Ducted cooling systems rely on ducts to supply conditioned air to indoor spaces. Ducts play a critical role in the overall performance and efficiency of a system. Thus, when you are buying them for HVAC systems, it's crucial to choose the best material for the application. There are various types of ductwork on the market, such as aluminium, steel, fibreglass, fibreboard and flexible ducts. How do you choose the best material for your space? Below are three crucial factors to consider for your air conditioning ducts.
Sheet metal is the most durable material used in the manufacture of HVAC ducts. Galvanised steel and aluminium are common metals used to make ducts. They are sturdy and durable, which means you don't have to worry about air leaks. Aluminium is more lightweight than galvanised steel; therefore, it is easy to transport and install. Fibreglass ducts are the least durable because the material deteriorates over time.
Available installation space
Not all buildings have adequate space for the installation of ductwork. Furthermore, it may be costly and cumbersome to install ductwork in plastered and finished buildings. You need to install the ductwork in walls and ceilings without undertaking significant structural alterations. In this case, flexible ducts are the best option. They are made of a metal coil covered with flexible plastic.
As the name suggests, the ducts are flexible, meaning you can easily install them in hard-to-reach areas or buildings with minimal space. They curve easily through bends and have no offsets or elbows. The only downside to flexible ducts is that they can restrict airflow due to compression, twisting or bending. Thus, if you have adequate installation space and a flexible budget, opt for sheet metal or fibreboard ducts.
Ease of maintenance
Before buying ductwork, assess the factors that can increase the ducts' maintenance requirements. These factors include:
- Susceptibility to dust and debris
- Susceptibility to mould growth
- Ease of cleaning
Sheet metal ducts are great at facilitating airflow; however, they tend to trap dust and debris. Thus, these materials require frequent cleaning to maintain indoor air quality. On the plus side, they are less susceptible to mould and other harmful microorganisms. Fibreboard and flexible ducts are also great for curbing mould growth because they do not trap moisture.
Fibreglass ducts are porous, which allows them to trap moisture. Consequently, they can encourage mould and mildew growth and lower indoor air quality. If you choose this material, you need to clean the ducts regularly to prevent exposure to mould. Note that you should leave duct cleaning to the professionals, regardless of the chosen material. DIY cleaning can damage the ducts and cause problems such as air leaks.
Consider these factors when choosing the best ductwork material for your building. Consult a professional for expert advice.