How Your Duct-System Layout Influences The Way Your Furnace Delivers

Your home’s duct-system layout plays an important role in the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling system. If the ducts are improperly sized, poorly sealed and/or insulated, installed in unconditioned spaces, or lack adequate air returns your furnace is wasting energy in order to keep your home comfortable. A well-designed duct system will save you substantially in energy costs. 

Factors involved in designing an efficient duct-system layout

Manuals J & D. Make sure your HVAC contractor adheres to the guidelines outlined in the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA) Manual J and Manual D. Manual J provides instructions for calculating heating and cooling loads. Manual D offers guidelines to properly size ducts according to the home’s design. Without these professional guidelines, your contractor can miscalculate, resulting in an inefficient system.

Design early. The earlier your HVAC contractor gets in on the design plans, the more likely he can collaborate with the other sub-contractors and design the best system for your particular home.

Sealed ducts. Make sure your ducts are adequately sealed and insulated. Not only will this prevent conditioned air from leaking out of the system, it will also protect indoor air quality by preventing dust, mold, mildew, debris and pests from being able to infiltrate the system.

Conditioned spaces. Your ducts should run in conditioned spaces as much as possible. Keep them out of unconditioned attics, basements and exterior walls if possible. This will save 20-40 percent on your heating and cooling costs. If they must run through an unconditioned space, spend extra on insulation in those areas.

Return-air pathways. Every conditioned room should include a return air grille that connects to return-air ducts. If this isn’t possible, consider using a jumper duct or transfer grille to connect it to a room that does.

These simple steps will ensure your furnace efficiently delivers warm air to keep your home comfortable all winter long. For more information about improving your duct-system layout, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ve served greater Cleveland homeowners for more than 75 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Western Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about duct-system layouts and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!   

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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    Andy Culberson Andy Culberson has been president of Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing Inc. since 1995... More »