The importance of good ductwork design cannot be overstated. In addition to carrying the responsibility of balanced airflow, good ductwork design is vital for year-round energy savings and lightening the load on your HVAC system to reduce wear. Use these tips to streamline your ducts for lasting comfort and savings.
Evaluate your ducts
Even though ducts are typically hidden from view, inefficient ductwork design is apparent by these telltale signs:
- Banging, knocking and clamoring noises from the air-supply registers, walls and building cavities
- Hot and cold spots in your home, which makes it difficult to heat and cool to everyone’s pleasing
- Uncomfortably high utility bills
Ducts are often located in difficult-to-reach areas. Use caution. Temperatures are often dangerously high during the cooling months. Let someone know if you go into the attic.
- Visually inspect your ducts for leaks, damage, and disconnected joints. Leaks and disconnections may be repaired using mastic and mesh. Damaged flexible ducts should be untangled and straightened. If that’s not possible, they must be replaced.
- Ducts should take the shortest path to the registers from the air handler, utilizing conditioned areas as much as possible.
- If ducts extend through unconditioned areas, they must be insulated for energy efficiency.
- Return grilles and air-supply registers should be flush to the ceiling, walls or floor with firm connections to the ducts.
- Return grilles should be installed on each level of living space. For optimal efficiency and comfort, you may install return grilles in each area with a register.
- Noisy ducts may be caused by contact with building structures. You can place acoustic liners at contact points. If you’ve located an area that makes noise without contact, make a slight dent in the duct using a coin to inhibit “popping” during expansion and contraction.
- Building cavities are often incorrectly utilized as ducts. This is very inefficient and contributes to poor indoor air quality. Use actual ductwork at all times.
- For retrofitting, work closely with your HVAC professional. Ensure that a heat gain/loss calculation is performed.