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INSULATION FOR FIBERGLASS DUCTS
Fiberglass Duct Board is a 1- to 2-inch-thick rigid board (manufactured from resin-bonded inorganic glass fibers) used for the fabrication of fiberglass ductwork. For commercial applications that require thermal insulation, condensation control, and acoustic control, fiberglass duct board provides a low-cost, efficient alternative to sheet metal. Since the insulation is built into the duct board, fiberglass ductwork does not require as many manufacturing steps as insulated sheet metal ductwork. The exterior surface of duct boards should offer a factory-applied aluminum-reinforced air barrier and vapor retarder, which minimizes air leakage and moisture buildup.
Commercial fiberglass mat – available uncoated, or coated with FSK or ASJ – is applied to the exterior of round, rectangular, oval, or irregular-shaped ducts, plenums, refrigerators, and other HVAC equipment. From flexible to rigid, commercial sheet products are used to reduce heat loss or gain through duct walls, plenums, and equipment.
When properly installed in conjunction with an efficient HVAC system, each of these types of duct insulation can have a profound impact on improving indoor air quality. In addition to moisture and mold control, duct insulation also helps improve the quality of the indoor environment in the following two areas:
Energy Conservation/Temperature Control: Most HVAC system designs for commercial and residential applications include an insulated ductwork to minimize the amount of winter heat loss and fresh air leakage into the summer. The HVAC ductwork has to work efficiently to conserve energy and keep utility bills to a minimum. When combined with properly sealed ductwork, fiberglass duct insulation seals potential leaks, providing excellent thermal performance and occupant comfort.
Acoustic Control: Noise traveling through bare sheet metal ductwork throughout the building can cause decreased productivity and comfort for building occupants. Properly installed fiberglass duct insulation absorbs this excess noise. Careful selection of insulation materials, such as duct lining, can significantly reduce noise levels. Both soundproofing lined metal and fiberglass ductwork can help control undesirable noise such as wind noise, start-up noise, mechanical equipment noise, and interference.
Fiberglass duct insulation can provide a significant improvement to a building's interior environment. However, this all depends on how well the ductwork is maintained.
REGULAR MAINTENANCE OF THE AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM
Like any other building component, ductwork and duct insulation need proper proactive attention to perform best. It is important to schedule regular filter changes and duct maintenance to keep your ductwork clean and in good working order. Since preventive maintenance is very important in the design of HVAC systems, many architects and engineers are adding this recommendation to their specifications.
Contact vacuuming, which consists of conventional vacuum cleaning of the interior surfaces of ducts. The hose from a high powered vacuum with a High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (HEPA) filter is inserted through access holes cut in the ductwork. Airborne particles due to cleaning that are not picked up by the vacuum tube are drawn downstream through the duct and removed from the system, preventing their dispersal into the occupied space.
Air purge, which involves the introduction of compressed air into the duct through a hose with a nozzle. Compressed air forces the nozzle through the ductwork, dislodging dirt, dust and debris. The dislodged particles then become airborne and are sucked downstream through the duct and out of the system.
Mechanical brushing, whereby a pneumatic or electric rotating bristle brush is used to loosen dirt, dust and debris and suck this material downstream into a vacuum manifold. When dealing with fiberglass ductwork or sheet metal ductwork lined with fiberglass insulation, duct cleaning professionals must take extra care to use specially designed brushes with only soft, flexible bristles made of polymers that remove debris. without putting additional stress on surfaces.
MAINTENANCE OF THE AIR CONDITIONING UNIT
In addition to filtration maintenance, internal drain pans must be cleaned periodically to prevent moisture contamination and biofilm formation in the vessels. Humidifiers should be checked to avoid oversaturation of air conditioning as well.
WELL INSULATED DUCTS = BETTER INDOOR AIR QUALITY
Properly sealing and insulating sheet metal ductwork or installing fiberglass duct netting are great ways to improve a building's indoor air quality. High indoor air quality contributes greatly to the sustainability of buildings, providing a cleaner and more comfortable indoor environment. As a result of this, building occupants will be healthier and more productive, which benefits building owners. It's a win-win situation.
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