Keeping Your Home’s Circulatory System in Great Shape
Let’s Talk About Good Ductwork Design
If you think about it, your heating and cooling systems — and the ductwork that’s attached to them — act as a circulatory system for your home.
What? You haven’t thought about it? Maybe it’s an HVAC thing. Because we sure have.
Here’s the thing: if your ductwork isn’t well-designed, clean, and free from obstructions, then efficiency doesn’t matter.
Sounds a little bit like cholesterol’s effects on your arteries, doesn’t it? The heart is an amazingly well-designed and hardworking muscle. But if the blood can’t get to your heart because you had one too many BLTs this summer, then that efficient muscle can’t do a whole lot.
Not sure that metaphor worked because we kind of want a BLT, but you get the idea.
Why is Ductwork Design Important?
Good ductwork design can help improve energy efficiency. And you may have noticed that there’s a lot of talk about the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems and ways you can lower your energy bills. We’ve done a good bit of that ourselves, see 10 Energy Savings Tips to Reduce Costs and Save the Environment
Every day, we answer questions about the efficiency of the units we install. Which is great! We’re happy to answer them because efficiency is important and because we want you to get the most out of your heating and cooling systems! Rarely, however, are we asked about the efficiency of ductwork and the importance of smart ductwork design.
Your home’s ductwork is the foundation of your HVAC system. Ducts are the blood vessels that carry all that nicely conditioned air into your home. Without, you know, the gore. And they need to do it as directly as possible to maintain energy efficiency.
Here are 5 things to look for in your ductwork design
If your air ducts are poorly designed and were installed as an afterthought — new construction, we’re looking at you! — you’ll feel the effects of uneven heating and cooling. Here are a few signs that your home’s circulatory system could use some attention:
#1: Ducts run through unairconditioned areas
If your ducts pass through attics, unfinished basements, and crawl spaces, then you’re losing heat in the winter and gaining heat in the summer. That’s not good from an efficiency standpoint. Insulation can help mitigate this heat transfer but if possible, your ducts should run through the air-conditioned areas of your home.
#2: Ducts aren’t sealed
This one’s pretty straightforward. Leaks are bad. Seal them. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to tell. We can test your ducts for leaks and let you know what the best fix is.
#3: Long duct runs
If your ductwork looks like a maze on a kid’s menu or a ballpark pretzel, then you’re losing efficiency.
#4: Improperly sized ducts
This one’s a little tougher to eyeball than a long, wandering duct run. Which is why we run load calculations on every system we install to make sure we’re installing the right ducts for your system. Not sure if your ducts are the right size? Give us a call and we’ll find out if the shoe fits.
#5: Insufficient air returns
Ideally, every room should have both a supply and a return duct. This helps maintain air pressure and ensure airflow. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule — especially in smaller, older homes. At the very least, rooms without air ducts should have passages back to central return ducts. And you should keep your filters clean!
If you live in East Nashville or Near East Nashville (also known as Madison, TN), contact Cumberland Cooling at 615-576-0742 for the best duct installation and duct cleaning on this side of the Cumberland. Estimates and opinions are always free.