How Long Does Flexible Ductwork Last

insulated flexible ductwork

If you have central heating and cooling, your system requires ductwork to run within your walls, distributing air from your unit to each room. Many homeowners believe that means installing rigid metal sheets that demand space within your home’s structure. However, for most, flexible ductwork represents not only an option but a better choice.

Whether you’re new to central climate control or want to swap systems, conduct research. Below, our Attic Projects five-star specialists give you a head start by delving into flexible insulated ductwork and its pros and cons.

The Average Lifespan of a Flex Ductwork

Flex duct system lasts as long as traditional ductwork, ranging between 20 and 25 years but survives longer with appropriate maintenance. On the flip side, a lack of proper upkeep drastically reduces its longevity to 15 years or less.

Flexible Insulated Ductwork

The Lifespan of a Flex Duct Depends Upon the Following Factors

Unfortunately, it’s not only a lack of regular care that lowers efficiency and longevity. Subpar systems and harsh environments encourage premature repairs and system replacements.

Quality of the Product

How long does flexible ductwork last if it wasn’t good, to begin with? Homeowners will find different levels of ductwork quality, which depend on manufacturing companies and materials.

If a brand cuts corners, you receive low-grade equipment comprising cheap material. These systems often become susceptible to falling apart, allowing your controlled air to seep into your walls rather than out of air vents. Constant high air pressure eventually enlarges splits and punctures, further damaging the ducts and leading to higher bills and uncomfortable indoor climates due to a 40% reduced performance.

Instead, trust a company that carries multi-layered duct designs. Products like Mophorn and AC Infinity offer durability, proving more damage and leak-resistant.

The Temperature of the Area

Still, despite a given insulated flexible ductwork’s five-star customer reviews, it doesn’t guarantee a perfect fit for your home. Some states will often experience 90-degree summer temperatures. The humidity only leads to hotter attic spaces since heat rises, increasing the temperature of the cool air in the ducts and weakening the duct material.

More alarmingly, the constant shift between hot and cool air causes water particles from the humidity to evaporate and condensate, creating stagnant moisture. These water droplets provide the perfect environment for mold and fungal growth. While they may not seem cause for initial concern, they’ll eventually:

  • Create an undying musty smell
  • Release airborne spores, lowering air quality while jeopardizing your immune system and promoting allergies, illnesses, and infections
  • Tarnish and rust metal air ducts, effectively weakening them

Upon noticing these signs, including visible fungal growth leaking out from air vents, you need immediate mold remediation from flexible ductwork specialists.

Advantages of Duct Systems

Flexible HVAC ductwork operates much like traditional metal frame ducts since it evenly distributes quality air to all household corners. This act reduces uncomfortable cold and warm spots and keeps your HVAC unit from working harder to produce uniform temperatures, which effectively lowers utility bills and enhances your unit’s lifespan.

The constant airflow also keeps carbon monoxide, gas, and smoke from building up in one area, which would otherwise cause health and safety hazards. However, what makes HVAC flexible ductwork better for some homes than solid metal chutes?

  • Flexible ductwork bends, fitting within your walls without intricate measurement taking, unlike solid ductwork. This eliminated step lowers installation costs and downtime.
  • More flexibility means fewer seams for air to seep out. Rigid sheets only create straight passageways, so they have a lot more connecting parts with every turn.
  • Air travels through the plastic core, creating less noise when your system functions than metal ductwork that pings and pops as its metal sheets expand and contract with heat.

Disadvantages of Flexible Ductwork

Unfortunately, since it bends, some flexible ductwork passageways collapse or pinch during installation, restricting airflow, especially when turning a tight corner. This friction also causes the material to snap against inner walls, proving you need to know how to install flexible ductwork appropriately.

Other concerns include the following:

  • While they have the same life expectancy as rigid ductwork, the softer flex ducts require more maintenance for continued durability.
  • Scrunched sections slow airflow, causing air to lose momentum and never reach your vents.
  • While vacuuming and scrubbing stiff ducts is simple, these flexible ones with a thin polymer lining demand softer tools and sensitive cleaning to keep from damaging the product.

When Should You Repair/Replace Your Flexible Ductwork?

If your ductwork does rip during cleaning, it needs immediate repairs. However, rips also happen naturally, so if you notice dramatically reduced airflow or little heating and cooling power, tears release your air elsewhere. Similarly, water leaks and stains from condensation on walls and ceilings easily point to problematic areas.

You also need repairs and replacements if:

  • Ductwork turns gray and brittle from poor ventilation
  • 4 flexible ductwork wye splits or more each add 10 feet of a run to your system, lowering airflow
  • Your ducts reach the end of their natural lifespan

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)—Flexible Ductwork

A lot happens within your flexible ductwork. Prepare for optimal airflow by asking the right questions.

What is the Mold Remediation Process?

A qualified team first uncovers all mold sources, dehumidifying and wiping down the area to remove moisture. Then, a commercial-grade fungicide product sterilizes the contaminated areas. What they cannot clean, like drywall and insulation, they dispose of before sealing the area with plastic sheets and seal tape and adding ventilation for less moisture buildup moving forward.

What happens if you have an Incorrectly Sized System?

Oversized systems force your HVAC unit to overwork to push air to the ends of the ducts, while undersized ones pop at the seams from highly pressurized airflow.


If you have concerns about your flexible ductwork, ignoring them only contributes to more extensive and costly repairs and replacements. Instead, rely on Attic Projects, our five-star family-owned and operated HVAC company. Contact us for a free inspection or custom estimate today!

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