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A Guide to the Various Duct Types

The ductwork that is hidden within the walls and ceilings of your house is essential to your air-conditioning system. The supply ducts direct the cold air from the HVAC equipment around your house. They are also designed to transfer warm air for heating systems.

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The type of duct you can install in your house varies from rigid and flexible. Let’s take a look at how these two differ.

Rigid Ducts

These type of ducts come in sections that are then connected together during the installation process. Coming in a range of sizes and materials, they can be insulated and are normally long-lasting.

They come in three main types which you’ll find at your local ductwork supplies outlet, such as

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– Sheet metal. Made from sheet galvanised steel, these ducts are the costliest but also the most durable. They can be cleaned easily due to their non-porous surface and provide an inhospitable place for biological contaminants. The interlocking sections need to be screwed together and then the joints sealed to stop air leaking out.
– Fibreglass lined. These ducts are exactly like the ones described above, with the difference that they have a lining of fibreglass on either the inside or outside. The purpose of this it to dampen the noise coming from the air-conditioning system. The fibreglass can deteriorate over time, however, and can then be released into the building, which can pose a huge health risk over a long-term period.
– Fibreboard ducts. A cheaper alternative to sheet metal ducts, fibreboard ducts are made from compressed fibreglass strands glued together with resin. The inside is sealed, which stops the fibres from detaching and entering the atmosphere of the building.

Flexible Ducts

Also known as “flex” (flow), flexible air ducts are made of coiled wire with a foil-faced insulation on the exterior. It is an inexpensive form of ducting and can be cut to the length needed.

Thanks to its flexibility, it can be used in small and tight areas where rigid materials would not be appropriate. Care needs to be taken when installing, as flexible ducts can be easily punctured, which can lead to leaking. This will in turn restrict the airflow within the system. It also needs to be well secured to stop sagging and kinking.


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