Most homes in the U.S. come standard with a set of ducts so that it is easy to install a central heating or air conditioning system. Unfortunately, many ducts are not installed with care, and it’s actually probable that your ducts have some sort of problem delivering air to the home—from minor air leaks that are hardly noticeable to entire areas of ductwork that have collapsed. In some cases, poor design, faulty installation, or improper sealing will lead to premature ductwork replacement, a job which should only be left to professionals.
Duct Considerations that Should Be Left Up to Professionals
While you may be able to get your hands on some sheet metal ducts and a couple of guidebooks on the installation process, you should keep in mind that this is not a job for amateurs. Improper installation can lead to overworked HVAC equipment, poor indoor air quality, and even a fire hazard. Experts keep in mind all of the following when deciding on a design for the ducts.
- Considering the Proper Placement: First, an expert will have to decide which parts of the home the ductwork should run through. Ideally, you want your ducts to run through a conditioned space to minimize unwanted heat losses and gains, but this may not always be possible.
- Choosing a Duct Material: There are many different types of materials used to make ducts, but an expert knows which materials comply with building codes in your area, and whether flexible ducts, for example, are a possibility in your home.
- Finding an Efficient Configuration: The technician should try to keep duct runs as short as possible with few twists and turns for maximum efficiency.
- Sizing the Ductwork: This is perhaps the most difficult step in designing the ducts, as it involves some complicated engineering calculations, charts, and spreadsheets. You must also understand the heating and cooling needs of the home and the capacity of the existing system, as well as the power of the blower fan used in air distribution.
- Sealing Leaks: Finally, a technician will check the air pressure and make sure there are no further leaks that must be sealed. And professionals have the proper tools to do so, which does not include standard home duct tape (which can pose a fire hazard when you run your heater).