Ductwork is something most homeowners don't spend much time thinking about. However, if you ever need to replace damaged ducts or install new ductwork, you'll have some decisions to make. This guide will cover three common types of residential air ducts and explain their benefits as well as their downsides.
1. Sheet Metal Ducts
Sheet metal ducts are the default type of residential ductwork that most homeowners are familiar with. Sheet metal ductwork is typically made of aluminum or galvanized steel. These materials are highly resistant to corrosion from humidity, and they are also resistant to mold growth. Despite these desirable qualities, sheet metal ductwork remains affordable for even the largest homes.
Adding ducts to tight spaces is one situation when you may want an alternative to sheet metal ducts. Areas like crawlspaces and attics may not provide enough room for large metal ducts. In some cases, installing rigid ducts in tight spaces will create an unpleasant rattling while your furnace or AC is running.
2. Fiberglass-Lined Ducts
Fiberglass-lined ducts are sheet metal ducts that have been equipped with a fiberglass lining on the interior walls. This lining is meant to serve two purposes: reducing heat loss, and muffling sound. If your home has struggled with noisy ductwork in the past, fiberglass-lined ducts could be a worthwhile upgrade.
The weakness of fiberglass ductwork becomes apparent when it needs to be cleaned. The fiberglass lining is much less durable than sheet metal when subjected to cleaning. Your duct cleaning contractors may need specialized tools to clean these types of ducts without damaging them.
3. Flex Ducts
Flex ducts are designed to serve homes with space challenges that may make rigid ductwork impractical. A flex duct consists of a wound steel spring wrapped in vinyl and foil. These lightweight ducts can be snaked through even the most cramped spaces in your home. Furthermore, they are often even more affordable than sheet metal ducts.
Naturally, flexible ducts are less durable than rigid ducts. Choosing flex ducts means you will need to replace your ductwork more often, so some homeowners choose to use it as a temporary solution. Flex ducts require extra care on the installers' part to prevent kinks and punctures during installation.
When your AC is underperforming or your ducts are making excessive noise, get in touch with a local HVAC contractor for duct replacement. If you're still unsure about the right type of air ducts to choose, ask your contractor for a personalized recommendation for your home.