The duct system design in your Florida home is an essential part of keeping your home comfortable and your energy bills low. Even the most efficient air conditioner (A/C), furnace or heat pump can’t do its job well if forced to rely on poorly designed ductwork. Whether you’re installing ductwork in an existing home or planning a new construction, check that your duct design has energy-efficient characteristics, including that it’s:
- Integrated building and duct design: Optimally efficient duct system design depends on a number of construction factors, such as wall and ceiling framing. Because the ideal places for ductwork may become inaccessible after construction is finished, create the layout while there’s still time for the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) technician and builder to collaborate.
- Based on best practices: Inexperienced contractors sometimes size ductwork based on a home’s square footage alone. Because that method rarely gives optimal results, responsible contractors follow Manual J and Manual D from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Manual J indicates how to accurately calculate heating and cooling loads, while Manual D provides guidelines for sizing ductwork.
- Installed in conditioned spaces: Installing ductwork in conditioned spaces, including interior walls and ceilings, reduces energy loss, when compared to its installation in unconditioned areas, such as your attic. Likewise, avoid using open areas, such as joist spaces, in place of ducts. Building codes now prohibit this inefficient shortcut.
- Short and simple: Short, straight supply ducts are the most efficient at delivering conditioned air. Placing the air handler in a central location minimizes the need for long ducts with turns and joints that can leak air.
- Providing sufficient return-air paths: Return ductwork improves your HVAC system’s efficiency by allowing the system to bring conditioned room air into the air handler. It also prevents pressure imbalances that pull in outdoor air and cause drafts. Every conditioned room should have a return-air duct. If that’s not in your budget, then go with transfer grilles or jumper ducts between each bedroom and a room with a return duct.
For more guidance on planning a duct system design, contact us at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions. Since 1969, we’ve been serving the Orlando area with reliable HVAC services.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about duct systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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