Presentation on theme: "Chapter 8: Duct Design and Sealing To be used with the Guide to Building Energy Efficient Homes in Kentucky."— Presentation transcript:
Chapter 8: Duct Design and Sealing To be used with the Guide to Building Energy Efficient Homes in Kentucky
Ductwork Poorly sealed ductwork is Common An easily solved problem Image Courtesy of Energy Services Group
Ductwork Duct leakage Increases heating and cooling loads Diminishes comfort Duct leaks = 10-30% of heating/cooling loads
Location of Ducts Locating ducts in conditioned space eliminates many problems with leakage. Ducts are often installed in chases. It is critical to seal chases and other hidden areas completely from unconditioned spaces.
Duct Leaks and Air Leakage Effective materials for sealing: Duct sealing mastic with mesh tape Rated tapes that are UL- labeled UL Listed UL Labeled
Balanced Systems Forced-air heating and cooling systems should be balanced. Supply Return
Pressure Imbalances Pressure imbalances can create dangerous air quality in homes including: Potential backdrafting of combustion appliances Increasing air leakage from the crawl space to the home Pulling pollutants into the air handling system via return leaks
Pressure Imbalances Typical causes and concerns of pressure imbalances: HVAC systems with excessive supply leaks can cause homes to become depressurized. HVAC systems with excessive return leaks can cause homes to become pressurized and create negative pressures around the air handling unit.
Pressure Imbalances Typical causes and concerns of pressure imbalances: Homes with central returns can have pressure imbalances when the interior doors to individual rooms are closed. Tighter homes with effective exhaust fans may experience negative pressures when these ventilation devices operate. Large kitchen exhaust fans can create large pressure imbalances.
Testing for Duct Leakage The best method to ensure airtight ducts is to pressure test the entire duct system. In most test procedures, a technician temporarily seals the ducts by taping over the supply registers and return grilles.
Where do you seal the air distribution system? EVERYWHERE!
High Priority Leaks Areas that have the highest priority for sealing: Disconnected components −Takeoffs that are not fully inserted −Plenums or ducts that have been dislodged −Tears in flex-duct −Strained connections between ductwork
High Priority Leaks Connections between the air handling unit and the supply and return plenums All of the seams in the air handling unit, plenums, and rectangular ductwork −Look particularly under components and in tight areas −Seal the holes for the refrigerant, thermostat, and condensate lines −Almost all air handling cabinets come from the factory with leaks Areas that have the highest priority for sealing:
High Priority Leaks Areas with the highest priority for sealing: Condensate lines of many systems contain a trap with a vertical vent that freely leaks air – If the vent is needed, it can be reduced in size by drilling a hole in a standard plumbing cap and placing the cap on the open vent
High Priority Leaks Areas for the highest priority for sealing: The return takeoffs, elbows, boots, and other connections The takeoffs from the main supply plenum and trunk lines Any framing in the building used as ductwork
Moderate Priority Leaks Connections near the supply registers Joints between sections of the branch ductwork
Duct Materials Flexible duct – Long, continuous pieces between the register and plenum box, the plenum box and air handler, or between the register and air handler – Long flexible duct runs can severely restrict air flow, so they should be sized and installed carefully Metal duct – Round and rectangular – Must be sealed with mastic and insulated during installation – Used for plenums and larger trunk duct runs, are often insulated with duct liner
Duct Materials Metal ducts Use fiberglass insulation having an attached metal foil vapor retarder The duct insulation should be at least R-8 The vapor retarder should be installed to the outside of the insulation—facing away from the duct The seams in the insulation are usually stapled together around the duct and then taped
Sizing and Layout The proper duct size depends on: The estimated heating and cooling load for each room in the house The length, type, and shape of the duct The operating characteristics of the HVAC system
Sizing and Layout The lower temperature of the heated air affects the placement of the registers. In standard duct placement and design, supply registers are almost always located on outside walls under or above windows. – Return registers are placed towards the interior, typically in a central hallway.
Sizing and Layout Some energy efficient builders are able to trim both labor and material costs for ductwork by locating supply and return ducts near the core of the house. In standard duct design, virtually all supply ducts are 6-inch flex-duct or round metal pipe. – Most standard designs have only one return for each floor.
Sizing and Layout Keeping all ducts a standard size may work for some homes, but can create operating problems for others, including: Too much heating and cooling supplied to small rooms Inadequate airflow Over pressurization of rooms when interior doors are closed