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Importance of Metal Ductwork

Metal duct work in my opinion is best way to move air in your house. It has smooth walls inside so the air moves with less friction, has no fiberglass in the airstream, is easy to seal the joints from leakage, can be cleaned in the future, and won’t break down in a hot attic. See the photo’s to the left of an installation going on at a whole house remodel right now. My HVAC company does such a great job of their duct installations, it’s really great to see craftsman in this trade. They use a mastic on all the seams and then use an insulation blanket on the outside of the duct work (not exposed to the airstream).
If your house was built 1950’s then it probably was built with all metal duct work. I’m not sure exactly when the switch happened away from metal ducting to “flex” duct, but if your house was built in the last 40 years there’s a 98% chance it has little or no metal ducting. Metal ducting is very common in commercial construction, but is almost non-existent in residential HVAC work.
The Austin Energy Green Building Program gives 4 points for:
-Sheet Metal Plenum and main trunk lines, any flex-duct-take offs are no longer than 10 feet (we usually transition to flex for the last few feet to quiet down the air stream going to the rooms)
Be sure to specify this ahead of time to your HVAC contractor because most will NOT include this in their bids. It probably adds $2-5K to the HVAC bid (mostly labor) but it’s really worth the money! – Matt Risinger