Are you considering floor air ducts? If so, we have some pros and cons for you to ponder. It is not just the high efficiency HVAC but the ductwork that is an important factor. If you are considering the installation of ductwork under the floor as opposed to in attic space, understanding the basics of air flow and the assets and limitations of your home are essential to design success…
Basics of Airflow
You are concerned with the process of conditioning air and moving air from one area to another. It makes sense that you need to know how air flows in ducts and what factors affect the flow. Why do we want to move air? Think of what HVAC means – heating, ventilating, and air conditioning. Ventilating is bringing outside air into a building. Heating and air conditioning means heating, cooling, cleaning air, and regulating its moisture content. Conditioned air must be delivered to selected areas of a home and then removed from those areas and returned for re-conditioning. Conditioned air is usually transported through ductwork. In cold weather, heat taken from an energy source such as gas or electricity is added to air. This heat is delivered to the conditioned space. In hot weather, heat is removed from air by the use of electrical energy. In this case, heat energy is being removed from the conditioned space. These principles should also be applied when locating return vents (the vents that pull air from the room to supply your HVAC system.) For homes where heating is a primary concern, floor collection is advisable to pull from and warm the coldest air in the room, while higher wall collection vents better capture and condition warm air for more efficient air conditioning.
Problems of Installing Air Ducts Under the Floor
If you do not have a basement and the ductwork is in a crawlspace, it can be extremely difficult to address ductwork leaks, insulation issues, and animal damage. It is also a problem arranging furniture because you cannot block the vents or you will not get proper airflow. You have to think about area rugs, beds, sofas, and dressers. Over time dirt and debris tracked into your home can result in very dirty floor air ducts and this can require frequent air duct cleaning. Young children sometimes stuff toys, tissues, and food into the floor air ducts. The possibilities are limitless and this can be a problem.
Despite the Drawbacks, Get Those Air Ducts Out of the Attic!
If you’ve studied heat transfer at all, you may recall that the rate at which heat moves from a warmer to a cooler body depends on the temperature difference, which we abbreviate as ΔT. An attic can get up to about 130° F in the summer and the conditioned air entering the ducts is about 55° F or so. With hundreds of square feet of ductwork surface area in the attic and a ΔT of 75° F, the air coming out of the vents in your home will be significantly higher than 55° F. Throw duct leakage into the mix, and the problems are even worse. Un-insulated attic installations typically suffer significant heat loss and HVAC performance issues.The loss of cold air in the summer, as well as heat loss in the winter – as conditioned air is lost to uninsulated attic space. In these situations, basement installation of ductwork or installation of ductwork inside the conditioned space of your home is better.
If You are Looking for Energy Efficiency
Home plans that are certified as Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR include requirements for the energy-efficient features and construction details typically found in ENERGY STAR certified homes—tight construction and duct systems, properly installed insulation, high performance windows, efficient heating and cooling equipment, and ENERGY STAR qualified lighting and appliances. When built, Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR home plans will result in a home that is at least 15 percent more energy efficient than a home built to the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20–30 percent more efficient than standard homes. A case study by Energy Van Guard, an Energy Star partner whose mission is to increase the energy performance of homes, revealed substantial savings are offered by relocating ductwork, which outperform many other efficiency upgrades.
If you have issues or questions about your ductwork ,you can count on our experts to help you with your problems. Contact us. We’ll help you solve your toughest HVAC problems today.
Make sure to choose your heating and cooling partner wisely. Teegarden HVAC is a knowledgeable, trustworthy, and affordable HVAC company that enjoys and respects customers throughout all of the Greater Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky area.
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