7 Reasons to Heat with a Small-Duct System

By: Scott Intagliata, Marketing Director, Unico, Inc.

Homeowners and remodelers have many choices when it comes to retrofitting central heating systems.  Many of the same advantages found with small-duct central cooling, like that available from The Unico System, can be experienced on the heating side as well – with some additional features that aren’t available from conventional forced air systems.

Here are 7 reasons to consider retrofitting homes with Unico System small-duct heating.

1. Small-duct systems fit where others can’t and don’t require extensive home remodeling.

With small modular air handlers and main ducting that is one-third the size of conventional systems, small-duct systems simply fit where traditional systems can’t.  Attics, crawlspaces, underfloor cavities and small closets are tight spaces that easily accommodate small-duct systems.  With these smaller systems, there’s no need for dropped ceilings, soffits or other design-altering concealments.

2. Homeowners can be more comfortable.

With conventional forced air or hot water systems, occupants feel warmest when they’re nearest the heating source – vents or radiators.  Naturally, the temperature is chillier when they move away from the heat source.  Forced air systems exacerbate this problem of hot and cold spots by creating drafts through dumping conditioned air into rooms.  In contrast, small-duct systems work on the principle of aspiration.  Aspiration occurs when conditioned air is rapidly introduced through a smaller opening, creating a vacuum that draws the existing room air into itself and evenly mixes with it, eliminating both drafts and hot and cold spots.  Temperature variations with small-duct systems are less than 2°F no matter where the outlet is located.

Check out these videos to see how aspiration works:

Airflow from Conventional HVAC Ceiling Vent   Airflow from Unico System Duct

3. HVAC doesn’t have to be ugly.

Small-duct system outlets are smaller than conventional forced air registers. Unlike conventional rectangular registers, small-duct outlets come in round (3.5” outer diameter) or slotted (1” x 8”) configurations that blend more easily into a room’s décor.  These outlets come in a variety of finishes and can be painted, stained or wall-papered to almost disappear entirely.

4. HVAC doesn’t have to be noisy.

The very design of Unico System supply tubing has an added benefit of being of a sound-dampening construction.  We call the last runs of these supply tubes – the ones that actually deliver air into a room – “sound attenuators.”  Small-duct HVAC systems are much quieter than their conventional counterparts and even other common household appliances.

Check out these sound comparison videos:

Conventional A/C Decibel Meter   Dishwasher Decibel Meter   Unico System Decibel Meter

Slotted outlets complement this modern home’s sleek, linear design

Round outlets are wallpapered and virtually disappear in the wall of this historic bed & breakfast.

5. Small-duct systems save more energy.

The biggest problem homeowners face with conventional forced air systems is the amount of air lost from leaky metal ducts.  Leaky ducts can actually compromise overall system efficiency by as much as 25%, leading to high heating bills.  In contrast, the dual insulation layers in The Unico System’s main and supply ducts result in almost zero percent duct leakage.  With virtually no energy being wasted through duct leakage, homeowners only pay for the conditioned air they actually feel.

6. Small-duct systems offer better indoor air quality.

With the high velocity of the supply air stream, dust and other allergens can’t build up or recirculate within the supply ducting as they can with conventional systems. Unico is the only manufacturer fully compliant with ASHRAE 62.2 ventilation standards. Additionally, The Unico System removes 30% more moisture than traditional systems, and with filtration options, can capture 85% of all mold spores with MERV 11 filters.

7. Small-duct systems are complementary to in-floor radiant systems.

In-floor radiant heating systems have become more popular in recent years, especially in the custom and “new old house” markets.  While this method of heating is both comfortable and efficient, it lacks the “on-demand” quality often needed by homeowners, especially during the spring and fall months when heat may only be needed at certain times during the day.  Pairing The Unico System with these types of heating systems provides homeowners with the very best option available: quiet, comfortable and instantaneous heat when it’s needed without the wasted efficiencies or uncomfortable period of waiting for the radiant system to fire up.

More details about The Unico System can be found at www.UnicoSystem.com.


Scott Intagliata is the Marketing Director for Unico, Inc. Learn more about Unico, Inc. here.

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