Your Phoenix home’s HVAC system is crucial to how comfortable it is in your house, as well as how much you spend on energy costs. But your heating or cooling unit itself—whether it’s a furnace, air conditioner, ducted heat pump, or mini-split—isn’t the only thing that can affect how well your system operates.
Your home’s ductwork plays a vital role in your home comfort and energy efficiency, but unfortunately, we often see homes with duct design that’s been given little thought or attention, and as a result, the homeowner ends up suffering. Properly designed duct systems create even and balanced airflow throughout your home—here’s why.
How Does HVAC Ductwork Design Work?
To circulate the air in your home properly, your HVAC system needs to deliver as much conditioned air to your home’s living spaces as it removes. This is why your duct system has two separate lines: a supply and a return.
These lines need to be balanced—if your ductwork is pumping air into a space faster than it can remove the old air, it will create a positive pressure room, and conditioned air that you’ve paid to cool or heat will go to waste as it’s pushed out of your living spaces through air leaks and cracks around electrical outlets, recessed lighting cans, windows, and more.
Conversely, negative pressure rooms are created when your HVAC return grill vents are pulling air out of a room faster than the supply vents can deliver it. When there is negative airflow in a room, air from unconditioned spaces of your home or the outdoors is drawn in through those same tiny cracks or gaps, bringing with it dust and other air pollutants that can affect the Tempe or Scottsdale air quality of your home.
Ductwork can be designed to achieve proper air pressure balance in a number of ways, from transfer grilles to jumper ducts and other duct solutions, but it’s important to work with a company that has an actual plan in place.
The Importance of a Well Designed Duct System
A proper ductwork system has enough AC return vents to match the supply vents and allow for balanced airflow, and vice versa. But poor duct design goes beyond uneven supply or return vents—other common ductwork design issues we see in Arizona homes include:
Your ducts need to be large enough to not impede airflow. If your ducts are too small, air won’t be able to move through them fast enough, and your heating or cooling unit will be forced to run longer or harder than it needs to keep you comfortable.
Ductwork with long runs
The farther air in your ductwork gets from the blower fan, the harder it will be to move. This is why your HVAC system should be installed as centrally in your home as possible—if your air conditioner is on one side of your house, and you need long duct runs to reach certain rooms on the other side, you’re going to end up with uneven distribution throughout your home and some rooms that are less comfortable than others.
Ductwork with too many turns and bends
Similar to long duct runs, ducts that have multiple turns and bends can also create airflow problems. The more resistance air faces on its way to its final destination (the rooms in your home), the harder it will be to deliver enough conditioned air to certain parts of your house.
Trust Your Ducts With Phoenix’s HVAC Experts
As you can see, designing ductwork is complicated! That’s why it’s important to get it right the first time and avoid HVAC contractors who do back-of-envelope “guesswork” when they install new ductwork in your home. At Ideal Energy, we follow ACCA protocols from start to finish, including Manual J load calculations to determine the right-sized heating or cooling unit, as well as the right sized and balanced ductwork for true whole-home comfort throughout your house.
Whether you have a new home and need an HVAC system installed for the first time or you’re wondering if you could benefit from replacing the ductwork in your attic and want to make sure the job is done by real heating and cooling professionals, Ideal Energy is here to help.