The ductwork that is installed throughout your home is an often-overlooked but crucial part of your heating and cooling system. The duct system conveys warm or cool air from your heating and cooling equipment to the rooms in your home, then conveys “used” air back to the equipment to be conditioned again. Supply ducts feed air to your living space, and return ducts carry air back to your heating or cooling equipment.
Without effective duct returns, your system can’t work properly. Blockages or poor design or installation can lead to:
- Energy waste and, therefore, higher utility bills.
- Uneven temperatures throughout your home.
- Indoor air pressure that is either too high or too low.
Here are three ways to achieve effective duct returns in your home:
- Avoid shortcuts: Make sure your entire system is “hard-ducted,” meaning actual manufactured ducts are being used throughout the system (they are most often made of sheet metal). Some air-conveyance systems attempt to employ closets, wall-stud spaces or other building cavities in lieu of ducts. These systems should be avoided or corrected.
- Protect your conditioned air: As much as possible, your air distribution system should be installed inside heated or cooled spaces. That includes return ducts. Ducts that travel through unconditioned spaces, as well as exterior walls, will inevitably lose or gain energy through leaks — forcing your heating and cooling equipment to work harder. Ducts located in conditioned spaces leak warm or cool air into your living spaces, reducing energy waste.
- Give your ducts some breathing room: Once your ductwork is in place, ensure that your return grilles remain free of blockages such as drapes, rugs or furniture. Obstructions that block airflow put extra stress on your equipment and can prevent it from operating properly.
If you have any questions about effective duct returns, contact the professional technicians at Overland Park Heating & Cooling. Serving Overland Park, Johnson County and Kansas City, we have a sheet metal facility on premises and offer custom ductwork design and manufacturing as well as installation. We’d welcome the opportunity to help resolve any problems related to your home’s heating and cooling system.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about Effective Duct Returns and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.