Good HVAC duct routing begins with a good design. A stretch of duct routed through the wrong path -- or poorly installed -- can not only become noisy during operation, but also waste energy, raise your energy bill, and even pose a health risk for anyone inside the building or home. Although it is a good idea to seek the help of a professional HVAC duct installer, there are certain rules you can follow during your inspection or installation of your HVAC ducts.
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Grab a notebook and pencil and design your duct route on paper first, especially if you are going to route ductwork in a new home. You can begin to make your sketch of the possible route as you go along checking the next steps. Your HVAC contractor and architect can work out the details to provide the new home or building framework adequate space for proper duct routing.
Route ducts away from the ground, if you are working inside a crawl space or basement of your home or building. A damp or flooded ground surface has the potential to absorb heat or cooling away from the airflow going through the duct pipes. Moreover, airflow moisture may condense inside the pipes, leading to the appearance of fungus and similar health hazards in your indoor air.
Keep duct curves smooth. This will ensure that cool or warm air flows unrestricted throughout the system. Crimped bends will cause your HVAC equipment to work harder at keeping your home or building warmer or cooler and raise your energy costs year round.
Provide the proper length of ductwork for every room throughout the house. Poor routing design may produce extra angles or turns along the duct path. This not only hinders proper airflow but increases the length of ductwork in use and raises project and energy costs for your home or building. When necessary, though, keep bends and angles as short as possible.
Secure small diameter flex-duct without crimping the pipe for high-velocity airflow. You can add smaller diameter duct to increase airflow in every section of the house or building. However, you need to secure these duct branches properly and prevent them from creating obstacles. It is easier for smaller flex-pipe to bend sharply at curves, making air hard to flow.
If you live in the United States, check with your local municipal authority. Some cities now require a proper routing design based on Manual D from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) before you can install new HVAC ducts in your home or building.
- Bookmark Inc: Manual D Residential Duct Systems 2009 Edition
- InspectAPedia: Duct System Defects - Heating and Cooling Duct Work Inspections for Adequacy, Safety, Defective Materials, Asbestos, Mold
- HVAC for Beginners.com: Air Duct Installation, You Can Do It Yourself and Save
- ASHI Reporter: A Home Inspectors' Guide to Flexible HVAC Duct Installation