Are you installing ductwork in your home or business?
A fully functioning HVAC system is a modern necessity for work and relaxation. But whether you are making improvements and replacing old ducting, or installing ducts for the first time, getting yourself set up can be a daunting prospect. But it doesn’t have to be.
Read on for our 7 steps for an easy HVAC duct installation.
1. Design the Ventilation Early On
Before you can install any sort of ductwork, you’ll need to work out your load calculation. What this means is you need to calculate the heat loss and gain in each room. The reason for this is it’ll tell you what rooms need ductwork and which ones can do without.
Write down your calculations and draw a diagram. Once you finish your calculations, you can begin planning your project. Take time and work out where you want the ductwork to be. You’ll need to plan locations for the air return ducts too.
It doesn’t have to be a full-on blueprint, but try to be as detailed as you can. It’s important to include the proper measurements of the rooms. This will help you size up the ducts and work out how much material and equipment you’ll need.
2. Pick the Right Ducting
There are a couple of options you can choose when it comes to ductwork; sheet metal or flexible fiberglass hose. The main reason to choose sheet metal ductwork is the fact that it is tried, tested, and effective.
Regardless of if you’re building a new property or working with an existing one, sheet metal ductwork is durable and lasts. If installed right and well maintained you may not need repairs for a long time.
Sheet metal has a few other benefits too. It’s easier to install, which makes it perfect for a DIY installation. With so many sizes and fitting types, it works for most homes. The sheet metal often stays cleaner for longer and isn’t as quick to collect dust.
Flexible fiberglass ducting can degrade over time. It will collect dust and can be difficult to clean. They’ll also need to be larger than metal ducting to get the same level of airflow. If you don’t allow enough room at the corners or create kinks, it has a huge impact on restricting airflow.
3. Pick the Location for Your HVAC First
Pick the most convenient locations for your exhaust pipes and other large parts. Think about how easy it will be to connect everything. MVHR or heat recovery systems are often found in the loft. But where there’s vaulted ceilings or not enough room you can put them in a utility closet.
Ducting itself usually goes in ceiling voids between floors and lofts. But again, vaulted ceilings won’t allow for this as there are no ceiling voids. Instead, you can run them via webbed eco joists between floors or inside stud walls.
4. Avoid Long Runs and Bends
Any bend, whether it’s sealed properly or not, will affect airflow. If you don’t take the time at the design phase the equipment can end up far away from the room that needs cooling. This can lead to long ductwork runs, which makes it harder for your HVAC unit to run the air.
Too many bends and bends that are too sharp will also reduce airflow. It decreases the amount of air that can reach the area that needs cooling, forcing your HVAC to work harder, and the room to heat up.
5. Work With Existing Ducting
If you already have existing ductwork it is sometimes easiest to incorporate this into your new system. Be sure not to repurpose anything that needs to be replaced though.
When working with existing ductwork, it isn’t always possible to follow best practices with the installation. If you need to install a pipe between two others but are unable to maintain the ideal 1.5-inch overlap, make a butt joint on one side. If you are using circular ductwork, a draw band connector can be used to secure everything in place.
When you are taking apart your existing ductwork, don’t try and peel off the foil tape between sections. Instead, score the seam and remove any screws through the tape. This will ensure that you have a good surface to reapply new tape to. Just clean off any debris and tape over the old tape.
6. Make Sure to Seal Properly
If your ductwork isn’t sealed right, you could be losing up to 20% of your conditioned air. This issue is worse with the high-efficiency systems, which run at a lower capacity for longer.
That’s because air spends longer in the ducts and has more opportunity to escape through joints. So make sure to seal your joints with mastic gum or a metal-backed tape will also prevent leaks.
7. Commission the System to Check Airflow
Once your ductwork is in place run a final check. Get your HVAC unit to check that airflow levels are right.
Some of the latest models will offer app-controlled air-con settings. This helps save installers time on site. They can use the app to check that airflow levels are correct. This removes the issue of having to go back to the control unit to adjust fan speeds manually.
In turn, this ensures accurate commissioning. You want to make sure everything works at full capacity on installation. If not, you might face a costly call back to fix any issues.
HVAC Duct Installation Made Easy
With these 7 steps, your HVAC duct installation will be sure to go smoothly.
By planning out your installation before committing, you can avoid most potential issues. Getting the right materials for the job will ensure a long-lasting installation that requires minimum maintenance.
If you need quality ducting for your HVAC installation, contact us today at A1 Sheet Metal. Our extensive experience in providing complete ductwork systems allows us to ensure that you get the right product to meet your needs, no matter how specific.