Air Conditioner Ducts: How They Work

If your home or office building has a central air conditioner system, the air conditioner ducts are a crucial element of your centralized air control unit. Nevertheless, many people who rely upon air conditioner ducts to moderate the temperature and humidity in their home or place of business do not fully understand how they work and why they are important. Read on for a brief overview of air conditioner ducts and how they function as part of a central air conditioner system.

The Basic Function of Air Conditioner Ducts

A central air conditioning system cools air by a process of refrigeration and then feeds this air into a room in order to lower the overall temperature of the room. As air conditioning technology has advanced, centralized systems are now capable of heating rooms, cleaning air and controlling room humidity as well. Because most large-scale conditioning systems refrigerate air in one location, it is critical that they system have a way of distributing the cooled air to other rooms or spaces. Air conditioner ducts are responsible for transferring this cooled air to other spaces.

Supply Ducts and Return Ducts

There are two primary types of air conditioner ducts. Supply ducts carry chilled air from the central air cooling unit to other parts of the building, while return ducts transfer air from other locations to a centralized air intake for the cooling system.

Supply ducts are typically insulated carefully to avoid unnecessary warming of the refrigerated air as it moves to various locations within a building. Generally, a larger main vent carries air to primary locations within a building, while smaller side vents further distribute the chilled air to other locations.

Return ducts, on the other hand, do not help to cool the air around them. Instead, they serve as a gauge for the air conditioner system by allowing the system to monitor the actual temperature of air in a room. If a return duct provides air that is too cold back to the central unit, the air conditioning system will shut itself off.

How Air Conditioner Ducts Work

The centralized cooling unit of an air conditioning system contains a fan or blower that forces the chilled air into the supply ducts. As this air moves through these ducts and into a room, it in turn pushes the air from the room back to the central unit via the return ducts. Some systems have computerized dampers that further control the flow of chilled and ambient air.

Selecting an Air Conditioner Type

Air conditioner ducts can be an expensive part of the installation of an air conditioning system. In almost all cases, a window or through-the-wall air conditioning system is cheaper to install than a centralized system. However, centralized air conditioning systems provide many advantages over these other types, the primary one being that a centralized unit can regulate air temperature throughout an entire building, not just one room. Additionally, centralized air systems are often more efficient once they are installed, allowing for less energy use.

For further inquiries regarding air conditioner ducts or the installation of a centralized air conditioning system, contact a contractor or a home improvement store.