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Understanding Your HVAC Equipment: Ductwork Design And Installation

July 19, 2011 | Blog

Ductwork delivers cooled or heated air from your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to all the rooms in your home. Therefore, good ductwork design and installation is a crucial component of any such system. The design and installation of your ductwork can determine whether you are comfortable or not in each room in your home.  Ductwork, made of rigid fiberglass board or flexible insulated tubes is run through your attic to funnel cool or warm air to vents in rooms.

Poor design, lack of insulation or leaks in such systems may cost you 25 to 40 percent or more of your home’s heating and cooling energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Many contractors overuse flexible ductwork.  Flexible ductwork was intended to be used for short runs where it was too difficult to run rigid duct, but many contractors are installing the entire duct system with a flexible duct.  They have runs of flexible ducts more than 50 feet long.  This creates a tremendous amount of restriction in the ductwork and can cause air balance problems.   But what if you are living in an older home with existing ductwork?

Inspect existing ductwork for leaks and seal all joints. Dirt streaks on ductwork are a sure sign that air is escaping from the ducts. Common duct tape is not the best way to seal ducts; using duct mastic will do a better job and last longer. Leakage in supply ducts can cause dust and infiltration problems which will cause higher utility bills and indoor air quality concerns.

If you have rooms that are hard to cool and heat, you should of course check windows and doors for leaks, make sure furnishings are not blocking your air vents and check if registers are functioning properly and open. Every room should have adequate ductwork for air supply and return. Return can be either through a return duct or a door undercut.  Remember that all the air going into a room has to be able to get back to the main return air grille,  All interior room doors should be kept open at all times to allow for return air.  If bedroom doors are to be kept closed then a transfer grille or return air grille should be installed to allow the air to flow back to the unit.  If inadequate air flow is a problem, the answer may be customized ductwork design and installation to increase duct size, add a supply duct or return, or revamp and replace the ductwork.  If you have any questions or would like more information on ductwork design and installation, give us a call at Mathews CCAC Air Conditioning.  We’ll be happy to help.

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.


Mathews CCAC Air Conditioning and Heating services Corpus Christi, TX. To get started, check out our website.

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