow air to flow freely back to the air handling system.
- Supply and return registers should be located so they are not likely to be blocked by furniture, draperies or carpets. The ductwork should be designed with as few tight turns as possible to minimize resistance to airflow. Flexible ducts should be supported and protected to prevent kinks and crushing.
- Ducts should run inside the conditioned space of the house as much as possible. Ducts should be well insulated anywhere they have to run through the attic or other conditioned spaces.
- The duct system should be isolated from possible sources of dangerous fumes such as the garage or utility room. Ducts and filter housings should be sealed to keep combustion gases from the furnace from entering the system. A proper duct system design will keep pressures throughout the system balanced correctly to prevent backdrafting of flue gases.
- Sheet metal duct sections should be joined with sheet metal screws and all duct connections should be sealed with mastic rather than with “duct tape.”
A well-designed, properly installed and well-maintained duct system should give you good service for the life of your air conditioning and heating systems. If you notice that your home has become more difficult to heat and cool after several years of trouble-free operation of your HVAC systems, you may have problems with your ductwork that need to be fixed. Here are a few things to look for that may be keeping your ducts from working efficiently:
- First, check your filters. If they build up too much dust and dirt, they will restrict airflow and make your heating and cooling equipment have to work harder than they should.
- Registers should be kept free of dust and should not be blocked by furniture, carpets, draperies or other objects. New carpeting may be thick enough to block airflow beneath doors that once provided a return air path from rooms that are normally closed.
- Internal insulation in ducts can deteriorate and fall apart, blocking airflow. Look for sources of moisture that might be damaging insulation. Professional duct cleaning may be necessary to remove old insulation or other debris from your ductwork.
- Zoning dampers may be sticking open or closed. Have your HVAC technician check to be sure all dampers and thermostats are working properly.
- Ducts may have leaks due to structural shifting, improper joining or deteriorated sealants. Your HVAC technician can find and repair leaks for you.
Call us at Byrd Heating & Air Conditioning for help with the duct system design for your new home or room addition anywhere in the Savannah area. Our energy specialists and expert installers will make sure your home is efficient and easy to keep comfortable throughout every season of the year.