Airflow Essentials: Material Alternatives for Air Ducts

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Filthy air duct on the ceiling

For most property owners, indoor comfort is not something they can compromise. They will thus invest in some of the best air conditioning equipment on the market then wait for the highest indoor air quality. Air conditioning is, unfortunately, not this easy. One of the primary aspects that will affect your indoor air quality and the functioning of your unit is its installation. The ductwork is one of the crucial elements that determine the level of comfort your HVAC unit delivers.

This is a circuit that distributes conditioned air through your interiors. Frequent heating repair, in Salt Lake City or Carson City, for your property might arise from the wrong duct installation or lack of its maintenance. Air conditioning ducts comprise supply ducts that carry conditioned air to your property and return ducts that remove the air in your indoors. Unbalanced ducts or the wrong ductwork material can cause uneven indoor temperatures, inconsistent airflow, condensation formation and air leaks that you might assume signify a malfunctioning HVAC system. The following are some of the material choices for your ductwork that will guarantee an optimal airflow and keep your unit working as it should.

Sheet Metal

The common types of sheet metal used for air conditioning ducts are aluminum and galvanized steel. Sheet metal ductwork is popular because it is incredibly strong and has minimal risk of mold growth owing to its non-porous surface. It is the best choice for cooling air but will not insulate well since it is conductive and should thus be used together with insulation material. Steel is generally used for the outdoor, exposed air ducts while aluminum is used in the connecting parts and tape of the air conditioner.

metal sheets on the roof


This is typically used to line sheet metal ductwork but can also be used alone. Fiberglass ductwork is generally used in commercial buildings since it will dampen the operating sound of your HVAC unit. Fiberglass can nonetheless deteriorate over time and be released into your indoor air and is difficult to clean. It is also not as strong as sheet metal and can thus not be used in outdoor units.


This material comprises fiberglass strands that are compressed then bonded using a resin. The resultant material is then covered using a foil laminate for its protection from water damage. Fiberboard ducts are currently the leading choice for heating and cooling ductwork nowadays since they have insulation properties and need no additional insulating material. They are nonetheless not ideal for ventilation since they have rough surfaces that affect efficiency and airflow.


This is used for flexible ductwork. It comprises a wire coil covered using durable plastic and insulation material. Plastic ductwork is used in areas where it is challenging to install rigid duct materials and is cheaper than rigid ductwork. It should nonetheless have minimal bends and turns and be well-supported to guarantee its efficacy.

Picking a material for your ductwork from the above and installing it requires tact. Several factors in your building’s construction and configuration are considered to ensure the material matches your needs. There are also several calculations an expert will use to guarantee the ductwork is the correct size and distance for your system and square footage.


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