Ductwork, although a very important part of your AC system, may not be one of the first things that may cross your mind when you think about air conditioning. Most probably because ductwork is not really a part of the AC unit itself, we may oftentimes overlook it, although it is still very important to any AC installation in Houston. After all, that network of ducts is chiefly responsible for distributing the air that has been cooled by the AC unit throughout the entire space. It typically brings air from the A/C to a supply duct, and for the effectively designed ones, evenly and evenly sends the air into the entire space.
Various ductwork that is ineffectively designed results in various scenarios. For example, air that is poorly circulated back to the return duct will be stuck in the area around the supply duct, and when too much air will accumulate in that area, the air will seep out of the house, which will push the AC system to generate more air. On the other hand, if the duct is designed poorly, the cold air will not be able to reach various parts of the space, which will result in the entire area not getting properly cooled because the temperature of the cold air from the areas with good ducts will be evened out by the temperature of air from the areas the duct did not serve properly once the air circulates. This may lead to thermostat issues. Of course, the effects of poorly designed ductwork will only get aggravated by cracks, leaks, or tears in the ductwork. When at least 20% of the conditioned cool air gets lost because they escape through these holes in the duct, you may adjust the setting of your thermostat, thinking that the AC unit isn’t working properly. Plus, your BTU rating will not be accurate. So, you will definitely end up with increased energy bills. Thus, you have to know at least the basics of what makes ductwork design efficient.
Location, Location, Location!
The location of your ducts is very important. Placing them on a structure’s cavities or raised floors will make your design inefficient. Installing these ducts in the best location, which is the shortest route from the source of the air to the room is much recommended. The inclusion of jumper ducts and transfer grills that aim to improve air circulation is also recommended. Finally, when your ducts are near heat sources like a range hood or light, that may surely affect the state of the conditioned air those ducts are supposed to transport.
With proper planning, the HVAC equipment should be centrally located in the space to allow for the shortest possible duct runs. Ducts should be located in internal walls and ceilings to minimize the loss of conditioned air. Avoid installing ducts in attics and unconditioned crawl spaces for maximum efficiency.
Make Sure to Seal and Insulate!
All duct joints need to be sealed tightly with mastic and fiberglass mesh, and if you want to make sure, add a layer of aluminum tape for really great sealing. You also have the option to mechanically fasten the joints, so look into that as well. When the ducts have been sealed, the next thing to consider is to insulate the ducts located in unconditioned areas of the space, if there are any. As mentioned earlier, some ducts might be installed near heat or light sources like range hoods and light fixtures, so if it is inevitable that those ducts pass by them, make sure to insulate those ducts.
One of the ways you can seal leaky ductwork is with hvac duct sealing tape. Also known as aluminum foil tape, hvac duct sealing tape comes on a roll and can be found in every hardware store. This method for sealing leaky ducts can be less time consuming and messy, but doesn’t tend to stack up with other duct sealing methods in terms of performance and longevity. If you have ducts that get dirty or oily quite commonly, duct sealing tape is likely to fail.
Air Distribution Makes A Difference
A crucial factor in AC efficiency is the maintenance of even air pressure throughout the space. This is directly linked to accurate air supply and return provided by ducts. When air pressure is uneven, the exchange of air between indoors and outdoors will be inevitable, which will also burden your unit since you may feel the need to increase its settings because the air feels like it isn’t conditioned enough, and will inevitably increase your utility bill.
Poorly designed ductwork can decrease the efficiency of air distribution by as much as 75 percent. What’s worse, badly designed and installed ductwork, damaged ductwork, or improperly sealed ductwork can account for the loss of small percentage to 100 percent of the conditioned air traveling through the ducts.
Got more questions about ductwork or installing a new system? Reach out to us anytime.