Can Plastic Be Used for Ductwork

Can Plastic Be Used for Ductwork

Can Plastic Be Used for Ductwork

Plastic is a material that can be used for hundreds, if not thousands, of different applications. From making toys, to car parts, cutlery, and so much more. But is it the same for ducting? Or should ducting only be made from one particular material?

In this blog, we will provide answers to the question ‘Can Plastic be used for ductwork?’

With new buildings being made to be as energy efficient as possible, and the UK aiming for 95% of its electricity usage to be low carbon by 2030, it is imperative to understand how we can make the most of our ventilation. This is where applications such as extractor fans and heat recovery ventilation units come in.

To prevent mould, fresh air should constantly be introduced into your dwelling daily, as it helps to regulate temperature and reduce condensation. Introducing fresh air can be as simple as having a ventilation routine, or installing extractors or MVHR units. Almost all of this is facilitated by ducting.

Are pipes the same as ducts?

No. Although they may seem similar in look and function, they are not the same at all. You could say that a duct is a form of pipe, but pipes are not the same as a duct.

Pipes, generally, are used as a conduit for liquids, certain gases, and concentrated steam etc to travel through. Pipes are generally narrow, this allows for liquids in particular to travel efficiently and release with a level of pressure as required. Common examples of this can be seen with taps or showers.

Ducting, however, typically has a much larger circumference and specialises as a conduit for air to travel through. Whether this is regular indoor air, air that is a by-product of a chemical reaction, humid air, outdoor air, smells and smoke.

Can you use a pipe for a duct? Or vice versa?

No. You should not use a pipe for ducting. The narrow size of a pipe can affect the amount of air a HVAC item such as an extractor can intake. Making it work harder to intake less air altogether.

In regard to how that air will expel, it would likely shoot out of the vent, similar to a hot kettle and its steam. It may not necessarily be dangerous, but it can be a hindrance.

Ducting made for HVAC appliances should not be used instead of pipes and their uses. The larger circumference of ducting can result in more space being taken than necessary, and for taps, the water pressure may be close to none existent.

Can plastic be used for ductwork?

Can plastic be used for ductwork?

Yes. Plastic is a common component that is used in rigid, and some flexible ducting. Plastic ducting is extremely beneficial for a variety of reasons, including…

  • It’s lightweight, making it easier to handle and install for any situation.
  • It is known to provide resistance to corrosion that can come as a result of certain chemicals or moisture.
  • Due to its smooth surface, there is much less airflow friction compared to ducting that has seams. This means the air can travel through the duct much more efficiently.
  • Plastic is known to be a cheaper material in some cases, making it a good option for those looking for the best value for money.
  • It is easier to cut and assemble, especially when compared to metal ducting.

However, there are drawbacks to using plastic ducting. It is not the right option for certain environments due to the following limitations.

  • Plastic melts at a lower temperature than metal ducting. So plastic ducting is not suitable for environments that will constantly transfer hot air.
  • Plastic, although strong, does not have the kind of durability that metal generally has. So it requires a lot more care, especially if it is flexible ducting.
  • If the building that the ducting is being installed in has certain fire safety regulations, using plastic ducting may not be the appropriate option.

Is there just one type of plastic ducting?

No. Below are the three main players when it comes to plastic ducting. They are…

  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). This is the most common type of plastic ducting you will find, it is rigid, durable, and especially beneficial to use in low-pressure applications. A common example would be the ducting used in a bathroom extractor fan.
  • GRP (Glass reinforced Plastic). This is a modified version of PVC, it has had its durability and general resistance enhanced by using fibreglass. This makes it applicable for medium-pressure applications.
  • Flexible plastic. Commonly found when using plastic flexible ducts. They can be manipulated rather easily, making them perfect for tight spaces. However, depending on the quality of installation, airflow can be restricted.

Is metal ductwork better?

Metal ductwork, like plastic ductwork, is an excellent option to consider for your ducting needs. It excels in areas that plastic ducting is limited in. This can include, but is not limited to…

  • Heat resistance. Metal ducting has a much higher resistant to high temperatures compared to plastic. Making it perfect for applications that deal with the moving of hot air. Further to this point, this fire resistance allows metal ductwork to be the best option to adhere to fire safety regulations, in most cases.
  • The durability of metal ducting is higher than plastic in most cases.
  • Metal ducting has the capacity for a smooth airflow efficiency. Though, this benefit is dependent on the style and state of the internal surface of the ducting.

Where to buy ducting

Where to buy ducting

I-Sells is an established and trusted provider of ducting, sealant, ventilation solutions and much more! Simply click this link to see our range of items available. Whether you are buying it for yourself, or you are a HVAC expert, and everything in-between, we cover almost every possibility.

Struggling to figure out which option works best for you? Not to worry! Simply contact us about your enquiry, and we will try our best to help you find a solution that helps you to breathe a little more easily, literally!

Can anyone install ducting?

For domestic settings, depending on the complexity of the installation, it is possible for almost anyone to install ducting themselves. However, any electrical installations must be completed and checked by a qualified electrician.

Regarding ducting, we would generally recommend that you use the services of an expert to install it. Professional installers will be sure to…

  • Make sure your ducting is the right fit for the HVAC item you are using.
  • Ensure that installation of the ducting does not damage the structure or any internal components of the building.
  • Check to make sure the HVAC item is working with the ducting as it should.

Invest in plastic ducting options

Invest in plastic ducting options

At I-Sells, all things ventilation and ducting related is our speciality, we are here to answer the questions we know are common for those new to HVAC and what it encompasses.

We at I-Sells endeavour to ensure our customers have all the information they require before investing in our mould solutions. Be sure to visit our blog page to learn about the vast array of factors and issues surrounding ventilation, mould, condensation, and much more.

Within this blog, we hope to have shown you have answered the question, ‘Can plastic be used for ductwork?’, whilst providing you with supplementary information to help you going forward.

We understand you may have more questions, do not hesitate to contact us for more information about whatever you need our help with. If you’d like to email us, click here. For other contact options, see below:

Call us on 020 8463 9696

Visit us at our showroom:


Monday – Friday: 8:00 am to 5:30 pm

Saturday: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Sunday: Closed

15 St John’s Parade

Sidcup, Kent

DA14 6ES

United Kingdom

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