HVAC Ductwork Basics

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Consistent temperature control and healthy indoor air quality throughout your home rely on HVAC ductwork basics to get the job done. The blower in a typical residential air handler continuously circulates over 1,000 cubic feet per minute of conditioned air as long as the system is cycled on.

Here are some HVAC ductwork basics that show how the elements work together—and how common problems sometimes arise.

  • Residential ductwork is actually two systems: supply ducts and return ducts.

  • Supply ducts deliver conditioned air to individual rooms, entering through a supply vent on an upper portion of a wall, close to the ceiling.

  • Return ducts remove air and convey it back to the air handler to be cooled or heated again. Some houses have return vents in every room, many others have only one central return vent often located in a central hallway.

  • Supply and return air volume in the ductwork system is balanced to ensure neutral air pressure inside each room—the optimum condition for temperature control and air quality.

  • Most ductwork is not visible in a typical home. Usually, the long spans are routed through areas such as the attic or crawl space. Shorter “branch” ducts that extend into rooms may be installed inside wall cavities.

  • Rigid ducts are usually fabricated of rectangular or round sheet metal. Flexible ducts consist of a wire internal coil covered by plastic.

Potential Duct Problems

As ductwork ages, air leaks may develop at joints and other points in the system. Loss of conditioned air into unconditioned zones such as the crawl space or attic is a major contributor to increased operating costs and poor cooling and heating performance. A professional duct inspection including pressure testing can determine the extent of leakage. Proven sealing techniques will restore leaky ductwork to standards.

Thermal gain or loss frequently affects airflow temperature in ducts routed through very hot or cold zones like the attic or crawl space. Insulating exposed ductwork in these unconditioned zones resolves the issue.

Ask the experts at Air Assurance for more about HVAC ductwork basics and professional duct service to maintain indoor comfort and efficiency.

Service and Maintenance

HVAC Tape and How It's Used

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Some HVAC projects are costly and typically need a professional to perform them. Fortunately, if you're a do-it-yourselfer, there are some tasks that you can handle on your own with ease. One of the tools that will come in handy when performing such tasks is HVAC tape.

What is HVAC Tape?

HVAC tape refers to any tape that's specifically engineered for HVAC installation and maintenance tasks. For example, you can use the tape to seal flex duct, rigid duct material, and sheet metal.

How Do You Apply It?

How you apply the tape to your HVAC equipment makes the difference between dependable, long-lasting performance and expensive inefficiency. Be sure to follow the steps below:

  1. Tear or cut enough tape from the roll if you're sealing a short length of HVAC material. Apply the tape directly from the roll if you're to use it on a longer material. For easy handling, just unroll a few inches of the tape at a go while applying.

  2. Starting with the end you're using, remove the tape liner. Apply the HVAC tape while centered over the area you're sealing. Keep peeling off the liner while applying the tape. Make sure the tape stays unwrinkled on smooth surfaces and conforms to textured or uneven surfaces like reflective insulation and flex duct.

  3. If you're applying the tape straight off the roll, tear or cut it once you establish the exact length that will ensure no leaks or gaps and total system closure. Using excess tape will unnecessarily increase your repair costs.

  4. Finish your tape application by wiping it down thoroughly with a squeegee. That maximizes surface contact, resulting in a more secure bond.

Remember, HVAC tape reliability is crucial to the success of your project. Therefore, only work with a UL listed tape as it has passed a series of tests for shear strength, tensile strength, and adhesion level. If you get stuck and need responsive and reliable HVAC assistance, contact the experts at Air Assurance. We've been helping Broken Arrow homeowners with their home comfort needs since 1985.