Your Guide to Understanding HVAC Ductwork

Your Guide to Understanding HVAC DuctworkThe ductwork provides the pathway for warmed or cooled air throughout your home. So what exactly makes up your home’s circulatory system?

Know these HVAC ductwork basics.

Materials and Shapes

Ducts are made from different materials, including:

    • Aluminum
    • Galvanized steel
    • Polyutherane
    • Phenolic panels
    • Flexible ducting
    • Fiberglass duct board

The typical shapes of ducts are round, oval, and rectangular.


Ductwork components include:

    • Plenum — This is the heart of your duct system. The air sucked out of your rooms by the return vents flows to the centralized air handler for heating and cooling through the return plenums. On the contrary, the supply plenum directs heated or cooled air from your HVAC system’s central unit to the rooms that require heating or cooling.
    • Take-offs — The walls of the main duct have holes to hold fittings known as take-offs. They allow a portion of the airflow to be diverted from the main duct into your branch ducts.
    • Vibration isolators — The air handler contains blowers that create significant vibration. This vibration is minimized by using flexible sections known as vibration isolators.
    • Stacks — These ducts help transport air vertically. They’re located inside thin walls.
    • Stack boot — This is located at the bottom of a stack. It provides the transition from a regular duct to the thin duct.
    • Head stack — This is found at the top of the stack. It offers the transition from the stack to the ordinary duct at the top.
    • Dampers — These are found inside the ducts and are used to close off or reduce airflow to certain parts of your home.
    • Turning vanes — These are installed inside of ducts where there are changes in direction. They reduce the turbulence and resistance to airflow.

Ductwork is one of the most important parts of your HVAC system, so it pays to know some HVAC ductwork basics.

For more information on ductwork design or maintenance, contact NisAir Air Conditioning and Heating. Homeowners in Martin, Palm Beach, and Indian River Counties have relied on us for all their home comfort needs since 1973.

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