Monday, July 29, 2019

New Technologies for Residential HVAC Ducts (Free PDF)

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There are many problems with residential duct systems as they are currently installed. It has been shown that they lose significant amounts of energy through leakage and conduction to their surroundings (Cummings et al. 1990, Davis 1993, Modera et al., 1991, Modera 1993, Modera and Jump 1995, Parker 1989, Parker 1993, Proctor et al. 1992, Treidler and Modera 1994). For electrical utilities this is of particular concern because the effects of this leakage and conduction are more pronounced during periods of peak electrical demand.

Unfortunately, the problems with duct systems are not widely recognized within the construction industry and there are no strong economic incentives to solve them. Duct system performance is not evaluated and HVAC contractors overcome duct system shortcomings by installing oversized equipment. Currently, most duct systems are installed with minimal insulation and by methods that give little thought to insuring proper sealing.

The lack of incentives for improved duct system performance has repressed innovation. With the exception of insulated plastic wireflex duct, residential duct systems are essentially unchanged since the 1920’s. ucts with higher levels of insulation have recently become available bu duct fittings have seen no change. Fittings are uninsulated, have a large potential for leakage, and are difficult to install in a manner which will insure no leaks.

This report summarizes the potential for new technologies for ducts, duct fittings, and insulation. It begins with a review of what technology is currently in use or available and found that the only inexpensive ducts in production are insulated wireflex ducts, sheet metal ducts, fiberglass board ducts, and uninsulated plastic ducts. For duct fittings, the market was found to be dominated by sheet metal fittings with some use of ductboard. Fittings that snap together were found for use with steel ducts but are too expensive for a residential setting. An uninsulated sheet metal duct which uses a rubber gasket was also found. Two companies are trying to develop plastic fittings, but their designs don’t consider improving the method of attachment to wireflex duct.

Executive Summary
1.0 Introduction
2.0 Survey of Existing Technologies
3.0 HVAC Contractor Survey
4.0 Potential New Designs and Technologies
5.0 Code and Rating Requirements for Ducts and Fittings
6.0 Cost Analysis of New Duct Technologies
7.0 Conclusions and Recommendations
8.0 References

Author Details
"Burke Treidler"
"Mark Modera"

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