3 Major Issues -- Logistics, installation, and maintenance of air ducts

Air distribution systems are essential to every building. However, before and after installation, many questions or problems can arise and every step must be thought through to the last detail. Correct planning and selection of the right air dispersion system can help avoid wasting time and resources, reduce costs and prevent operational disruption. Therefore, from the logistics to maintenance, air distribution systems require lots of planning, and most of the time, conventional solutions raise some difficult issues that have better alternatives.

Serud Ahmad

Country Manager, Germany & Austria

Germany / Austria

Issues with conventional solutions

Conventional metal ducts are heavy and take up a lot of space. Some systems may require lots of metal ducts, which would require transportation by large trucks. In addition, there is a high probability that the ducts would not be installed immediately and would need to be stored, most likely outside due to limited space. Outdoor storage could affect the cleanliness of the ducts and if the ducts are not properly cleaned, accumulated dirt and debris would be blown into the already cleaned or prepared areas.

Metal ducts are extremely heavy and require many special tools, skilled workers, and heavy machinery for installation. The installation process is also very time-consuming, as it takes around 30-40 minutes to install one meter length of the duct. In large facilities where there may be hundreds of meters of ductwork, metal ducts can add significant time to the construction or renovation process.

Maintenance of metal ducts is also very complex. Both externally and internally, ducts can accumulate dirt and bacteria, and some companies are required to maintain air distribution systems due to strict hygiene requirements. Maintenance requires hiring special companies whose employees either climb and clean the ducts themselves or utilize robots to do the job. For proper maintenance, ventilation systems may need to be shut down, which could mean stopping production.

These are just a few of the issues related to conventional metal ductwork in relationship to the installation and maintenance of metal ducts. Fortunately, there are alternative solutions for these issues that can make life easier for building owners, installers, and facility managers.

Lighter, faster, and simpler – it is all in the fabric

Considering the issues associated with transporting, installing, and maintaining metal ductwork, fabric air dispersion systems can be an effective and, in most cases, a superior alternative. Their natural properties of flexibility and lightness make fabric ducts one of the best alternatives to metal in the entire HVAC industry.

One of the biggest advantages of fabric ducts is their light weight and ease of packaging. Unlike metal, fabric ducts can be transported very easily as they are densely packed in boxes on a few pallets. Even for the largest applications, they can be shipped around the world without the need for transport trucks. Additionally, fabric ducts are easy to store until the day of installation. The enclosed box ensures that the ducts remain clean and undamaged until they are installed and would not incur additional maintenance issues by bringing in dirt and debris to the premises occupied by people or sensitive machinery.

With proper planning, you should first prepare the space for the air distribution system (e.g. install the suspension rails where the ducts will be hung). When considering installation time, this is one of the best solutions, as the ducts do not have to wait until the ceiling of the room has been prepared. Manufacturers can ship the rails immediately which reach the construction site in just a few days. Additionally, no special tools or equipment are required to install the rails. The ductwork pieces can be ready in just a few days, and within a week or so, just two people can hang the fabric ducts, resulting in an attractive, safe, and smooth-running air distribution system. What’s more, fabric ducts are so easy to install that even with limited experience, it takes about 10 minutes to install a single running meter.

Fabric ducts still require maintenance, however, it is significantly easier. One of the simplest ways is to purchase spare fabric ducts that can be replaced  and the system can be up and running with less down time and effect on productivity. Without spare ducts, the system can be uninstalled, the ducts laundered in a commercial washing machine and re-installed. There is no need for specialized companies or expensive maintenance.

Fabric ducts are becoming the easy choice for architects and engineers for any project. As material and logistics costs continue to rise worldwide, fabric-based air distribution systems can save not only a lot of time but also money and resources. It is an efficient and superior alternative to conventional metal HVAC systems being incorporated into a growing number of applications with superior results.

Additional Information

Learn more about fabric duct systems

Learn more about applications for fabric duct

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