How do I Choose the Best Duct System?

Klaus Strasser

When choosing the best duct system, there are many factors you may wish to consider, such as energy efficiency, how healthy the system is, and cost. Having a good duct system can typically reduce indoor air pollution and provide you with a healthy living space. It can also help you to conserve energy, which can be good for your pocketbook. There are many professional companies that install ducts, and they may be able to provide you with recommendations on the best type of system for your needs.

An air return duct is an important part of most air conditioning HVAC systems.
An air return duct is an important part of most air conditioning HVAC systems.

Ducts enable indoor air to be circulated, which allows for the heating and cooling of buildings. These supply and return ducts distribute air that is usually provided by central heating or cooling units, such as furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps. In general, the system consists of a series of tubes that are round or rectangular in shape, and are connected together, generally in ceilings, floors, and behind walls. Ducts can be made from many different types of materials, such as fiberglass board, sheet metal, and a flexible composite of plastic and wire. A duct system is commonly referred to as HVAC, which stands for heating, ventilating and air conditioning.

Sheet metal is commonly used to make ducts.
Sheet metal is commonly used to make ducts.

Experts estimate that most duct systems lose 25 to 40% of the energy that is produced from air conditioning or heating units. This can mean that air quality is poor, and that the system is not cost-effective. When choosing a duct system, you may want to make sure that it is as energy efficient as possible. Ducts that are thoroughly insulated and sealed can help minimize energy loss. The location of the system can also be important because duct systems located in rooms such as basements, can reduce energy loss.

Making sure there is no leakage in the duct system is also something to consider. Sometimes duct systems contain flue gasses from the furnace, or carry radon from the soil. If there is leakage this means that these gasses and radon will enter your living space, which can be a health concern.

Poorly configured installation and design are some of the most common problems with duct systems. Choosing a duct installation company with a good history can help eliminate such problems. You can generally get a good idea about which companies are the best by asking acquaintances that have already had this work done. You can also talk to company representatives about what kinds of materials are used and where they typically install systems, in order to determine the best option for you.

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