An essential part of every ducted heating and cooling system is the ductwork itself. Most of us don’t bother with it because it is hidden behind the walls, under the floor, or inside the ceiling. Nevertheless, just because we can’t see it does not mean we are doing right by ignoring it. Contrary to popular belief, you need to be more vigilant towards it as it is a major contributing factor in deciding the level of indoor comfort. Therefore, when installing new ductwork, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of different ductwork materials.
Importance Of Ductwork
The ductwork is responsible for transporting the air to and from the HVAC system. It distributes the air treated by the heating and cooling unit throughout the closed space and removes the stale air through channels known as ducts. In the absence of proper ducts, your living or working space would have varying temperatures in every area.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Different Ductwork Materials
Ideally, when looking for material to build the ductwork, you will have four choices to decide from. Each of these has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. We shall now talk about each of them:
1. Sheet Metal Ductwork – Sheet metal is the most commonly used material for ductwork. It is made up of either galvanized steel or aluminum. A thick, solid, non-porous wall that is its most prominent feature makes it highly durable. It comes in several shapes like round, rectangular, and spiral oval.
Advantages Of Sheet Metal – Following are the benefits of using sheet metal for ductwork:
1. It is light in weight.
2. It excels in durability.
3. It is easy to install.
4. It is easy to clean.
5. It has the least probability of mold or any other biological growth due to its non-porous nature.
Disadvantage Of Sheet Metal – The only obvious disadvantage of using sheet metal is its thickness. Nevertheless, that is a necessary aspect to avoid crushing ducts in case someone walks over them.
2. Fiberboard Ductwork – Fiberboard ducts are made of inorganic fiberglass strands bonded with compressed resin and covered by foil on the outside. The foil acts as an air barrier and a moisture deterrent. The interior of the fiberboard is sealed to prevent the strands of fiberglass from becoming a part of the circulating air. Overall, fiberboard ducts are considered to be the best as they are well insulated by themselves.
Advantages Of Fiberboard – Ducts made of fiberboard are popular because of the following reasons:
1. These are inexpensive to install and cheaper than sheet metal.
2. They provide acoustic as well as thermal benefits.
3. These can be fabricated as per requirement and make for easier installation to overcome any obstructions.
Disadvantages Of Fiberboard – The primary drawbacks of using fiberboard for ductwork are:
1. It provides the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow in a humid climate and hence, is not recommended for ventilation.
2. Its inner surface is rough, and so it affects the airflow and consequently the efficiency.
3. The textured inner surface traps contaminants, a major concern as it directly impacts indoor air quality.
3. Fiberglass Ductwork – Many people confuse fiberboard and fiberglass because of the similar-sounding name, but the two are very different and distinctive. In fact, the fiberglass material for ducts consists of sheet metal with an additional fiberglass lining. The main benefits of this lining are – it limits heat loss and prevents condensation.
Advantages Of Fiberglass – The advantages gained by building the ductwork from fiberglass are:
1. It reduces the noise of the HVAC system because of its sound-dampening property.
2. These perform really well when the supply of air is very cold and limits the loss of heat.
Disadvantages Of Fiberglass – Alas, even fiberglass has some restraints, and these include:
1. Fiberglass ducts require intense cleaning.
2. Over a period of time, the fiberglass may deteriorate, releasing its particles into the air and spreading them indoors, which is a significant health concern.
3. Fiberglass can get contaminated with bacteria, mold, and other pathogens.
4. Flexible Ductwork – Flexible ducts, as the name itself suggests, are bendable and hence, more adaptable. These are made of a steel spring wire helix covered in a thick two-ply polymer plastic. The one thing that people need to be careful about is that its length should be kept short. The number of bends or turns affects the performance of the heating and cooling system as they reduce the airflow. This ducting is most suitable in those spaces where installing rigid ducts is impossible. They can also be used to connect non-flexible ductwork to an air supply outlet.
Advantages Of Flexible Ductwork – Its key advantages include:
1. Flexible air ducts are cheaper than their rigid counterparts.
2. These are light in weight and also easy to install.
3. You need not worry about air quality as there is no fear of inhaling fiberglass particles.
4. These are also resistant to mold and dust.
Disadvantages Of Flexible Ductwork – The cons of having flexible ductwork are:
1. Being easy to install, if care is not exercised, these can get punctured, develop kinks and also sag. All these problems will play havoc with the HVAC system’s efficiency.
2. Flexible ducts are possibly the worst when it comes to airflow because of the inner ribs that line the entire surface.
So What’s The Best Choice
The best choice of material for the ducts depends on the specifications of your house. To be truthful, you need to discuss your choices with the HVAC contractor and take their opinion. With an expert guiding the decision, there is no way you will go wrong. Place your trust in a reputed, licensed, and the insured contractor only.
Residential and commercial building owners in West Palm Beach will be glad to know that Aztil Air Conditioning is up to handling all your ductwork concerns. We can guide you in choosing the best material for the ducts, take care of its installation, repair old and damaged ducts, and do their professional cleaning as well. We are open 24/7, so you can contact us at any time at your convenience. It’s time to pay some attention to your ducts. To book an appointment, give a tinkle at +1-888-729-8452.