How much do you know about your ductwork?

If you are having new ducts installed, damaged ones repaired, or dirty ones cleaned, it’s important to know how they work and the different options on the market. Even if you’re not having problems with your ductwork, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with them as they are an integral part of your HVAC system. Your ductwork is basically the pathway for the fresh air, or conditioned air, from your HVAC to circulate through your home – and back into the unit.

All forced air systems have two main ductworks to move the air:

Supply Duct – This duct moves the conditioned air throughout the house. All of the air vents in your home (in the floor, wall and ceiling) are fed by the supply duct. Finding the supply duct in your home is simple if the HVAC is located in your attic or a crawl space. It will be (or should be) wrapped securely in insulation.

Return Duct – This duct removes the air from your home and delivers it to the forced air unit (where it is conditioned). A good visual marker of this duct system is the filter grill in your HVAC. All the air from your home (the return air) goes through this filter. The ductwork in your attic or crawlspace that is exposed is the return duct system – though sometimes this is insulated as well.

The majority of homes with a modern HVAC system will have one of three types of ductwork:

Sheet Metal Duct– This was the most common duct material, before insulated flexible duct was introduced. It’s made from galvanized steel formed into a rectangular or round shape. Sheet metal ductwork is the most efficient vessel for forced air as the interior of the duct is smooth – allowing for an unobstructed flow. The sheet metal must be wrapped in insulation after it has been installed to keep a thermal barrier between the circulating air inside and the unconditioned space around it.

Insulated Flexible Duct – This type of duct has become more popular within the last 20 years because of its flexible design. Like its name implies, the material “flexes,” making it the quickest and easiest kind of duct to install, especially for DIY projects. You can find this kind of duct in rolls of 25 feet and in array of sizes and insulating values at local hardware store. Though both convenient and quiet, flexible duct not as energy efficient and is easily damaged.

Fiberglass (Insulated) Duct Board – This material is cheaper than sheet metal and carries less noise from the forced air. It is made of fiberglass boards that are cut and squared to form a box through which the air flows. It has become more popular in recent years due to its high insulating value and the simple installation. However, they are less durable than the other two duct types and vulnerable to pests and mold infiltration.

So now when you’re asked ‘how much do you know about your ductwork?’ you can answer: ‘quite a bit.’ Believe us, it comes up in conversations all the time! Though maybe less so if you’re not in home services…

Your ductwork is an integral part of your HVAC system – and the pathway of all your conditioned air. If you feel that your conditioned air might be polluted or carrying allergens, give us a call today at 405-794-8900. We can assess your problem and design a comprehensive Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) service to combat the issue!

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