When it comes to sizing their ducts, many users opt for large ducts. This should not be surprising, as large ductwork is more capable of handling larger volumes of matter at once than small ductwork is. While small ducts are highly useful in many applications, larger ducts offer their users a degree of versatility that smaller ducts tend not to offer. For example, applications within the farming industry rely heavily on large, flexible ducting to get everyday tasks done. Transporting large volumes of air and of agricultural products requires ductwork that can handle such volumes. In this setting, a large-diameter hose must also be able to resist abrasion. Farms often transport abrasive materials, such as grains and other kinds of fodder. These goods are constantly transferred in large volumes to and from silos, and farms rely—in part—on ducts for this to happen. Because these materials are abrasive, a large duct that transports them should be made of PVC or some other kind of abrasion-resistant material. PVC tends to be the most cost-effective option for applications that simply demand flexibility, crush-resistance, and abrasion-resistance. Another large-diameter hose, such as a metal hose, may offer the same benefits—but with an added degree of temperature resistance. Nevertheless, the point is clear: when it comes to large ductwork, you have plenty of options—no less than regular- or small-sized ducts (at Ducting.com, at least). The main consideration, then, is this: What makes a large duct advantageous? Is bigger ductwork better than smaller ductwork? What factors are most important when looking for a large duct?
First, Does Duct Size Matter?
Duct size matters. Duct size determines the volume of mass that the hose can carry, and it determines the rate at which you can transfer that volume. While other variables certainly play a role in the efficiency of your hose, duct size is one of the most important. Having the right size of ductwork makes a clear difference for how well your hose functions. For example, air-ventilation applications that push large volumes of air at once greatly benefit from having a large duct. Fan-related and other types of air-movement applications greatly suffer when a duct is too small relative to its machine. Foremostly, the duct will not be able to transfer air at the rate that the machine intends it to. This can cause many complications. The duct will experience an overwhelming amount of outward pressure from within. The air pushes against the walls of the hose to a degree that the hose is not designed to handle, which may cause the duct to puncture. Once your hose punctures, your options for recourse become severely limited. While there are a few ways to repair a punctured hose, these solutions tend to be short-lived. Of course, it is highly inadvisable to use a duct if it has any kind of hole or tear. What you are trying to transport through the duct will inevitably leak out of the opening, and you will be left with a system that runs at only a fraction of its maximum capacity.
Is Bigger Ductwork Better than Smaller Ductwork?
Bigger ductwork is better than smaller ductwork for applications that transfer large volumes of mass at once. If your ductwork is too small, it simply will not have enough internal space to carry the large amount of, say, air that you need it to move. Worse, when a duct is too narrow in relationship to mass you intend to push through it, it is likely that your duct will explode from the excessive degree of outward pressure that the interior of the hose experiences. This can manifest in the form of a puncture—an example of damage which devastates the efficiency of your hose, practically rendering it useless. As a rule of thumb—especially for air-ventilation applications—bigger ductwork is better than smaller ductwork. Bigger ductwork has better flow, enabling more air to move through the ducts at any given moment. However, because a certain degree of pressure within your ductwork is important for your system to efficiently transport air, oversizing your ductwork is still inadvisable. Even ductwork that is too big causes your system to run inefficiently, making it use more energy than it needs to and, therefore, inflating your energy bill. Plus, running your system this way increases the rate at which it erodes, decreasing your system’s overall lifespan.
Ultimately, the size of ductwork you need depends on the strength of your system. Ventilation systems that transport larger volumes of air certainly require a large air-duct to perform their jobs optimally. Whereas, smaller ventilation systems do not require extremely large ductwork. Thus, at a conceptual level, the ideal inside-diameter of your ductwork increases in proportion to the volume your system transports. Nonetheless, the question may still be on your mind: “when should I increase my duct size?” We will explore a few variables that influence whether you should increase your duct size.
When Should I Increase My Duct Size?
