Central heating and cooling systems use an air distribution or duct system to circulate heated or cooled air to all conditioned rooms in a building. Properly designed duct systems can maintain uniform temperatures throughout the building; efficiently and quietly.
The efficiency of air distribution systems has been found to be 60-75% or less in many buildings because of insufficient and/or poorly installed duct insulation and leaks in the duct system.
Properly designed and installed duct systems have efficiencies of 80% or more for little or no additional cost, potentially saving a home or business owner $50-$400 or more per year in heating and cooling cost. Moreover, efficient duct design can reduce equipment size, further saving money for new or replacement equipment.
Duct systems that leak and or do not distribute air properly throughout the building may make some rooms too hot and others too cold. Leaky and unbalanced duct systems may force conditioned air outside and unconditioned air into the building. This increases heating and cooling cost and may also draw humidity, dust, mold spores, pollen, and other contaminates into a building from the attic, crawlspace or garage and radon gas from the soil.
In extreme cases, poorly designed and installed duct systems can induce backdraft-spillage of flue gases from combustion appliances (e.g., furnace, water heater, fireplace) into the living space primarily when atmospheric or natural-draft flues are used rather than power vented combustion systems.
Duct systems that are undersized, are pinched, or have numerous turns may lead to low air flow rates and high air velocities. Low air flow rates cause the heating and cooling equipment to operate inefficiently. High air velocities increase noise.
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