What started out as an experiment by an HVAC and plumbing distributor ended up being a very successful sideline that is keeping its HVAC contractor customers coming back for more. According to Kent Peterson, vice president of Penco Corporation, based in Seaford, Del., his company took a fiberglass duct board grooving machine as payment from a customer several years ago.

Capitalizing on the opportunity, Penco began offering prefabricated duct board to its customers. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since then, Penco has been receiving steady orders of cut duct board that the company fabricates and stocks in about 20 sizes, most in 4-foot lengths. The distributor also custom cuts duct board. One very satisfied customer is Shore Comfort Services, Salisbury, Md., which is currently installing a prefabricated CertainTeed Ultra*Duct™ duct board in 102 two-story townhomes at Ocean Village at old Bridge, a new development in Ocean City, Md.

“Our guys love working with this board,” said Brian Lloyd, project manager for Shore Comfort Services. “Penco dedicates several of its workers solely to cutting and grooving duct board so that it is delivered to the site, ready to be sealed and installed. The technicians at Penco are so skilled that the board always comes to us perfectly squared at the edges and comes together at the corners. It’s never ragged. Plus, with it done so professionally, it ends up being a much nicer- looking product.”

Peterson said that this is a service that blossomed because it is a convenience to his company’s customers. “Our HVAC dealers like it because there is very little cutting, which is a labor and time savings to them. And with a well-crafted duct board, there is also more peace of mind about the integrity of the airflow within the system, which makes the system more energy efficient. And there is no waste disposal involved at the jobsite, which is a big plus for contractors saddled with the problems inherent in disposing of jobsite wastes,” he said.

The lightweight, 1-inch-thick board being used in the attic and crawlspaces at Ocean Village at Old Bridge will be used throughout the entire community, which is located four miles from the beach, five miles from Assateague State Park, and away from heavy beachfront traffic areas.

With its duct board fabrication service, Penco has found a lot of new customers. “We started this as an experiment, but so many of our customers hopped on it, we now maintain a full inventory of cut sizes. They see it as a real convenience to them,” Peterson said.

Publication date: 01/27/2003