In the continuing strive of man for home comfort and energy efficiency, various HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) systems had been developed, in which the pre-insulated duct plays a key role. Though ducts are mainly attributed in ventilation purposes, it serves a lot better in air conditioning and dealing with thermal insulation. Insulation can be use to denote the materials used in laying out the HVAC system in a building.
The HVAC system involves a lot of concepts, in which most focus on the thermal insulation. This includes the thermal enveloping, thermal bridges, and convection of heat. Thermal enveloping comes from the design of the house that deals with the flow of air inside. A thermal bridge is anything that can serve as a heat conductor, this results if a building or house is built with no or minimal insulations. Thermal convection on the other hand focuses on heat transfers on fluids, in a building the air space within is utilized. A pre-insulated duct deals with them depending on the materials from which it was built and how well the system had been laid.
Many types of pre-insulated ducts had been available in the market to choose from. Choosing what type to use on a system then varies depending on budget, building lay out, energy cost, climate and other personal preferences. On most planning issues, budget always decide the framework of the project. However the price of the HVAC pre-insulated ducts is not tantamount to the benefits it may give and the cheaper HVAC ducts may not always be the best option.
As oppose to the traditional GI (galvanized iron) ducts, a pre-insulated duct material utilizes a layer of different materials fitted and laid out on top of each other, thus making a sandwich installation. Common materials being used are mineral wool, fiberglass, straw bales, cellulose and polyurethane foam. Aerogel and pyrogel had been recent addition to effective insulator materials but has yet to deal with its development. In choosing a material for the building or household it is important to note the positive and negative feats of materials for pre-insulated ducts.
The mineral wool is a decent insulator but it is not fire resistant. The fiberglass is easy to come by but requires complex handling and application. Straw bales is effective in insulating as well as being eco-friendly material, however it’s not fire resistant. Cellulose on the other hand, is fire resistant, effective insulator and eco friendly but cannot be applied easily. Polyurethane PU) foam is the most used insulator in the market, being an all around insulator that can be cheap, easy to apply and fire resistant. The only drawback on other the hand is that it’s not practically eco-friendly. Aerogels and pyrogels had been the most effective insulation materials developed however; the cost is too high to be used widely.
Utilization of these various HVAC pre-insulated duct must be taken with high regard since it will not only bring comfort through internal climate control but saves energy too in heating or cooling system, which in turn saves money in bills.