When you’re installing an HVAC system, it’s important to understand the benefits of proper ductwork design. When done right, your ducts can circulate air evenly throughout the household, increasing comfort and energy efficiency. When done wrong, you could lose as much as 20 percent of the conditioned air that passes through your ductwork.

Even the most painstakingly sealed ductwork can lose a small amount heat and air, but you can compensate by installing ducts in conditioned areas of the home. These ducts may be hidden in a dropped ceiling or in the corner of a room. To further increase efficiency, you want to ensure that airflow is direct and unobstructed. That’s why the ductwork design of most homes is a “trunk and branch” or “radial” configuration. These designs allow for the most direct route from your HVAC components to your household registers.

Other hiding places for ductwork include raised floors and insulated chases. Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts; always use actual metal ductwork and make sure it’s properly sealed and installed to help maintain system efficiency. It is also important to avoid running wiring and utilities through duct chases.

Ductwork design doesn’t stop with the ducts. You also have to properly plan the placement of air returns to ensure adequate circulation. You have the option of placing air returns in each room of the home or you may opt to place a return grill on each level of your household. These should be placed in a central location. Remember, closing off rooms will prevent the proper circulation of air. This can be addressed by installing bypass ducts between rooms, by undercutting doors to encourage circulation, or by simply keeping your doors open as often as possible. It is also important to avoid placing furniture or other potential obstructions in front of air registers and returns.

With proper ductwork design, you can take a lot of unnecessary strain off of your HVAC system, increasing energy efficiency and decreasing your heating and cooling bills. For more information on how your ductwork is affecting the efficiency of your HVAC system, contact Paschal Heating, Air & Geothermal today for expert consultation.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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