Every HVAC contractor knows how expensive it is to install or repair HVAC systems. The major expense covers the equipment cost and the installation process. Even a small error in equipment sizing and installation can cost hefty.
Among all, the HVAC ductwork system sizing holds much importance. Ducts that aren’t designed correctly can result in discomfort, bad air quality, high energy costs, and unnecessary noise in the HVAC systems.
So, careful planning and designing of ductwork will reduce waste, cut costs, and improve the efficiency of the entire HVAC system. Every HVAC professional uses many physical and digital tools to get accurate sizing.
But some top-rated design software on the market for fast and accurate duct design makes the work easy. Duct design software applications aid the HVAC professional in planning and designing proper HVAC systems.
You will find a list of the best HVAC duct design apps in this article. So, without wasting time, now let’s find out about them.
What is Duct System Design and Why is it Important?
To distribute air throughout the building efficiently, we must design the duct systems correctly. Otherwise, unnecessary issues would pop up. So, choosing the right-sized duct is critical to regulating proper airflow in the system.
Let’s elaborate on the importance of proper duct design.
For instance, let’s compare the duct design to the human body. Consider the HVAC systems as cardiovascular systems, the rooftop or air handling units as the heart, and the ductwork as the body’s arteries and veins.
If the ductwork is sized incorrectly, many issues can arise as they are mainly responsible for transferring the heat or cool air to a specified area.
If the ductwork is too big, it can lead to low Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM) of airflow in a given space. So, this makes the HVAC system run for an extended duration to heat or cool a space.
Meanwhile, if the ductwork is too small, it leads to high velocities and static pressures, which creates unwanted noise causing stress on the system.
Both extremes can affect the system’s lifespan and energy expenses. So, having the right sized duct for your HVAC system is vital and get lower energy bills, longer HVAC unit lifespan, and enhanced home comfort.
What is Duct Design Software?
Now that you have read the importance of proper designing of the ductwork, you must know how to measure and design the right-sized duct for a home. Designing the ductwork system involves selecting the exact size ducts and examining the airflow within the system via multiple simulation iterations for adequate conditions.
Well, the duct design software helps you to create a complete duct system from start to finish. Also, it gives control over every aspect of the design.
7 Best HVAC Duct Design Apps Used by Every Technician
You can now optimize your ductwork system designs faster and better using the SimScale application.
SimScale, computer-aided engineering (CAE) software product operating on cloud computing, is an essential tool for designing ductwork. In fact, it is the world’s first product-ready SaaS application focused on engineering simulation.
SimScale uses CFD to give a clear understanding of how the design works.
CFD, or virtual fluid flow simulation, is the new trend because it gives three-dimensional insights into the whole airflow field by considering the physical effects and the full geometry of the duct.
Being one of the best apps for HVAC duct design, it allows users to do the following
- You can run multiple ductwork designs in parallel for quick optimization.
- Design ductwork systems for commercial and industrial spaces such as theatres and factories.
- Predict pressure losses and improve HVAC ductwork design
- Flow optimization of a duct design with CFD simulation
The complexity of ductwork design depends on the nature of the existing or proposed structure. But with the right HVAC ducting design software application, the HVAC design engineers can quickly create the optimal design.
Plandroid is one such HVAC ducting design software tailored for ducted air conditioning or HVAC system design and quote.
It calculates the basic heat loads and the design costing and creates reports for your customer. So, delivering accurate quotations for ducted air conditioning installations is easy, and this process converts the leads into sales.
Compared to other traditional CAD designs, this tool’s graphical design process is simple and clear. So, you can create a ductwork design exactly what your customer requires with Plandroid.
If you want to size, quote, or plan an HVAC ductwork design, Plandroid can be the right option.
With Plandroid, you can
- Outrank your competitors with professional HVAC designs
- Quote the pricing quickly and accurately
- Re-use similar designs on new quotes
- Prevent unnecessary design errors
Wrightsoft has been helping HVAC business owners and contractors to succeed in their business since 1986.
Its Right-CAD, one of the best HVAC CAD apps, is highly recommended for HVAC duct design works. This robust CAD software solution for HVAC design is powerfully integrated with multiple software to sustain as a residential and commercial solution for HVAC design. So, it simplifies the HVAC design process from load calculations to HVAC system design, including ductworks.
All the smart objects store all of the property information of each shape. So this makes it easy to complete your calculations and designs.
Since it is integrated with Hotlink Technology, when you make changes to your design, it automatically gets reflected in other components, including designs, sizing, and parts take-off lists.
Another interesting feature is this design software suits both mobile and desktop versions.
Other notable features include:
- Its workspace is customizable and consists of all essential user interface items for HVAC duct design, calculations, and reports.
- You can integrate other WrightSoft modules and create quality ductwork designs. However, the tools are sold separately.