You should increase your duct size when your system does not transport matter at the rate you expect it to. Undersized ductwork is usually at fault when your system runs slowly—or struggles to carry a certain volume. Every system is built to push a certain amount of volume at once. When a duct is too small for its system, the system nonetheless attempts to transport the same amount of mass that it was designed to move. This causes mass—air included—to clog the duct and apply large amounts of pressure against the hose’s walls. And as we have said, this kind of situation greatly threatens your hose’s structural integrity. It is not uncommon to see hoses puncture because of excessive pressure accumulating within them. And even when undersized ductwork remains intact, the excessive pressure within the system still remains. This pressure places undo strain upon the individual components that constitute your system—which can ultimately lead to an early breakdown in the machinery to which your duct attaches. In any case, if your system is operating at a suboptimal level, it may be time to check your ductwork; you might be risking damage to your ducting or your system. These are prime examples of when you should increase the size of your duct. While you pay an upfront cost to upgrade the size of your duct, the long-term savings you sustain from having a properly-running system will likely outweigh the one-time purchasing cost of a properly-fitting hose. You may be wondering if there are other factors that influence whether you should increase the size of your duct. Another variable that many people overlook is noise. The question, then, is this: are larger ducts quieter than smaller ducts?
Are Larger Ducts Quieter than Smaller Ducts?
Larger ducts are quieter than smaller ducts because, the larger the duct, the less pressure builds up within the duct. High amounts of pressure within your duct increase the amount of resistance airflow must overcome in order to travel from one point to another—this can generate higher levels of sound. If your duct is too small, this noise can be particularly annoying, making your system much more troublesome to run than it should be. This is why high levels of noise are another reason for why you should consider increasing the size of your ductwork. A large duct tends to be less noisy than a small duct. Especially for air-ventilation systems that transport air around homes and other types of buildings, noise can be of especial concern.
From the offset, it is likely worth it to acquire a large duct-size to minimize the amount of noise that your system generates. Of course, your large duct should still not exceed the limits of duct sizing with which your system is compatible, for—as we have discussed—oversized ductwork causes its own set of problems that you do not want to deal with. Since noise is a common complaint when it comes to ductwork, another factor you may want to consider is the relationship between the shape of your duct and that level of noise it generates. That is, what is the quietest duct shape?
What Is the Quietest Duct Shape?
Round ducts are the quietest. Rectangular ducts are significantly noisier than round ducts are. This is because rectangular ducts create higher drops in pressure. The higher the pressure drops, the more noise ductwork emits. Thus, when considering a new, large duct, remember to consider its shape. If you want a quiet system, it is best to opt for a round duct over a rectangular duct. Plus, rectangular ducts consume more materials to span the same length that round ducts do, making them the generally more-expensive option. The reason rectangular ducts are offered, though, is because they can sometimes take up less space than round ductwork does. However, this is a marginal consideration that affects a very small number of cases. In general, for many reasons, round ductwork is the way to go.
Bonus: What Is the Largest Duct Size Offered by Ducting.com?
You may be curious: what is the largest duct size? The largest duct size we offer is 60 inches, or 5 feet. Ductwork this large is made mainly for air-ventilation applications, since transferring solid materials through such a wide hose usually lacks the sufficient amount of pressure for their efficient flow. While air ventilation is the main type of application for which ducting so large is designed, they have other, novel uses. For example, a 5-feet-wide duct can be used to create custom networks of animal tunnels. While there are products made specifically for this sort of use, they often lack the durability and flexibility needed to make them long-lasting installments. Ducting.com’s hoses are industrial-grade, built to outlast even the systems to which they attach. Considering the fact that animals often treat their surroundings harshly, a poorly-made tube can quickly become scratched and torn. Thus, using a high-quality hose for these applications is a great choice, and it will likely save you money in the long run.
Review: The Advantages of a Large Duct
A large duct has many advantages over a smaller duct: large ductwork is capable of transporting larger quantities of matter at once, and it is generally quieter than small ductwork. A large flex-duct can handle many applications that smaller ducts simply cannot. Air-ventilation applications are a prime example: many ventilation systems are equipped with ducting that is too small relative to its system—undersized ductwork. While this may not seem like a problem at first, users quickly realize the gravity of the issue once their systems break down or their ductwork punctures. When ducting is too small, the excessive volume of matter the duct transports at once causes a buildup of pressure.
Over time, this pressure can lead to issues that permanently damage the structure of the system. Even if the duct itself remains undamaged, the accumulation of pressure within the system can negatively affect its individual components. So, does duct size matter? It absolutely does. Overall, it is a wise decision to upgrade the size of your ductwork—given that the large duct is compatible with intensity of your system’s output. You will experience a range of benefits that have you wondering why you did not upgrade your duct’s size sooner!