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Plastic Ducts Can Limit Leaks

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Plastic Ducts Can Limit Leaks

A recent installation of a rigid-plastic ductwork system in a home in Cartersville, Ga., indicates that plastic ducts can reduce air leakage.

By Meghan Stromberg, Senior Editor April 30, 2004
This article first appeared in the PB May 2004 issue of Pro Builder.


A recent installation of a rigid-plastic ductwork system in a home in Cartersville, Ga., indicates that plastic ducts can reduce air leakage.

Norwalk, Conn.-based Steven Winter Associates worked with Building America team partner Outlook Construction of Cartersville and Meadows Heating and Air in Cassville, Ga., to install and test the ducts, manufactured in prefabricated parts by ATS Inc.

The team, working under a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, found four key benefits to using the plastic, or thermoformed, ductwork:


  • Fewer joints and a solvent bonding process make the ducts virtually leak-free.

  • Smooth interior surfaces and curved takeoffs and turns result in lower friction losses compared with conventional systems. Smaller ducts perform as well as larger, conventional ones, reducing operating and materials costs.

  • Prefabricating the ducts reduces on-site installation time and effort.

  • The ducts can be cleaned easily, alleviating health concerns about accumulated dirt and mold.

    Building America is a DOE-sponsored private/ public partnership that conducts research to find energy-efficient housing solutions that can be implemented on a production basis. SWA and Outlook are members of the Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings team.

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