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HVAC Ductwork Affects on Energy Efficiency

Your home or commercial property’s total energy efficiency includes several factors. If you are looking to reduce your utility bills, you will want to consider how well your property is insulated, the age and efficiency of your HVAC system, your temperature regulation habits, and the health of your ductwork. Your ductwork is especially important if you have renovated or added square footage to the building.

Why HVAC Ductwork is Important for Your Property’s Energy Efficiency

“The job of the ductwork is to deliver the correct amount of cubic feet per minute (CFM) of heated and cooled air to specific areas of your house and should be tailored for the size and function of each room. Your ducts also allow the vents in your rooms to operate within the manufacturer specifications and correctly balance air pressure throughout your home.” (source)

Energy Star warns that buildings lose 20-30% of air forced through duct systems from leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Not only will this result in higher utility bills, but you will have a hard time regulating room temperatures for comfort.

How to Improve Ductwork for Energy Efficiency

Sheet metal is the material most commonly used to make ducts. There are many positive reasons to use sheet metal.

Here are a few:

  •         Metal ducts have lower static pressure
  •         Reduce blower motor wear
  •         Sheet metal is easy to manipulate to form ductwork parts of various shapes and sizes

A professional HVAC contractor will be able to take the time to evaluate your total energy efficiency and recommend ways to improve your ductwork. A thorough contractor will check each of the following areas.

Find and Seal Leaks

When you use your HVAC system to regulate your room temperature, air is forced through ductwork to cool or heat the building. When your ducts have leaks, the air is lost to the outside instead of forced into your property.

By measuring the pressure of your air return and using specialized equipment for air diagnostic testing, they will identify cracks where the air is escaping from the ducts. Your HVAC contractor will locate your problem areas and explain where repairs are required.

Confirm Equal Supply and Return Airflow

For the most energy efficient air flow, your contractor should check both the supply ducts and return ducts for proper sizing.  One way to identify if your duct sizing needs evaluation is when your air flow is unbalanced. If you find that one room is freezing while another is uncomfortably warm, you have unbalanced air flow.

Best Ductwork Location

The location of your ductwork will have a lot of impact on energy efficiency. In Tampa, Florida summer temperatures can cause attics and crawl spaces to reach sweltering temperatures. Even with insulation, ductwork is susceptible to heat gain and loss issues. The air surrounding a duct can affect the temperature in the duct. In these situations, the rooms furthest away from the HVAC system will have a harder time with temperature regulation.

By lowering the air temperature in the space surrounding the air ducts, you will help improve the temperature regulation of your property. Your HVAC contractor should be able to evaluate your property and provide alternative solutions to reduce the space surrounding your air ducts in extreme temperature situations.

Fine Tuning Efficiency

Installing manual duct dampers will prevent airflow backup and duct obstruction. When strategically positioned, duct dampers can improve energy efficiency.

A programmable thermostat will also help reduce utility costs by controlling when the HVAC system needs to work harder to regulate room temperature. By pre-programming the thermostat to allow for the room temperature to increase when your building or home is unoccupied, you will reduce the time your HVAC system runs.

In some situations, you may want to explore a ductless mini-split system for zoned heating and cooling. These units are helpful when you add additional space to a home.

For a thorough evaluation of your home or commercial property’s ductwork, contact Ball Building Services. Located in Tampa, FL our contractors work in Central Florida providing ductwork repair services as well as ductwork modifications. We will inspect your ducts thoroughly and offer our best recommendations for reducing your energy costs. Contact us today to schedule your appointment for ductwork inspection.

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