IAQ And Efficiency Spur Duct Innovations

January 30, 2002
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Based on the success of its moisture-resistant Enhanced Surface, its duct liners' airstream facing, CertainTeed announced the expansion of this feature to its ToughGard™ duct board.
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — In the eyes of Craig Borlinghaus, a heightened awareness of indoor air quality (IAQ) concerns, the adoption of tougher energy saving codes, and changing factors within the U.S. economy will impact the hvac insulation market this year.

Borlinghaus, vice president, Industrial Sales and Marketing, Insulation Group, CertainTeed Corp. (Valley Forge, PA), is remaining optimistic for 2002.

“With the commercial sector accounting for a major portion of sales of hvac duct liner, duct board, and duct wrap, there is room for optimism, as the commercial segment of our industry is not expected to turn down as quickly as the residential and industrial sectors,” he noted. “With IAQ continuing to be on the minds of specifiers and building owners, we expect to see growth in products designed to meet these concerns.

“Duct liner with moisture-resistant properties on the airstream surface has recently been introduced to help alleviate some issues associated with moisture entering an hvac duct system due to improperly sealed duct joints or poorly maintained duct systems,” he said. “To avoid poor duct design and maintenance in the first place, we in the industry must work hard to educate fabricators and installers, through manufacturers and associations, that insulation must be installed properly in order for it to function effectively.”

At the 2002 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition here, contractors had a great opportunity to learn more about duct insulation, duct machinery, duct installation, duct board, duct liner, duct tape, and all associated duct products. At its booth, CertainTeed noted that its ToughGard™ duct board was added to the company’s list of hvac/mechanical products featuring Enhanced Surface, the added moisture-repellent surface.

“Our Enhanced Surface feature has been very well received by specifiers who want to alleviate any concerns about moisture that may enter a duct system due to improperly sealed duct joints or poorly installed and maintained duct systems,” said Dave Tomchak, CertainTeed marketing manager. According to Tomchak, it will be available on ToughGard duct board by the end of the first quarter.

Johns Manville introduced its flexible duct liner, Linacoustic® RC, which combines stae-of-the-art facing technology "with an advanced coating system to provide the durability of a mat facing with the reliability of a coating."

DUCTS LINED UP

Johns Manville Corp. (Denver, CO) introduced a flexible duct liner, Linacoustic“ RC. According to the company, this new liner combines state-of-the-art facing technology “with an advanced coating system to provide the durability of a mat facing with the reliability of a coating.”

As a booth spokesperson explained, traditional mat facings may provide additional damage resistance during handling, but they are prone to separate from the insulation core. Coatings bond firmly to the insulation, but have a visibly rougher airstream surface. He said the company’s Linacoustic RC solves both these problems: “A thin, dense mat reinforces the coating, while it penetrates the mat and adheres firmly to the insulation core.”

ALP Systems (Bergamo, Italy) offered preinsulated ducts. The company said its system panel consists of a polysocianurate foam/micron aluminum foil sandwich, available in 4,000- by 1,200-mm sheets.

Reflectix, Inc. (Markleville, IN) showcased its fiber-free duct liners for residential and commercial ductwork. The product’s primary application is as an acoustical duct liner for interior hvac sheet metal ducts installed in conditioned spaces. The company said its product is designed to eliminate fiberglass in the airstream and reduce equipment, air rush, and cross-talk noises.

McGill Airflow Corp. (Groveport, OH) featured its SilverGuard antimicrobial ductwork “that provides a second line of defense against the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungus in duct systems.”

In the world of duct machinery, Glass Master (Carrollton, TX) presented its HG-320 fiberglass duct board grooving machine. It is designed to extract and carry scrap automatically to a waste container. Machine tool holders are adaptable for grooving all densities and thicknesses of duct board.

Plasma Automation (Hicksville, NY) introduced its Vicon Model 8000 hvac sheet metal/duct liner combination system, a machine tool that uses a patent-pending system for holding and cutting duct liner. The liner is cut using a router head, which is interchangeable with the plasma-cutting unit used to cut sheet metal, “allowing for two processes to be run on the same table,” said a company spokesperson.

ALL DUCT RELATED

Atco Rubber Products (Fort Worth, TX) highlighted its UPC #036 insulated flexible air duct for low to medium operating pressures with thermal values of R-6.0. The inner core is constructed of a double lamination of tough polyester, encapsulating a steel wire helix, the company said. The core is wrapped in a thick blanket of fiberglass insulation and sheathed in a reinforced, metalized polyester jacket.

