The comfort level inside your home may be directly affected by the HVAC ductwork material you seldom see. Residential ducts are typically installed out of sight in zones like the attic, the crawl space, or inside walls. Though they often don’t draw much attention, the type of ductwork in your house impacts the performance and efficiency of your HVAC system.
Ductwork material varies according to the type as well as the variety of installation requirements. Here are the three common types and how they are typically utilized.
- Sheet metal. It’s the most frequently installed ductwork material in residential applications. Because of its wide usage, sheet metal ducts are available in a large variety of sizes, shapes, and configurations for both supply and return ducts. The material is long-lasting, and the smooth interior surface of sheet metal ducts supports optimum system airflow and doesn’t collect as much dust, dirt, or other particulates as other types of ducts do. Sheet metal is also generally more expensive than other alternatives.
- Fiberboard. These square or rectangular ducts are composed of boards made of compressed glass fibers bonded by resin. Fiberboard ducts typically incorporate an exterior foil covering to prevent air leakage and infiltration of water vapor. Typically more affordable than sheet metal, these ducts provide good insulating factors to minimize heat or cooling loss and also reduce noise. Because the interior surface of fiberboard material is somewhat rough, fiberboard may accumulate dirt and dust and potentially trigger mold or bacterial growth.
- Flex duct. This round flexible ductwork consists of a spiral wire, interior structure with a polymer plastic covering. “Flex” stands for flexible, and these ducts can be contorted into many shapes to fit installation requirements where other duct material cannot be utilized. While cost is less than other options, flex duct usually also has a shorter expected service life — about 15 years — before deterioration affects the plastic cover and duct leakage occurs. The rippled interior surface of this material also tends to diminish airflow.
For professional advice in selecting the right ductwork material for your home, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.