One of the main components of any building’s HVAC system is the ductwork. This is essentially the arteries and veins that move air throughout a building. Without well sized and installed ductwork, even the most efficient components in the home cannot save energy costs or maximize comfort. That’s why it is very important to do proper installation and be fast in identifying problems in existing ductwork and plan out the most efficient ductwork in any new installation.
Flexible HVAC duct or flex duct is by far the most common material used in modern residential HVAC systems. Even though other materials such as duct board and sheet metal are still used sparingly, the overall cost advantages of flex duct make it a popular choice for many contractors. Unfortunately, the same factors that provide the flex duct the cost advantage are the same reasons that make the installation errors more likely to occur than when you use other materials. Here are some important tips on how to ensure that you fix your flexible hvac ductwork systems properly.
You should avoid bending the flex duct around or across any framing pipes, members as well as other objects. This is because such bends tend to decrease the size of the duct at the point where it is bending thereby increasing air friction and restricting air flow. Over time, the inner core of the duct will collapse further at this point and decrease airflow further. On the same note, you should also avoid bending the flex duct in such a way that the center line is significantly reduced; such bends also increase air friction and restrict air flow.
Under no circumstance should you try to compress the flex duct, always ensure that the flex duct runs through spaces that are at least as large as the overall diameter of the inner core of the duct. Desist from compressing ducts to fit in tiny spaces such as chases running between floors and the areas between truss braces and webs in the attics and floors. Even though you can slightly compress the duct, make sure you don’t compress the inner core.
It is also advisable to support your ducts horizontally at intervals of at least five feet and vertically at intervals of at least six feet. Make sure that the maximum amount of sag between the supports is half an inch per foot for any horizontal run. Even though you can support using lumber, the support material should be at least 1.5 inches wide. It is also recommended that distribution junctions and plenums are supported independent of the flex duct.
You should never use flex duct to support other construction materials such as coolant lines or wires or even another flex duct. This is because, over time, the sheer weight of these materials will press on the duct and constrict the inner core duct. It is also important to remember that when laying your duct, you should extend it to its full length. If you have to have some excess duct, it should not be more than five percent of the total length. Excess duct material has been known to increase instances of friction.
Depending on the flue type, you should provide adequate clearance between the duct and water heater or furnace flues. In terms of clearance to combustion appliances are usually considered combustible materials. You should also ensure that flex ducts are not run over heat sources such as steam pipes. They should also not be subjected to direct sunlight and in that regard, they should not be installed under turbine vents as sunlight can significantly degrade the vapor barrier.
Here are some of the popular flexible HVAC ducts readily available in the market. They include but are not limited to the following:
1) Product Name: Flexible Duct R 6.0
Product Price: $ 26.99
Product URL: http://is.gd/h2SgIe
Product Details: the unit is easy to cut to desired length and is also easy to install since it is easy to run around and through obstacles in the building.
2) Product Name: Flex Duct 18 by 16
Product Price: $ 72.99
Product URL: http://is.gd/NNYdZ6
Product Details: this double ply unit has a metalized polyester jacket that’s been reinforced with fiberglass scrim and is fitted with a reflective foil outer jacket.
Product Details: consists of a helix core that’s made of two ply polyester laminate as well as corrosion resistant zinc-coated wire. This piece can easily be installed in place of galvanized pipe and is also ideal for use in ventilation applications.
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