Duro Dyne Corp. (Farmingdale, NY) displayed its Dyna-Tite CL23, calling it “the newest, fastest, and most reliable way to secure ductwork and equipment.” The system, which includes a cable lock and wire rope, can be used for suspension in a variety of ways to accommodate most mechanical and hvac construction applications. According to a company spokesperson, it is designed to reduce installation by up to six times compared to traditional threaded rod, allows installers to position the hangers vertically or at an angle to the suspended object, and is lightweight.

Metal-Fab Inc. (Wichita, KS) talked about its new SureLock‘ B-Vent locking system. According to the company, no sheet metal screws are required; simply join sections of the company’s B-Vent, twist, and engage the SureLock. The locking system is now standard on 3- to 6-in. pipe diameters.

The company also introduced its B-Vent single-wall flex connectors (designed for connecting gas appliances to a common B-Vent flue in residential, light commercial, and institutional applications) and B-Vent Increaser (designed with contractors in mind; the increaser has a “0” height, so it will not add height when two pipes are connected, and still maintains the integrity of a B-Vent flue).

Avery Dennison Specialty Tape Division (Painesville, OH) introduced a line of cloth duct tape that includes three grades of adhesion levels/adhesive coat weight, and metalized/silver cloth duct used to seal seams on flexible ducts and metalized insulation facing.

Ideal Tape Co., Inc. (Lowell, MA) said it has any tape necessary for the job. Dale Langa, marketing manager, Hvac Products, said its tapes are quality tested to perform in even the most extreme conditions, hot or cold.

Ideal’s 488 AWF foil tape, 428 AWF All Service Jacket, and 491 AWF Foil Skrim Kraft are all UL, 25/50-rated products, he said. “These tapes are ready to work when you are,” said Langa.

Venture Tape (Rockland, MA) offered a hand-tearable hvac tape, 1599B. The 3-mil flexible duct-closure tape is designed to replace cloth duct tape for sealing flexible duct. Coated with the company’s high-tack acrylic adhesive, the tape is designed to tolerate temperatures of -35 to 260 degress F, said the company.

Sidebar: More Airflow At Less Cost

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Flexible duct is an important component in thousands of hvac systems. But flex duct connections to diffusers can be a concern. Collapse or sagging caused by improperly installed duct can reduce air volume and lower system efficiency.

Now, a new product from Thermaflex (Abbeville, SC) promises to eliminate this concern. The company said its new FlexFlow Elbow™ is designed to ensure that a flexible duct connection to a diffuser maintains the proper shape for maximum airflow.

The unit, made of a strong composite material, was the company’s hot item at the 2002 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition. It works as a brace that holds the ductwork in place securely, forming the flex duct into a 90-degree elbow.

“It’s a simple idea,” admitted James Lollis of Thermaflex. “And we worked hard to keep it simple — in design, form, and installation. The value of using flex duct is that it is the easiest and most economical way to make connections, and we wanted a way for installers to be able to ensure maximum efficiency with ease.”

The elbow installs over the duct in a matter of seconds at diffusers and round taps using an adjustable strap system similar to a zip tie. The elbow fits around the outside of the duct and is secured into place without fasteners or tape. The integrity of the vapor barrier and insulation jacket remains intact. No tools are required. One size fits ducts 6 to 16 in. It is UL-listed for return plenums.

According to inventor Dale Crook, it is also substantially less expensive than galvanized elbow installations.

“A typical galvanized elbow installation costs about $20 or more, including materials and labor. And you still have to be concerned with leaks and insulation,” said Crook, who is also vice president of CMI, a design-build, commercial, and industrial contracting firm based in Kansas City, MO. “The same connection using flex duct and the FlexFlow Elbow costs much less. And since the installation is seamless, it can’t leak. Additional insulation is not required.”

Crook also noted that since airflow through the bend is improved, it may be possible, in many installations, to use longer sections of flex duct and still be confident of system efficiency.

“This product could completely change the way we think about flex duct installations,” said Crook. “It’s a simple and economical solution to an old, industry-wide problem. And it dramatically expands the versatility and performance of flex duct.”

Publication date: 02/04/2002

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