Most homeowners understand the basics of ducts, since they are responsible for transporting hot or cold air created by an HVAC unit to areas inside a home. Generally, ducts are installed in attics, basements, or tight spaces. There are two main types of ducts used in residential settings: rigid and flexible. Rigid ducts are usually made of galvanized steel and can be manufactured for custom installations.
They have a smooth surface inside and out, making them easy to clean and difficult for mold to adhere. However, they can be difficult to work with in tight spaces. Flexible ducts consist of coils of wire with a plastic cover. They are the best option for tight spaces where metal air ducts don't fit and are considered cheaper and easier to install.
The advantage of using flexible ducts is their ability to bend and be used in tight areas. However, they can be punctured and require special cleaning. Fiberglass duct plates and fiberglass-lined ducts are also used in commercial applications. Rectangular ducts were commonly found in homes, but round ducts are an alternative that is often found in newer homes.
Round metal ducts can be used for longer runs with fewer joints to restrict airflow, making them more efficient overall. Oval ducts belong to this class and are perfect for narrow-walled cavities. Round ducts are perfect for medium to high pressure systems, although they require more height for installation compared to rectangular air ducts. The brand plays a role in the cost of new ducts, but not as much as the thickness or materials used in their construction.
There are thickness standards established by SMACNA (National Association of Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors). Most hardware stores sell 26-gauge galvanized steel ducts. When it comes to repairing an air conditioning system, the main thing to consider is leaks and efficiency. If it's a short run that needs to be replaced, it's something you can probably tackle yourself.
However, if it's a major overhaul of the ductwork of your HVAC systems, you may want to consider a professional for a variety of reasons. Ducts must be the correct size and designed with a balance between air flow, return, and supply. When it comes to repairing an air conditioning system, selecting the right type of ductwork is essential for ensuring optimal performance and efficiency. Rigid metal ducts are typically made from galvanized steel and offer a smooth interior surface that is easy to clean and resistant to mold growth. Flexible ducts are ideal for tight spaces where metal air ducts don't fit and are generally cheaper and easier to install than rigid options.
Fiberglass plates and fiberglass-lined ducts may also be used in commercial applications. Round metal ducts offer greater efficiency than rectangular ones due to fewer joints that restrict airflow. Oval ducts are perfect for narrow-walled cavities while round ones work best for medium to high pressure systems. The thickness or materials used in construction will have a greater impact on cost than the brand itself. When repairing an air conditioning system, it's important to consider both leaks and efficiency when selecting the right type of ductwork. If it's a short run that needs replacing, you may be able to do it yourself but if it's a major overhaul you should consider hiring a professional who can ensure the correct size and design balance between air flow, return, and supply.