To keep you comfortable efficiently in the warm, humid climate of the Coastal Bend area, your cooling and heating system relies on efficient ductwork. Knowing what an efficient duct system design looks like helps you determine if yours needs an upgrade.
Ducts Located in Conditioned Areas — Where possible, ducts should be installed within the conditioned part of the house, such as the walls and floors. This helps maintain the temperature of the air they carry. Ducts in the attic or basement are more likely to waste energy. Any ducts in unconditioned areas should be insulated with either duct wrap or an R-6 layer of fiberglass batt insulation.
Use of Proper Duct Material — Ducts should be made of sheet metal, fiberglass duct board or flexduct as appropriate. An efficient ductwork system doesn’t use the spaces between ceiling joists or other open channels as a substitute for ducts. Trying to channel air without ducts wastes conditioned air and causes humidity problems.
Sufficient Return Air Ducts — Return air vents and ducts take conditioned air back to the air handler, reducing the load on your system and ensuring balanced airflow. Every room with a supply air register should have a return air vent. Failing this, there should be return vents in central locations, such as hallways.
Ducts Allow Good Airflow — Duct run are most efficient when they’re short and straight. Twists and turns impair airflow. Flex duct, which is prone to twisting, should be kept to a minimum. All joints, elbows and other connections should be secured with sheet metal screws or, for fiberglass ducts, staples. Joints should then be sealed with mastic or heat-resistant metal-backed tape.
Dampers Used to Direct Air — Manual dampers installed where the room branch lines join the central trunk line give you precision control over how much air goes to each room. They improve your comfort and help prevent indoor air pressure imbalances. The dampers should have a mechanism to permanently secure them so they don’t slip out of adjustment over time.
If your ductwork could use some improvements, contact us at CCAC anywhere in the Corpus Christi area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about good ductwork design and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 361-678-2495.
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