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Understanding the Different Materials Used for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Spiral Ducts

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If you want to install an HVAC system in your home, one of the important aspects is the ductwork that allows the exchange of air between the different components of the system. Essentially, you cannot heat or cool your house efficiently if you do not have the right ductwork for the job. At the same time, you should also consider other factors such as where the ductwork will be located. Knowing some of the pros and cons of various materials will help you figure out which material will work for you and where you are planning for the ductwork to go. Here are some of the materials you can go for when choosing spiral ductwork for your HVAC system:

Galvanised Steel

Steel is used to make sturdy spiral ductwork. One end of the duct is usually crimped so that the ductwork fits easily into other ducts. In addition, the crimped end also allows you to join the galvanised steel duct with ducts made from other materials such as fibreglass. The galvanic protection keeps the ductwork from corrosion even when it is exposed to moisture and air. Moreover, the ducts are insulated with fibreglass to prevent heat loss and maximise the air conditioning capabilities of the system.

Since it is sturdy, galvanised steel ducts are ideal for areas where the ductwork can be damaged. For instance, the ductwork is good for outdoor use to connect the rest of the HVAC components to a centralised condenser installed outside the house. On the downside, the sturdy nature of the galvanised steel ductwork makes it difficult to install the ductwork around obstructions.


Fibreglass is a reinforced plastic which is reinforced by glass fibres and a resin matrix. It is a good alternative when you do not want to use metal ducts because it is sturdy and non-corrosive. The ducts are lightweight and easy to install. They also have built-in thermal insulation to control loss of heat and make the HVAC system efficient. The insulation also helps to absorb sound, enabling the system to operate quietly. This makes fibreglass ductwork ideal for places such as bedrooms and study rooms where you require a serene environment. On the downside, the fibreglass can chip and contaminate the air especially after prolonged use and frequent cleaning.

Flexible Plastic

Plastic is used to make flexible ductwork. The plastic material is placed over a wire that gives it a spiral shape and structural support. Flexible plastic ductwork is ideal for places with many obstructions such as roof trusses. However, flexible plastic is highly susceptible to physical damage and it is not ideal for outdoor use. The collapsible material can easily form constrictions and interfere with the exchange of air. Preferably, you should only use it in tight spaces where other options cannot suffice.