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HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs

Aug 20, 2020

In this podcast episode, Neil Comparetto from Comparetto Comfort Solutions joins Bryan and Kaleb to discuss some duct installation best practices he has learned. You might be able to take away some of his duct installation tips and apply them in the field.

Neil used to focus a lot on making the ducts look good, but nowadays, he focuses a lot more on performance; the work of art is in the data, not the beauty of the building materials. The quality of the seal on the duct is more important than the duct's appearance. Neil focuses a lot on leakage, and he says it all starts by committing to low-leakage connections in your mindset. He does as much sealing as he can before hanging the ducts.

Flex duct is one of Neil's favorite materials even despite its poor durability. Flex duct is quiet, well-insulated, pretty cheap, normally leak-free, and quick to install. Of course, you must install it in straight lines and pull it tight for best results, but its performance is pretty close to that of normal sheet metal.

It can be difficult to separate the install from the design, so some design features are beyond the installer's control. However, if possible, it's best to keep the duct system as small as possible. Shorter ducts reduce the likelihood of leakage and the area available for thermal transfer, especially in unconditioned spaces.

Neil, Kaleb, and Bryan also discuss:

  • Design and preparation before installation
  • Squeegee, tape, insulation, and mastic
  • Brands that Neil likes
  • Splicing flex duct
  • Finding friction rate and balancing
  • Downsizing equipment
  • Building codes and inspections
  • Balancing supply and return
  • Return grille placement on homes with few large returns
  • Getting feedback
  • Equivalent lengths of straight vs. 90 boots
  • Duct vs. register velocity
  • Takeoffs
  • Dos and Don'ts of duct installation
  • Filters

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