For your HVAC system, ductwork is one of the most critical parts of the system. Its main function is to distribute cool or heated air to the connected rooms of your household. The passage of the air ducts acts as a channel. If you want to install new HVAC ductwork to replace the existing one, you will come across different types of ductworks to choose from.
To determine which one is the best one for you, read the article to know the pros and cons of the different ductwork types:
A. Flexible Ductwork
Flexible Ductwork is made up of steel wire and covered with a layer of flexible plastic-like metalized PET or polyethylene. The shape of the air duct is typically round tubes. The plastic coating is durable and provides insulation to maintain the temperature of the HVAC system as it is set. This type of ductwork is easier to install than rigid air ducts. If you are low on space, it is the best choice for installing this air duct. Due to the flexible structure of the ducts, they can be bent and fixed accordingly, even in tight spaces. However, the airflow may become restricted due to the flexible ducts’ bends, resulting in the HVAC system’s inefficiency. On the other hand, the air quality of this type of ductwork is better due to the flexible materials like fiberglass in its structure. Compared to the other air ducts, the plastic and flexible materials ensure excellent air quality as they are resistant to rust and mold. It is less susceptible to leaking air off your HVAC system than rigid air ducts. However, the plastic layer has the potential to be punctured easily. Comparatively, this ductwork is less expensive.
B. Rigid ductwork
As the name suggests, the other category of air duct is rigid ductwork with hard, enduring, and stiff structure. This type of air duct can be rectangular or cylindrical shaped. You can customize the vents according to the structure required. They cannot be bent like flexible ductwork. But they are least likely to be punctured or torn. They are hassle-free because these ducts are easier to clean and are reliable to install. There are three categories of ductworks under rigid-type of ductwork.
- Sheet Metal Ducts: These types of air ducts are made up of aluminum or galvanized steel. Steel metal ducts are resistant to mold that ensures better air quality in your home. This type of air duct is the most durable due to the thick and solid walls of the channel. Although it cannot be easily crushed, it is susceptible to leaks in the joining sections.
- Fiberglass ducts: These air ducts are built with fiberglass strands held together by resin. The fiberglass is effective at providing insulation. The material of these ducts prevents condensation formation. It is suitable for commercial places, as fiberglass lining in ducts can reduce noise by muffling sounds. Compared to steel metal ducts, these ducts are less expensive. However, it is more difficult to clean the ducts, and it is more susceptible to molds, debris, and bacteria formation.
- Fiberboard Ducts: These types of ducts are made up of compressed fiberglass fibers, and an external layer of foil is attached around the ducts. The layers prevent contaminant particles to enter the airflow passage as well as provide insulation. However, just like fiberglass, they are prone to mold. They also hinder the airflow because of the friction of the rough internal surface of the fiberboard. They are the least costly to install compared to other duct types.
While choosing the type of ductwork for your HVAC system, go over their qualities and select one that matches your requirements and household or building type. If you are still confused about which type of ductwork is the best option for you, you can consult with HVAC experts. They can assist you to choose the right ductwork based on your property’s design outline, space, and budget. Also, your ductwork will need maintenance and cleaning. Overall, it is better if you let professionals install them, as they know which type of ductwork is the most convenient and suitable for you.
See the summary of this content here in an infographic – Types of HVAC Ductwork [Infographic]