1. What is the difference between fabric ductwork, air socks, and duct sox?

The simple answer is “nothing.” A duct sock is a ventilation duct created from fabric instead of sheet metal or pvc pipe. The technology is widely used across the globe, which means it’s a technology with many names.

In Europe, where the technology was first commercialized, it typically is known as fabric ducts, fabric air dispersion, or textile-based ducting. Whereas the same technology is known as air socks or simply duct socks in North America and textile channels across Europe.

Regardless of which expression is used, fabric ductwork has unique technological characteristics that set the solutions apart from steel ducts, Spiral ducts and other HVAC ducts in sheet metal.


2. What are fabric ducts advantages?

The technological advantages of fabric ductwork are many, the most prominent of which is the even and draft-free air distribution. Energy efficiency, high levels of comfort and hygiene set fabric-based solutions apart from traditional HVAC. It is very easy to maintain and wash. The fabric is flame retardant and can be antimicrobial(depending on the fabric used). In addition, fabric-based solutions are lightweight, therefore, they are extremely easy to install without using heavy machinery.


3. What is the difference between fabric and metal ducts?

Fabric-based air distribution solutions have a lot of upsides if compared to conventional, metal ducts. For example, condensation is a typical concern in HVAC ducting. However, fabric does not have the same natural tendency toward sweating as other HVAC ducts do. Permeable textiles prevent the formation of condensation on the ductwork, which is why fabric ducting does not require insulation.

Eliminating the need for insulation provides significant time savings on a project, which naturally also affects the price. The savings potential also includes materials and the transportation and storage of these during the building project. The efficient use of light-weight materials also means lower shipping costs. FabricAir ducts arrive as a complete, engineered system with the ductwork, suspension hardware and flow models all included. There are no additional diffusers, connectors, sealants, insulation, hangers, or painting necessary.

The hygienic nature of fabric ducts stems from the elimination of condensation, which in turn prevents bacteria, mold, and microbial growth. Combi may be autoclaved and other FabricAir ducts can be machine washed; traits not found with conventional ventilation ducting.

Finally, Fabric ducts disperse air quietly, which means they are the better alternative in noise sensitive applications. FabricAir offers solutions ideal in libraries, auditoriums, and the like.


4. How do you clean/maintain fabric ducts?

All fabric-based solutions are designed to be as easy to maintain as possible. They are lightweight, therefore, it is simple to install or detach them, machine wash and put them back on again without any heavy machinery or many manhours.


5. Where can I install fabric ducts?

Fabric-based solutions can be used anywhere that exposed ductwork is applicable. Fabric air dispersion solutions are made from fireproof materials, and all FabricAir textiles are UL certified. They can be used in various food, industrial, sport, pharmaceutical, retail or any other application. Some fabric-based solutions, like FabricAir Ceiling Diffusers, can be used in premises with suspended ceiling.


6. For which applications can fabric ducts be used?

Back in 1973, fabric ducts were created for food processing plants and then evolved to be used in every possible application. FabricAir solutions are now used in food, sport, industrial, retail, comfort, pharmaceutical and grow applications in general. As every project is unique, it is quite possible that fabric-based solutions might be used for any application as long as it is implemented in accordance to local (by market) regulations.


7. What materials are used to make fabric ducts?

Most of FabricAir’s ducts and other products are made of woven polyester, but they can also be created from glass fiber or high density polyethylene(HDPE). Then, depending on the need of the client or project regulations, various additional properties can be applied to the fabric.


8. What are the colors of fabric ducts?

Since each project is unique, FabricAir provides a variety of colors from its standard color pallet in order to meet the needs of any situation. Through FabricAir’s innovative printing technology fabric ducts (or Ceiling Diffusers) can be custom printed with logos, patterns or other visuals.


9. Are fabric ducts heavy?

No, fabric ducts are not heavy as they are designed to be lightweight. This property adds to cost efficiency in terms of transportation and storage. In addition, it only takes a few people and no heavy machinery to install, plus it adds minimal weight to the structure.


10. What is the price of fabric air ducts?

The price difference between conventional ventilation ductwork and FabricAir dispersion solutions is significant. Fabric ducts are a cost-efficient solution due to the nature of the textile-based dispersion technology.

As with all ventilation systems the answer depends on the size and scope of the project. Regardless, the savings potential is significant when compared to conventional HVAC ductwork solutions usually ranging from 30% to 70% when replacing metal with fabric ducts. This makes fabric-based HVAC solutions an unrivalled source of value engineering without compromising the indoor air quality.


11. Can fabric ducts be customized?

Yes, all aspects of fabric ducts are customized engineered solutions, from length and diameter to air dispersion method, to suspension type. Every aspect of a fabric duct is designed specifically for each project to ensure the highest quality, most efficient air dispersion system possible. A variety of standard colors usually match the need of every project. Due to innovative printing technology, virtually any pattern one can imagine can be provided. Different colors, patterns, logos, or visuals can be printed for specific projects.


12. Is fabric duct installation fast?

Yes, fabric ducts can be installed up to four times faster compared to conventional solutions. FabricAir dispersion systems are intuitive and simple to install. Each duct section is marked with an individual tag, which indicates exactly where each piece should go. There are no trade specific tools required; everything you need can be found in a handy-man's toolbox. Easy installation significantly reduces labor hours compared to metal ducts or other fabric duct systems. This helps to ensure that your project is built on time and within budget.


13. Can fabric ducts rust?

FabricAir ducts are ideal for corrosive environments, such as pools, salt rooms and workshops. Unlike metal ducts, polyester is not susceptible to the harsh chemicals found in swimming pools, anodizing facilities, etc. All exposed metal associated with the suspension system is either anodized aluminum, hot-dipped galvanized, or stainless steel, each of which has excellent anti-corrosion properties.


14. Can Fabric ducts condensate?

Fabric ducts do not have the same natural tendency toward sweating as other HVAC ducts do. Permeable textiles prevent the formation of condensation on the ductwork, which is why fabric ducting does not require insulation.


15. Are fabric ducts flame retardant?

One of the biggest concerns in construction is fire safety, which is typically addressed in national building codes. FabricAir offers a wide variety of ducts that are code compliant regardless of what continent you are on. Our products live up to a number of standards and national codes including USA (UL 2518, UL 723, NFPA 90-A and 90-B) Canada (ULC S102.2 listed) and Europe (EN 13501-1 certified).

FabricAir ducts are evaluated and certified based on smoke and flame spread indexes. The flame spread index confirms that should the duct be subjected to flames it will not ignite, but rather smolder at an acceptable rate to allow occupants enough time to exit the building safely. The smoke spread index is the more important of the two, as smoke inhalation and consequent suffocation is the primary cause of fire related fatalities. FabricAir meets or exceed codes in this area.


16. Are fabric ducts durable?

Yes, fabric ducts are extremely durable and have a proven long live span. Many projects are still operational since implemented when FabricAir was established in 1973. FabricAir ensures a 10-year manufacturer warranty for most of the products. There are some food processing plants that have been running the same fabric ducts for over 30 years.