Metal duct is galvanized metal and can be insulated internally or wrapped on the outside, both of these are great ways to distribute the air, however both can be extremely expensive, with the wrapped being less expensive but still costly. Metal duct is made for the long haul, I’ve seen duct work that is 50 plus years old which is a great benefit if you can afford the upfront costs. Metal duct is rigid and once in place, unmovable. There can be no moving it out of the way when storing things in your attic or if it were necessary for a cable or repair person who had to move around it. On the other hand, the metal duct is more resilient and will stand up to more.
Duct Board Systems
Duct board systems are also very good systems, but are still somewhat costly. Duct board is also a more rigid type of duct work, but without the strength of the metal. Some duct board systems incorporate flex duct and are considered a combination. you get a rigid “trunk” and flexible conduit that runs to the grills or air diffusers.
Flex Duct Systems
A flex duct system is by far the most common in the residential market place today. A flex system is a great way to run ducts to all rooms including most of the 'hard to access from the attic' rooms. Flex duct is by far the cheapest way to distribute the air thru a well-insulated duct system. Flex duct can also last a long time if properly maintained. In normal conditions, flex duct should be serviced approximately every five years. It should be inspected and the flex re-sealed as needed. When installed properly and properly maintained, a new “flex duct” system should last 15 or 20 years, possibly longer.
There are also ductless systems on the market today. These are units where the “air handler” unit hangs on the outside of the wall and the air blows directly into the open room. Ductless systems do have a place, but can only handle 1, 2 or 3 rooms per condensing unit, (outside unit) therefore they are limited to specific environments. If your building has many rooms to cool, more condensing units would be necessary and each unit would be drawing power at once. This would be noticeable on your electric bill. There are other limitations as well. The draining of the condensate water necessitates running the copper line set that has to connect the inside to the outside. This presents its own challanges.
One way or the other, there is a duct system that is right for you and your family’s needs, and we will be happy to assist you in making the proper choice toward cooling and cost efficiency.
Have your ductwork inspected.