So you have decided to save some money and install the duct work for your HVAC system on your own and you have chosen to use the joist panning method for your cold air returns. Return air duct panning is simple and easy because it utilizes the space between the floor joists and requires much less material that running metal ducts.
Choices For Return Air Panning
Here are a few basic methods for your return air ducts:
1. Sheet Metal. You can purchase sections of round metal ducts to use for standard returns, or you can use sheets of metal to use for joist panning. Sheet metal would be the most expensive and labor intensive solution for your panned air ducts.
2. Foil Faced cardboard products such as Thermopan are more user friendly, however are not flexible and require some effort to create a sealed return. These products could also be damaged should there be excess moisture present.
3. Radiant Barrier Bubble Insulation products like EcoFoil come in rolls that are sized to fit between or underneath the floor joists. This is an excellent solution because it is less expensive than sheet metal AND foil faced cardboard. Bubble insulation is also much more flexible, which will make it easier to install and when the seams are sealed with reflective tape it will be airtight.
How to Install Joist Panning
Installing return air duct panning is simple! All you need to do is install whichever material you choose to the bottom of the floor joists and then seal the seams. If you use Thermopan or Ecofoil all you need to do is staple it right to the joists. These products are also easier to manipulate because all you need is a utility knife and a stapler.
Why Use EcoFoil for Your Return Air Duct Panning?
Ecofoil bubble insulation comes in pre-cut widths that make it perfect for installing between your floor joists. Unlike other products like Thermopan, EcoFoil radiant barrier products pass the NFPA 286 full burn room test. When you install EcoFoil in your joist panning you will have a product that is waterproof and resists the growth of mold and fungi.
EcoFoil: More Than Joist Panning
If your heating and cooling ducts are located in your attic, or you simply want to make your HVAC more efficient, you should consider insulating you ducts with a product such as EcoFoil Duct Insulation. Depending on which installation method you choose, you can get up to R-4 of insulation. All EcoFoil Double Bubble Products reflect up to 97% of radiant heat back to its source making them an excellent choice for unconditioned spaces such as attics and crawl spaces.