What Is an Air Duct? How Do Air Ducts Work?

What Is an Air Duct?

In the United States, we are all too familiar with central air systems that require ducting to operate. This setup allows your home to be treated with warm or cool air to keep you comfortable, depending on the season. However, just because you know how it works doesn't mean you are familiar with all the terms, so maybe you are wondering what is an air duct? Many places worldwide thrive without central air, and there are even some places in the US that don't need it, so consider this a crash course.

What Is an Air Duct?

duct configuration depicting what is an air duct

An air duct is a conduit that carries air from one place to another. Air ducts are often used in homes, schools, and other buildings to heat or cool the air using vents. They can also be found in cars, where they circulate hot or cold outside air into the interior cabin when desired by the driver. The use of an air-duct system can help control what temperature you want inside your home at any given time.

How Do Air Ducts Work?

There are several steps involved in how air ducts work. First, an exterior cooling system, such as what you have at home or school where the unit is kept outside your building, will cause low-pressure suction to pull conditioned (or unconditioned) room air into a central location inside your structure. This cool/warm air is then evenly distributed to each room through a series of ducts. Finally, floor registers or wall registers will release the air into the room so you can feel comfortable.

This process is what allows you to set your thermostat to a specific temperature and have that be consistent throughout your entire home- cool in summer, warm in winter!

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