Ductwork Deficiencies Cause HVAC Unit Inefficiency
According to ENERGY STAR, an inefficient ductwork system can cause energy losses of 20 to 30 percent in the average commercial building. Ductwork can reduce whole commercial air conditioner efficiency due to:
- Poor ductwork design: Poor duct design prohibits conditioned air from being distributed effectively throughout your building. This forces your HVAC unit to overwork, running longer cycles to compensate. The unit in turn experiences more wear and tear, which causes it to consume more energy to run, lowering efficiency. Improper ductwork sizing and configuration restricts airflow through the system, wasting energy and limiting indoor comfort.
- Duct leaks: Duct leaks allow conditioned air to escape into unconditioned spaces, so your living areas do not receive all the air intended. Air escapes through leaking and broken connections. Duct leaks also contribute to poor indoor air quality, as leaks allow contaminants to enter the system and circulate into your space.
- Uninsulated ducts: Ductwork is typically installed within walls, under or between floors, and in ceilings. The temperatures in these unconditioned areas can affect the temperature of the ducts (which are typically made from sheet metal), in turn affecting the temperature of the conditioned air passing through the ducts (thermal loss) causing energy loss.
Improving Ducts with HVAC Unit Installation
Installing a new, high efficiency HVAC unit or air conditioner will not offer the energy efficiency levels you expect if your ductwork is faulty. Those who have installed high efficiency HVAC units but fail to lower utility bills often find that their ductwork is the source of the high costs.
hen installing a new HVAC unit, it is important that your HVAC contractor evaluate your existing ductwork to identify and correct deficiencies. Ductwork repair or renovation may be needed to allow your new air conditioner to perform at the energy efficiency level you expect. Your contractor may recommend ductwork services such as:
- Duct sealing: The contractor will examine your duct system by visually inspecting the ducts and performing a duct leakage test to uncover leaks. Duct leaks are sealed using mastic or appropriate sealants to eliminate air loss.
- Duct insulation: Your existing ducts as well as the uninsulated areas through which they run may be insulated to help the ducts maintain temperatures within the air flowing through. Ductwork insulation works to prevent thermal loss which wastes energy consumed by the HVAC unit.
- Duct renovation: Your existing ductwork may not be designed appropriately to accommodate the new system. Poor design may also prevent your home from being adequately heated or cooled. Renovating your existing duct system may include increasing the size of ducts, installing additional duct runs to supply the properly, and other measures.
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