Pre-insulated Ductwork’s Advantages

Pre-insulated ductwork advantages

As 2023 approaches, mechanical engineers and building services installers will confront an increasing number of difficulties. Developers are trying to minimize the energy demand from building services due to increased energy prices and the push towards net zero, while air quality is coming under more scrutiny than ever before due to the pandemic’s aftereffects. It’s a frightening list when you consider the continued skills shortages affecting the sector.

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Many are increasingly using modular solutions, including pre-insulated phenolic ducting systems, in response to these difficulties. These systems have a number of potential advantages, including faster and more flexible installation times, support for clean air distribution, and the capacity to produce air leakage rates that can be far lower than those of traditional ductwork, which might result in significant savings on system operating expenses.

Savings on installation

Conventionally, HVAC ductwork is made of galvanized sheet steel, which is put initially and then individually insulated in a subsequent step. Because of this, installations take a long time and need a lot of labor, especially for bigger steel ductwork sizes. Additionally, room needs to be allocated for the ducting to be lagged once it is installed.

Pre-insulated ducting systems, on the other hand, are made of stiff phenolic insulation sheets that have aluminum foil on both sides. Up to 2.95 m long lengths of ducting may be constructed with these panels. The runs may be fitted flush with floors, walls, and ceilings, saving up to 200 mm in a single dimension, without the need to put insulation in a second fix.

Phenolic ductwork that has been pre-insulated can weigh up to 75% less than a similar sheet metal system that has mineral fiber lagging. This lightweight design not only reduces the need for structural support but also makes it easy to attach several floor-level duct sections together (up to 15 meters in length) and lift and fit them all at once, greatly accelerating installations.

Additionally, site workers may simply modify and alter the pre-insulated panels on-site using common equipment, which makes it much easier to handle unforeseen design modifications that could cause obstacles in the scheduled run.

Improved output

Pre-insulated phenolic ducting systems provide several advantages during installation in addition to a number of operating benefits. They are the most thermally efficient—and hence the thinnest—insulation product frequently used for pre-insulated HVAC ductwork because of the low thermal conductivity of their rigid phenolic insulation core. They are also a good fit for high-end projects where non-fibrous insulants can be preferred.

According to BS EN 1507: 2006, BS EN 13403: 2003, and BESA DW/144, the constructed ductwork sections can also be extremely airtight, with systems able to fulfill air-leakage Class C and D both at low and medium pressures. This may greatly reduce long-term energy use by enabling smaller, more effective fans to provide the required air flow rates.

Long-term advantages

The industry’s problems may be clearly addressed by pre-insulated ducting, which enables project teams to complete installs more quickly while using less labor and being more flexible. In addition, its very insulated and airtight construction may reduce operating carbon emissions and offer building occupants long-term energy savings.

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