Ducted air conditioning is widely seen as the gold standard when it comes to residential climate control, and has many advantages over cheaper, less efficient split system air conditioners. However, one of the major challenges associated with ducted air conditioning is finding enough space to install the ducting itself.
Most homes that use ducted air conditioning use ceiling ducts, which are routed through attic spaces and ceiling cavities, but underfloor ducting is also a popular option. Each of these ducting systems comes with its own set of pros and cons, so if you are having ducted air conditioning installed in your home, choosing the best ducting location for your needs can make a big difference.
Key Considerations When Choosing Duct Locations
Ceiling ductwork is the most popular option, and generally requires significantly less modification of existing structures than underfloor ducting of equivalent size and capacity. Choosing ceiling ducts can help keep installation costs relatively low, an important consideration when ducted systems cost a lot more to install than split system air conditioning.
Ceilings in modern homes also tend to have more free space available for ductwork installation, which will make installation both cheaper and faster. However, if your ceilings do not contain spacious cavities, or your home is fitted with a bulky ceiling insulation system that takes up too much room (such as spray foam insulation), underfloor ducting may be the only viable option.
When cool air is vented into a warm room, it sinks through the existing warm air until temperature equilibrium is achieved. As a result, cool air vented from ceiling ducts is dispersed through a room more quickly and evenly than cool air from underfloor ducts.
However, many ducted air conditioning systems are reverse cycle systems, which also provide heating power during the cooler months. Because warm air rises, floor ducts are more efficient when these systems are set to heating mode.
If your air conditioning system is strictly used for cooling, or you anticipate using a reverse cycle system for cooling more than heating, ceiling ducts will provide faster temperature changes and less energy wastage. If you live in a more temperate part of the country where heating and cooling power are equally important, either option should suit your needs.
Heat Gain And Heat Loss
If your attic and ceiling cavities tend to heat up during the summer months, they can cause cool air passing through ceiling ducts to warm up before it is vented into your rooms. By the same token, cavities that get cold in winter will reduce the temperature of warm air passing through a reverse cycle system fitted with ceiling ducts. In both cases, the system will need to use more energy to provide the required heating/cooling power.
Underfloor ducting is surrounded by floorboards, concrete and other heat insulating materials, and tends to be much less vulnerable to heat gain and loss. This can make underfloor ducting a more energy-efficient option, although you can minimise problems with heat gain and loss in ceiling ducts by having your ceiling and attic cavities thoroughly insulated.
For more information, contact a company like RAPIDCOOL AIR CONDITIONING AND ELECTRICAL P/L.