Duct design is not something most homeowners consider. As long as the system is performing effectively, what happens with the ductwork is not a concern. However, if the ductwork in your Northbrook, Illinois home was not properly designed, you will feel the effects in many ways. When duct design is an issue, high utility costs, inconsistent heating and cooling, and poor air quality are all red flags.
The average residence has more than 300 feet of supply and return ductwork. A lot of things can go wrong with duct design at those lengths. Studies have shown that many homeowners are living with duct efficiency in the 60 percent range due to improper duct design or installation. That means 40 percent of the conditioned air ducts are supposed to distribute doesn't get to rooms. Air that does make it might not be at the desired volume or temperature to adequately maintain comfort. Homeowners should make sure the HVAC contractor installing ductwork is a reputable professional.
The payoff extends beyond the potentially hundreds of dollars a year saved through lower operating costs. Proper ductwork design also promotes better air quality, a more environmentally-friendly system, and enhanced interior comfort all year round. When a duct system is professionally sized, designed, and installed, it meets the following standards:
The system provides the correct volume of conditioned air to meet the heating and cooling requirements of all rooms in the house.
The ductwork is sealed to prevent loss of conditioned air and/or to avoid drawing in contaminated air from unconditioned zones of the home.
The airflow in supply and return ducts is balanced so as to produce a neutral air pressure environment in each room.
All duct joints must be secured mechanically with sheet metal screws and not merely press-fitted together. These joints should be sealed with mastic paste, metal foil tape or both. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America publishes Manual D, the accepted industry standard software for duct design used by all reputable HVAC professionals.