Your home’s HVAC system can never compensate for serious ductwork design limitations. The supply and return ducts are the delivery system for all that precious heated and cooled air. Ductwork design that is flawed or improperly installed or maintained can reduce system efficiency by up to 75 percent. It’s a major cause of high utility costs and low comfort levels. Substandard ductwork can also degrade the air quality of your living space, contributing to the infiltration of allergens, mold and pollutants. Efficient HVAC ducting starts at the drawing board stage. Here are a few guiding design principles to discuss with your contractor.
Locate as much of the ductwork as possible within areas that are conditioned by the HVAC system. Ducts that run through frigid crawl spaces or broiling attics suffer thermal loss to those surroundings and should be insulated to a level that exceeds the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code.
Avoid cost-saving shortcuts like utilizing closets, voids between wall studs and floor joists or other structural spaces as substitutes for dedicated enclosed ducts. Enclosed “hard” ductwork should be used for all duct spans in the home.
In bathrooms and kitchens, situate supply air outlets far enough from exhaust fans to prevent incoming conditioned air from being drawn into the exhaust fan duct.
If possible, install a dedicated return duct in any room large enough to require more than one supply duct. In central return systems, link adjoining rooms with transfer grilles or “jumper” ducts in the ceiling and include a return duct on each floor of multi-level homes.
Before insulating ductwork, mechanically secure all duct joints, then seal with fiberglass and mastic sealant. Air-tightness of ducts can be verified by utilizing a duct blower. Leak testing is particularly desirable for systems with spans of ductwork located in unconditioned air spaces.
Since 1956, homeowners in Aspen, Vail and other Western Slope communities have had an experienced source of HVAC sales and service in Climate Control Company. Contact us for more information about ductwork design for new installation or upgrades of your HVAC system.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ductwork design and other HVAC topics, please visit our website.
Climate Control Company services Aspen, Vail and the surrounding Western slope communities in Colorado.