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A 5-Step Guide To Optimal Ductwork Design

Optimal ductwork design is absolutely critical if your heating and cooling system is to perform at maximum capacity. Think of the ductwork as the delivery system for the conditioned air your chosen equipment produces. Even the strongest, best running central unit can not deliver sufficient heating or cooling if the ductwork is not doing an efficient job of delivering the air to the desired locations.

Here are five important steps to note when considering ductwork design:

    1. Design the ducts as straight as possible. The straighter the duct, the stronger the air delivery will be. Bends and turns rob it of its momentum and weakens its arrival strength. In other words, air that is forced to turn multiple times before it reaches the vent will come out of the vent at a slower, weaker rate, and the heating or cooling will be diminished.
    2. Use the correct duct for the space available. Straight, hard metal ducts of standard length are preferred where possible. Install round, spiral or oval ducts in spaces where the bigger rectangular duct cannot fit. Use the fewest number of joints and size transitions. Also, keep the ducts as short as possible and seal all joints thoroughly.
    3. If space allows, do not use a square elbow for turns in your ductwork design. Instead, use radius elbows, which make gentler turns. Using radius elbows will lessen the angle the air has to turn and allow it to retain more of its momentum to the vent.
    4. Be sure to size the supply duct appropriately. System ducts are sized according to the  air volume and speed they are required to handle. For instance, ducts located downstream or upstream from the air source have different pressures and will differ in their air flow loads and sizes.
    5. Correctly size the return air duct system. How well the house is sealed helps determine the size of the return system. Also, whether or not fans are used, where the fans are located, and their strengths impact return sizing. Generally, the supply and return duct sizes are roughly equal.

Have more questions about your home’s ductwork design? The professionals at Wolff Mechanical can help. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help!

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