Your heating and cooling system is only as good as your duct system design. Even with the most efficient A/C and heating equipment, energy savings could be significantly compromised if ductwork is poorly designed.
When designing your home’s ductwork, it’s critical that you and your HVAC installer keep the following design factors in mind to maximize performance:
- Location. The majority of your home’s ducts, if not all, should be located in areas of your home that receive conditioned air — both heated and cooled. Otherwise, they will be subject to energy loss that occurs as cooled air, for instance, travels through warm areas of your home, such as the attic. If you can’t avoid locating some ducts in unconditioned spaces, you can ensure that the system is well insulated to help minimize energy loss as air travels through ducts in those spaces.
- Size. In larger homes, or homes with multiple levels, it’s often beneficial to use two duct systems to alleviate delivery problems that compromise comfort.
- Supply ducts. Because most homes have their HVAC systems centrally located, optimal comfort is achieved by locating supply duct runs close to interior walls, which will shorten the length of the duct run.
- Energy losses. Supply ducts should also be located away from kitchens and bathrooms, which often house exhaust fans. If ducts deliver supply air near an exhaust fan, that fan will draw the supply air into the exhaust before it reaches your living spaces.
- Efficiency. To ensure the system’s overall efficiency potential, the ductwork should be well sealed before any insulation is installed. This will prevent air leaks in the system, which cause energy loss. In addition, the joints throughout the ductwork should be well connected to prevent loose connections over time that also allow conditioned air to escape.
Get your home’s duct system design right the first time around. For new construction and whole-house retrofits, be sure that your ductwork optimizes performance. For expert help, contact the heating and cooling professionals at All Year Heating, Air & Solar. Serving the Greater Sacramento area, we’re always happy to help.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Ductwork image via Shutterstock