If you are having a heating system installed in a new home, or if your HVAC contractor wants to replace your ducts when they install your new furnace, they may give you the option of flexible ductwork. This newer type of duct is made from bendable aluminum tubing. It is becoming more popular as an alternative to the rigid metal ducts that have been used for years. But is flexible ductwork a good choice for your home? Consider these pros and cons as you make your decision.
Pro: Flexible ducts are easier to install
Since these ducts can bend within the wall, they do not need to be cut as precisely as rigid ducts. This saves your HVAC contractor time during installation. Their bendability also allows them to be installed in narrow and winding wall cavities that would not accommodate rigid ducts very well.
Con: Flexible ducts are more prone to puncture
A sharp stick or similar object could pierce a flexible duct. Some people accidentally drill into them when hanging a picture or doing some DIY work. This is not a huge or common issue, but it is something to consider as rigid ducts are much less likely to be punctured or damaged.
Pro: Flexible ducts are cheaper
Metal is not cheap. Flexible ducts are made with less metal overall than rigid ducts. As such, they are usually cheaper than rigid ducts. There may only be a few hundred dollars' difference in a small home, but if you're having ducts run in a larger home, the difference in cost can be substantial.
Con: Flexible ducts are tough to clean
All ducts tend to accumulate dust and debris over time. This debris is easy for professionals to clean out of rigid ducts. Flexible ducts tend to hold onto more debris since it gets caught in the little ridges inside of them. They can be cleaned, but cleaning them is a bigger job.
Pro: Flexible ducts have fewer seams
Every seam in your ductwork has the potential to become loose and leaky eventually. Flexible ducts have far fewer seams, which means leaky seams aren't really something you need to worry about.
If your HVAC contractor is recommending flexible ducts for your home, then you can rest assured that these are a good option. They are a bit harder to clean and can be punctured, but those concerns are minor in most cases. Call a residential HVAC contractor if you have any questions.