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The Different Types of Air Ductwork Explained

The Different Types of Air Ductwork Explained 1

Cooling or heating air is just one function of your HVAC system. For the system to serve its purpose, there must be a way for conditioned air to reach each room. Dedicated channels, or air ducts, distribute air throughout a house or commercial building. 

Air ducts can be rigid or flexible but there are a few types to choose from depending on your needs. An HVAC professional can help decide on the right type of air ductwork and material.

Your options for HVAC ductwork include the following:

Sheet Metal Ducts

Aluminum or galvanized steel air ducts are extremely durable and the most commonly installed. Aluminum is often preferred as it’s lightweight, strong, and easy to install. Galvanized steel ducts are coated with zinc to prevent rust and are often lined with fiberglass for insulation. Like most rigid ducts, both types can be cylindrical or rectangular in shape.

Sheet metal is nonporous, which resists mold and bacteria and can improve air quality. One drawback, however, is that when sections are joined, the duct can leak. It’s also known to trap dust and particles; although easy to clean, ductwork should be periodically cleaned by a professional.

Fiberglass Ducts

Fiberglass air ductwork has thermal insulation properties and is protected against heat loss and condensation. The fiberglass lining may be installed inside or outside the duct. Interior surfaces absorb sound. This allows an HVAC system to operate more quietly, which is typically preferred in commercial or office buildings.

However, fiberglass ducts require more cleaning and maintenance because they’re more prone to mold and bacterial growth. Cleaning requires being careful because damaging the lining can release fiberglass particles into the air supply, creating potential health hazards. Deterioration of the lining can release fibers as well.

Fiberboard Ducts

Inorganic glass fibers are compressed into board, so fiberglass particles are sealed and cannot shed into the air. An air and moisture barrier is created by a foil covering. Fiberboard ducts are therefore well-insulated and don’t require any additional insulation materials. They’re also the most affordable to install.

Fiberboard ducts have textured interior surfaces where dust and debris can collect, and mold and bacteria can grow especially in humid areas. Rough surfaces also create friction. This disruption in air flow can reduce HVAC efficiency.

Flexible Ducts

Flexible ducts are among the most affordable to install and can be used in tight or difficult spaces. They can bend around structures, providing an alternative to traditional rigid ducts. Usually made of steel wire helixes within a durable plastic layer, flexible ducts also feature insulation surrounding the round tubes to maintain airflow and temperature.

However, sharp bends can create kinks and other areas of restricted airflow. This will reduce efficiency. Complicating matters are the internal ridges that can disrupt air that passes through. One must also be careful to avoid punctures and sags during installation. Nonetheless, flexible ducts offer superior resistance to rust and mold.

Contact NexGen for Air Ductwork Services

NexGen provides professional air duct cleaning, sealing, and repair services throughout Southern California. Duct cleaning removes contamination and blockages that can reduce air quality, comfort, and HVAC efficiency. It improves heating and cooling performance as well. Holes, cracks, and loose connections in ducts can lose a significant amount of air, decreasing performance, creating noise, and increasing your utility bills. We mitigate these issues by sealing ducts using the latest repair methods.

NexGen is available 24/7 to address emergencies. You can always trust our fully licensed, insured technicians for high-quality installation and repair. To learn more about our services, X Protection Plan, and financing; have your questions answered; or schedule an appointment, call 833-729-9735. Also, feel free to book online.

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