Flexible or Rigid Ductwork?

flexible or rigid ductworkThe ductwork plays a big major role in making your home more energy efficient. The work ducts do is mostly hidden from view, but it does some of the most essential work in keeping your home warm or cool. Given how important it is, you would naturally want to have the best kind of ductwork for your home. The question is, which ductwork type is the best?

As far as ductwork is concerned, you have two choices: flexible or rigid. From the word itself, flexible ductwork can be molded rather easily so it would fit a variety of positions. Rigid ductwork, on the other hand, is exactly what the word suggests: it is rigid. Usually made of metal, rigid ductwork cannot be bent or curved the way flexible ducts do. It is always in a fixed position. Here are some pros and cons to help you make your decision which type of ductwork to use for your home.

Pros and cons of flexible ductwork

Of course, the biggest advantage of flex ducts is their flexibility. They are also substantially cheaper than metal ducts. Flexible ductwork, however, is not without its disadvantages. While they are generally easier to install because of their flexibility, installing them correctly could sometimes prove to be tricky. Installers have often found it difficult to put them up around turns that are too sharp. For another, flex ducts are often too long, which means they can sag. Flexible ductwork is also notoriously difficult to completely seal, and that could lead to air leaks.

Pros and cons of rigid ductwork

As for rigid ductwork, let’s start with a con: they are inherently harder to install, mainly because routing them through your home has to be planned extensively. Fabricating them also requires special tools and skills. They take longer to install compared to flexible ducts.

Rigid ductwork, however, has several things going for it. As long as it’s installed properly, rigid ductwork has far more superior airflow compared to flex ducts, which can sag and be pinched, thereby reducing airflow. Sealing rigid ductwork is also easier, as their joints are far more stable. More importantly, rigid ducts are inherently more durable than flexible ducts. They stand up better to wear and tear over the years. Flexible ductwork, on the other hand, has been known to become brittle and eventually break when something comes into contact with it.

Still, either type of ductwork is still being recommended by experts for the advantages they offer. While most would recommend installing rigid ductwork, you cannot deny that, unless the entire house was designed and built around the ductwork, there will always be problem spots to fit ducts into, and these problem spots are perfect for flex ducts. So, the general recommendation is this: a home should have rigid ductwork for the whole system, but can use flex ducts for short sections that rigid ductwork cannot properly service.

Though rigid ductwork is definitely a better choice for many home owners, it is not the best for all kinds of situations. Conversely, flexible ducts may not be the best choice, but it does have its uses.