Most Common Air Duct Types

Are There Different Types of Air Duct Designs?

Many homeowners may be surprised to find out that there are actually four primary types of ductwork designs that can be used throughout commercial and residential buildings. A few factors determine which type of duct will be installed in a home. In this blog, experts share the primary types of air ducts and what goes into deciding which should be used. 

Reasons Why There Are Different Types 

There are various reasons why there are different ductwork designs. These factors include the house layout, air duct materials, and British thermal units (BTUs). Although there are four main types of ductwork available, the two main categories include flexible ductwork and rigid ductwork.

Flexible ducts are usually round tubes constructed out of steel wire helixes. These helixes are covered in durable plastic and often insulated. On the other hand, rigid ductwork can vary in size and material, and its shape can be rectangular or cylindrical. These two ductwork categories and the ductwork designs that fall within them are intended for specific use. 

Most Common Air Duct Types

ductsAs originally stated, there are four common types of ductwork designs: flexible ductwork (which is also a category), sheet metal ducts, fiberglass lined ducts, and fiberboard air ducts. The last three types fall under the rigid category. 

Flexible Ductwork

Flexible ductwork is easy and inexpensive to install. If the space where the ductwork is going to be installed in tight or awkward, then flexible ductwork is the best choice for design. Flexible ductwork, as the name suggests, can be bent around structures and other odd sources to fit in almost any area. 

Flexible ductwork can also benefit indoor air quality, helping keep the air clean from particles that can get stuck in rigid ducts. 

Sheet Metal Air Ducts

Sheet metal ducts are a type of rigid ductwork that is made of either galvanized steel or aluminum. They’re lightweight and easy to install. Also, they’re mold-resistant, making them an asset to indoor air quality, much like flexible ductwork. 

Sheet metal ducts are the most durable of the ductwork types because they maintain shape and are not easily crushed. However, they are not without faults. Sheet metal ducts are the most likely to have leaks. 

Fiberglass Lined Air Ducts

Another type of rigid ductwork, fiberglass-lined ducts, is similar to sheet metal ducts but is lined with fiberglass. This lining helps keep them insulated, which helps to quiet the sound of the HVAC system. 

Unfortunately, fiberglass can deteriorate, and when this happens, fibers are released into the air, which can cause health problems for those exposed for prolonged times. Another disadvantage of this type of ductwork is that they are harder to keep clean and are prone to mold, mildew, and bacteria. Any air duct cleaning conducted on fiberglass ducts should be performed by a professional HVAC company for safety.

Fiberboard Air Ducts

The last common type of ductwork is fiberboard ductwork. This rigid type of ductwork is constructed from compressed fiberglass fibers. These fibers were sealed to keep particles from escaping into the air. 

Fiberboard is protected by foil covering the entire outside, helping to be a barrier for air and moisture and providing insulation. Fiberboard is the cheapest ductwork to install, but similar to fiberglass, it is prone to mold and mildew growth. 

Which Ductwork is Best?

ductThe most common type of air duct design to be installed is the sheet metal air duct. These ducts have a non-porous nature that prevents them from mold, mildew, and bacteria that can often breed inside the ductwork. Unlike fiberglass, sheet metal air ducts are safe and do not pose any negative health risks. 

However, to determine the best style of ductwork for any home, it is recommended that homeowners consult with a professional. A professional will recommend the best ducts for a home using factors like house layout, air duct materials, and British thermal units (BTUs). 

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