- This software features easy-to-use HVAC shapes, making it easy for new and seasoned Wrightsoft users to design the HVAC ductworks.
You know ductwork systems facilitate the correct flow of air throughout an HVAC structure. But minor errors in the duct design can give harsh results. So, designing plays a crucial role here. If you are searching for a free 3D duct drawing software tool, you must check out DuctQuote from US Duct.
This 3D web-based drawing software and quoting tool offers huge benefits for HVAC professionals with its features.
You can create 3D duct system drawings within minutes. This tool generates quotes, an order of ductwork install, and quick shareable 3D drawings. So, the duct design work is made simpler and easy.
Since this is a web-based program, users can log in from any browser using an ID and password. Apart from duct designing, this software also helps in Duct sizing.
With DuctQuote, you can
- Calculate air flow for duct design
- Draws 3D systems
- Generate custom quotes using logo and contact info
- Provide your customer with an online 3D drawing and help close the deal
5. M4 PLANT 3D HVAC ducting design software
M4 PLANT is plant design and factory layout software. It has a small module of 3D HVAC ducting design software that helps create accurate duct designs for plants and factories.
This software’s HVAC module ducting design provides an integrated solution for creating heating, air-conditioning, and ventilation systems. So, curating a clear Duct design is possible with this software.
Its functions allow users to create a complete HVAC system directly in 3D quickly and simply. The software contains a collection of catalogs that includes ducts, valves, fans, and other air-conditioning components.
It allows checking the design consistency of entire HVAC systems or selected sections such as ductwork. Also, creating custom components is made possible.
6. Design Master HVAC
This software allows users to create and adjust the HVAC building designs and drafts in an integrated environment like AutoCAD and BricsCAD.
It runs on AutoCAD and supports single-line and double-line 2D ductwork with automatic fittings and 3D ductwork.
It allows users to define the parameters of your HVAC project as you draft, then perform the required calculations within the software using the defined parameters.
The best thing is you make revisions throughout the design as much as required. So, with Design Master HVAC, you can build your HVAC systems or ductwork faster and more accurately.
Apart from the designing part, it also calculates duct sizes automatically or manually.
Some of the other features of Design Master HVAC are
- Draft ductwork that responds to changes in the ductwork design
- Laying out the diffusers and connecting them to the ductwork
- Drawing double-line ductwork as quickly as single-line
Cadmatic’s duct design software helps HVAC professionals design ducts of any shape and type in the 3D space. Be it oval, round, or rectangular duct shape, HVAC designers can design any using different materials and components and give out perfect duct design.
What makes it stand out is its specification-based system allows the correct components and materials to be selected. Its automatically-annotated duct spool drawings and accurate Bills of Materials (BOMs) get generated anytime. If the 3D duct model is changed, it notifies the users to update the documentation prepared.
Also, the published HVAC spool documentation can be distributed for project reviews and delivered to prefabrication shops and installation teams for use.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I create a ductwork layout?
To design an HVAC ductwork properly, the HVAC design professional must collaborate with the architect and contractor to ensure it is done properly.
Some of the steps followed are
- Choosing the best location to install the HVAC equipment and ducts
- Calculate the HVAC load in detail
- Consider your equipment type and support systems
- Using the right materials, fitting, and supports
- Ensure correct ductwork sealing after installation.
- Undersizing or oversizing the duct
- Sharp bends
- Air leaks
What are duct sizer and duct sizer software?
The duct size calculator, also called a ductulator, calculates the duct size for an HVAC system by considering factors such as friction loss, air flow velocity, the space to be cooled or heated, and the available static pressure of the HVAC system.
Using duct sizer software, the HVAC contractor can quickly size one HVAC unit duct run or multiple duct sizes. This software act as the digital version of the Trane Ductulator, which saves time and effort.
Is it better to oversize or undersize ductwork?
Undersized ducts fail to carry the required volume of heat or cool air. Meanwhile, oversized ducts will erode the system’s efficiency. So, to maintain neutral pressure in the HVAC system and throughout the house, the duct system is expected to deliver and return a matching air volume.
How do you increase airflow in the HVAC ductwork?
By cleaning the air filters and ductwork, you can increase the airflow in ductwork. Additionally, you can add inline duct booster fans or air dampers to improve the overall airflow in weak areas.
If a house with an HVAC system faces problems such as inconsistent heating and cooling, high energy bills, loud noise, and poor air quality, it indicates some issue with the duct system. Both oversized and undersized duct systems might result in these problems. This is why designing proper ductwork is important.
With the help of the above-listed best apps for HVAC duct design, we are confident that you will design accurate ductwork for houses. Proper ductwork design promotes better air quality and enhances interior comfort all year round.
Also, the work is not over after designing and installing the ductwork. Rather, it must be sealed properly to prevent the loss of heat/cool air and avoid drawing in contaminated air from different zones of the house.