Good Ductwork Design: What Is It?

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July 17, 2014

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Good Ductwork Design: What Is It?The average homeowner spends 20 to 30 percent more energy than necessary for cooling and heating bills due to leaky and inefficient ductwork. If you are constructing a new home or upgrading your old ducts or HVAC system, make sure your contractor knows the principles of good ductwork design by heart.

Balanced Airflow, Comfort, Savings

The typical air ducts are constructed of sheet metal, sized and fabricated to serve the conditioning needs of the home where they're installed. Those needs, and benefits, are as follows:

  • Good duct design promotes balanced airflow for maximum comfort.
  • Balanced airflow reduces air exchange between living space air and outside air (air outside the home shell and air outside the insulation barrier, such as attic and basement spaces).
  • Fewer airflow restrictions and obstructions mean less energy is being used to circulate conditioned air – more money in your pocket.

Good Ductwork Design

Duct design has been refined by engineers at the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), who have developed a formula for factoring airflow distribution based on the heating and cooling load of the building (ACCA’s Manual J) and the characteristics of the HVAC blower and add-ons (ACCA’s Manual S). The duct design formula is called Manual D, and the basic objectives include:

  • Provide a clear and balanced channel for return and supply airflow.
  • Distribute supply airflow evenly to each area of the home, which may result in different size duct runouts for different room sizes.
  • Return registers are located in multiple locations for promoting balanced air pressure in the home.
  • Joints are sealed using metal screws, mastic paste or aerosol sealant, and metal tape.
  • Conditioned spaces are utilized for installation locations, which helps limit heat energy losses through thin duct walls.

Ask your HVAC contractor to provide sketches of a few different duct design layout options, and make sure they are using Manuals J, S and D. The results of all calculations, which may be completed using computer software, should be available for your review.

To speak with a reputable contractor about ductwork design for your Fort Wayne area home, please contact us at Hartman Brothers Heating and Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about ductwork design and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Foxie/Shutterstock”

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