Designing a Duct System for Maximum Efficiency

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Martin Holladay with Green Building Advisor states “the best way to design a duct system is to follow the Manual D method developed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America” but he cautions that many HVAC contractors do not, and if not, then homeowners should ask what standards they will follow. Some common regulations are using 6” diameter galvanized duct in homes and restricting the distance from furnace to supply register to no more than 60′ for straight channels. Expert HVAC contractors like Blue Valley Heating & Cooling in Longmont follow the industry’s highest standards to design, install and repair duct systems that operate at maximum efficiency.

Tips for the Most Efficient Duct System

  • A balancing damper is needed on every branch running to a register. Adjusting each damper will ensure that each room gets the ideal amount of air flow.
  • A common mistake for residential HVAC systems is undersized return ducts; these need to be at least as large as the supply ducts.
  • Galvanized ducts are better than the flex option, which has more problems with reduced airflow due to the corrugated design and difficulty in keeping the pathways straight.
  • More efficient, shorter duct runs are possible if the house has a tight energy envelope so the supply registers can be installed along interior walls.

When designing the duct system, your HVAC contractor should perform a room-by-room heating and cooling load analysis, and no ducts should be installed in vented crawl spaces or attics (which are outside the building’s conditioned envelope). Other red flags that increase the likelihood of leaky ductwork are if the HVAC installer uses panned joist or stud bays as channels and if they do not seal duct seams with mastic. Ensure the most efficient forced-air duct system by hiring Blue Valley Heating & Cooling of Longmont to install, assess or repair your home or business’ ductwork.

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