How Many Different Air Duct Types Are There?
Many people know that an HVAC system runs air through ducts to regulate the temperature inside a house, but knowing what these ducts are made of and why a particular type is used is usually beyond the range of experience for the average homeowner. This article will help educate homeowners on the available options, so they can ask the right questions when consulting with HVAC contractors.
Reasons Behind Different Designs and Materials
Air ducts fall into three basic categories: rigid, semi-rigid, and flexible. No matter the air duct materials, from sheet metal to fiberglass, they will fall under these three umbrella terms. There are many factors to consider when determining what kind of ducts to install for a project. Below are a few of the factors that go into the decision-making process:
- Insulation/Efficiency: When the air is cooled by the evaporator coils in an AC unit, it must move through the ducts to cool the home. If the ducts aren’t sufficiently insulated, the air will not stay at a cool temperature.
- Sound: Some air ducts are better at insulating sound than others. This is not a huge factor, but it does bear some weight.
- House Layout: No doubt homeowners know that different floor plans and attic spaces require different types of ductwork. Smaller spaces are more likely to need flexible ducts because of their maneuverability.
- BTUs: BTUs or British Thermal Units describe the amount of cooling power produced by an air conditioning unit. One BTU is the amount of heat it takes to raise 1 pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The higher the BTUs of an AC unit, the more square feet it can cool. The proper ductwork determines how well the unit does its job.
- Ease of Cleaning: Certain types of ducts are more easily cleaned or cared for. Some can be susceptible to mold and mildew growth, leading to poor indoor air quality. If a household member has allergies, ensure the contractor is aware of this.
Common Options Available for Air Ducts
As previously stated, air ducts can be made from several different materials. They are used in different situations, and sometimes more than one type may be used within the same system. The most common types of ductwork available are:
- Flexible air ducts,
- Sheet metal air ducts,
- Fiberglass-lined air ducts
- Fiberboard air ducts.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these options, so it often depends on the factors mentioned above and the specific needs of individuals in the household.
Which Air Duct is the Best?
While different ducts are used for different reasons, the most highly recommended choice and the most common choice among HVAC contractors is sheet metal air ducts. Because of their nonporous nature, they are not susceptible to the mold and mildew growth likely to plague fiberglass lined or fiberboard ducts.
Fiberglass and fiberboard have also been known to shed small pieces of fiberglass that can enter the lungs and cause health issues. Sheet metal air ducts are a safe and easy choice, but homeowners should consult professionals to determine what their house needs.
About Gresham Heating and Air Conditioning
Gresham Heating and Air Conditioning is a local family-owned and operated company with 30 years of experience serving Gresham, OR, and the surrounding areas. They provide competitive pricing, honest opinions, and free estimates. Call them today for heating or air conditioning services in Gresham, OR.