Ductwork on ceiling of an industrial building

Ductwork

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 3/2/2021

Ductwork is often the last thing on someone’s mind when they are starting a home renovation project. After all, in many homes, these air shafts are hidden behind finished surfaces and require very little attention apart from the occasional cleaning. But they can quickly become a real problem if you don’t plan ahead to work around them before you start construction. Knowing how to locate them and how they operate are essential homeowner skills.

Definition

The term ductwork often refers to a system or network of air ducts (ventilation shafts) used to distribute forced airflow from the heating and cooling systems to the rooms throughout a home or building. Sometimes, separate air ducts can connect appliances, such as dryers, directly to the outside. Ductwork can come in many configurations, sizes, shapes, and materials, and often requires custom installation by a professional or an experienced DIYer. Properly installed units, can increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, and reduce your energy usage and costs. Proper insulation can also help improve efficiencies and prevent condensation build-up.

What Is A Normal Static Pressure In Ductwork?

Your heating and cooling systems rely on the ductwork throughout your home to deliver a healthy and comfortable airflow. Proper installation and maintenance of your air ducts will help ensure they’re working properly. But to really be certain you’re getting maximum efficiency, you may need to perform a static pressure test:

  • It’s recommended that you clean your ductwork every few years in order to keep it properly maintained. However, unless there is a noticeable problem, your air filters should do most of the work for you.
  • It’s possible to install ductwork yourself but it’s probably a good idea to get a professional to help. Properly installed systems can reduce energy waste and help save you money on your bills. Additionally, they can make the environment in your home much more comfortable.
  • The static pressure in your ductwork indicates the amount of resistance the airflow in your system is receiving. For it to function properly, most homes need a static pressure of around .82” on a manometer. Readings and improvements are usually performed by a professional.
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