Different Types of Air Ducts

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is a technology concerned with the thermal comfort and air quality of an indoor environment. By heating or cooling air with various systems and components, the temperature of a building can be controlled with ease. To route such treated air and ensure its proper distribution throughout a building, a number of air ducts may be implemented. Depending on the need of the system and recommendations by HVAC professionals, a number of air duct types may be chosen from.

Generally speaking, the two most common types of HVAC air ducts are those that are either flexible or rigid, and both types provide their unique advantages and disadvantages. The flexible air duct type in particular often consists of steel wire helixes that have been formed into round tubes. With a flexible, yet strong, coating of plastic, the duct can be bent to accommodate the shape of the environment it is installed in. Nevertheless, care should be taken with such assemblies, as flexible air ducts are prone to kinking and bending which can cause airflow to decrease. Despite these possible issues, the air quality provided by the flexible air duct type is very high due to the fact that its construction utilizes plastics instead of fiberglass. As such, fewer contaminants may be spread into the air and ducts are more resistant against rust and mold. As one of the cheapest options that is easy to install, the flexible air duct type is highly desirable for fulfilling HVAC needs.

The rigid air duct type is more diverse than its flexible counterpart due to a number of materials, sizes, and shapes that may be used to efficiently transport treated air. Due to their robust design, rigid air ducts are well protected from the danger of puncturing, and they do not kink or bend like a flexible air duct type. Because of their inability to bend, however, such ducts may be restricted in the areas that they can fit. When procuring rigid air duct assemblies for a particular building, one may choose from sheet metal, fiberglass, and fiberboard materials.

The sheet metal air duct type is constructed from aluminum or galvanized steel, the former being a very lightweight option. Similar to the plastics of flexible air ducts, the metals used for sheet metal air ducts are resistant to mold so air quality remains high. Additionally, the strength of the assembly’s metal ensures its shape is retained and can withstand various forces and pressures with ease. When establishing sheet metal air ducts, one should always take care in joining sections together, as sheet metal ducts are prone to leaks at the site of joining.

While sheet metal air ducts are durable and reliable, some may want to increase the insulation of the assembly and muffle sound. To achieve this, fiberglass linings can be implemented within or around sheet metal air ducts. Due to its noise mitigating properties, fiberglass often proves highly desirable for use in offices and other commercial buildings. As fiberglass is prone to deterioration and can be damaged if not cleaned correctly, the lining of the HVAC system should be regularly inspected and cleaned by professionals to ensure high air quality.

The last major type of rigid air duct is the fiberboard duct. With such assemblies, fiberglass fibers are compressed into boards and protected from moisture by a foil barrier. As an insulator, the fiberboard air duct can maintain the temperature of treated air well as it is transported throughout a building. Due to its use of fiberglass materials, such air ducts may require cleaning and inspection regularly to prevent deterioration and molding.

With flexible and rigid air duct types, heated and cooled air from the HVAC system can be transported throughout a building with ease. When you are in search of air duct adapters, air duct exhaust components, air duct turbine parts, and more, look no further than Limitless Aerospace. As a leader among part distributors, we offer competitive pricing and rapid lead-times that are unmatched by our competitors. Get started on the purchasing process today and receive a personalized quote when you fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form through our website.


October 6, 2022
August 18, 2022

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