The job of HVAC piping is to deliver hot or cool ventilation to your room. It’s also used to deliver cool water, condensate, gas, hot water, refrigerant, and steam in and out of the HVAC component. Apart from thermal comfort, HVACs also maintain indoor air quality. You can find HVAC Hickory, NC, residential, institutional, commercial, and industrial premises. Mentioned below are some of the purposes it serves:

  • Draw in fresh air
  • Control humidity
  • Draw in or expel heat from inside the room
  • Filter air

Read on to learn more about the types and materials used to manufacture these piping.

Types of systems

HVAC systems are comprised of two parts: a cooling system and a heating system. Let’s now discuss briefly how they both work.

1. Cooling system

The cooling system further consists of two types of water: condensate and chilled. There’s a separate closed-loop for pumped chilled water to accumulate. It also prevents it from mixing with the condensate water. The heat is sucked into and passed at several major points thrice in this system. At first, the heat waves pass through a fan coil unit placed across the buildings. Secondly, it enters a chiller attached to a refrigerator that cools down the water. The last main point acts as an open-loop known as the condensate water system. The water is then released into the cooling towers.

2. Heating system

Capable of delivering heat to any space, it consists of both the hot water and the steam systems. A boiler is used for the production of steam. Before this, fuel oil or natural gas was used to complete the process. Boiler pressure forces the steam into the heat exchanger through a piping system. The heat gets transferred into the boiling water and then sent to an occupied space. Once the steam condensate back into the liquid state, it is collected through stream traps. Through condensate pumps, the water is pumped back into the boiler.

Further, it is passed into a hot water system that is closed-loop. The heat exchangers provide it with warmth, and it’s then pumped into the building spaces. Altogether, these heating and cooling systems are named HVAC piping systems installed by professionals in HVAC Hickory, NC.

Different types of HVAC Piping

Piping is an essential part of HVAC that we often tend to ignore. Piping distributes the hot or cool air throughout your residential and commercial space. The absence of piping would make the entire HVAC system completely useless. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to the details and choose types and materials wisely. Broadly, HVAC piping could be classified into two types: Flexible and Rigid piping.

1. Flexible Piping

Fabricated from durable but flexible plastic materials, flexible pipes are round tubes of steel wire helixes. To get the optimum air temperature, it has been insulated by flexible ducts. The best part is it offers easy installation. Also, it doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. This type of ductwork is the perfect fit for installation in awkward spaces in your house. It comes in to save the day when rigid piping fails to do the job. Flexible piping systems can bend in and fix into pretty much every space.

If we look at the downside, this ductwork can obstruct the airflow due to the ridges inside. They’re also prone to dents and kinks, which deteriorates the airflow and reduces efficiency. However, we shouldn’t overlook the benefits it provides to our HVAC. Since it’s highly flexible, it improves the inner air quality. The piping is made of plastic and not fibreglass, and it acts quite rigid. No air pollutants or dangerous particles are allowed to pass in. Apart from that, this is also rust and mold-resistant. It assures better inner air quality for a longer period. There are very less chances of leakage of air from the HVAC system with flexible ductwork.

2. Rigid Piping

Since rigid ductwork comes in a variety, you should consult professionals such as HVAC contractors Hickory, NC, for installation. They vary in terms of size, shape and materials. You could either choose a cylindrical or rectangular piping system.As the name suggests, they’re quite rigid, eliminating the chances of bends and kinks. Unlike flexible piping, rigid ductwork does not restrict airflow or get punctured or torn. The only drawback is that this piping system cannot be used in awkward spaces. There are three categories of ductwork: fibreglass lined piping, fiberboard piping, and sheet metal piping.

  • Sheet metal

This kind of piping is manufactured from either aluminium or galvanized steel. Aluminium ductwork allows easy installation, and they are quite light-weighted. Similar to flexible piping systems, sheet metal exhibits qualities of mold resistance due to its non-porous surface. It means better inner air quality for a long period. In addition, it comes with higher durability due to its rigid structure. It retains its shape and can’t be crushed easily. On the contrary, it leaks when two sheet metal ducts are joined.

  • Fibreglass lined

Most of the sheet metal piping is covered with fibreglass lininginside out. The lining is quite important as it offers various benefits such as:

-Delivers insulation and maintains the optimum air temperature

-Prevents condensation

-Mute the HVAC system’s sound

Commercial buildings and offices highly prefer the fibreglass lined piping due to its muffling capability. However, one of the major drawbacks is that it deteriorates with time and throws fibres into the air. On entering into the respiratory system, it can cause medical problems in the long run. They need to be cleaned cautiously by professionals of HVAC service Hickory, NC. If not cleaned carefully, the lining might get damaged and release even more fibre into the air. This piping is highly vulnerable to bacteria, mold, and mildew due it its extremely porous surface. Only HVAC professionals can clean it without the risk of further contamination and fibreglass release into the atmosphere.

3. Fiberboard piping

Fibreglass fibres are compressed to manufacture fiberboard piping. It has been specifically designed to prevent the risk of particles being released into the air. In the exterior, it is covered by a foil to create a barrier to moisture and air. They are great insulators in themselves. Not merely that, you also need not spend a handsome amount of money during installation. Simply seeking professional help will get the job done. Its major drawback is that it attracts mildew and mould growth, similar to a fibreglass lined piping system. The interior of the fiberboard piping is rough. It creates friction in the airflow and causes inefficiency of the HVAC.

Read More: Why Every Business Needs an Efficient HVAC System

Materials Used for HVAC Piping

Materials used in the piping system also play an essential role as it affects the effectiveness of the HVAC system. So first, let’s find out what materials are suitable for the HVAC piping and their characteristics. Mainly, three materials are used: copper, steel, and plastic piping.

1. Copper

The copper piping system works wonderfully for a variety of HVAC systems, such as delivering:


-Hot water

-Condensate water

-Compressed air

-Chilled water

-Condensate drainage

Mostly, copper is used in piping commercial spaces of around 3-inches or smaller for the HVAC system. They are quite expensive; therefore, they are used in small amounts.This makes copper an ideal choice for HVAC piping. They are joined with brazing, pressure seals, or lead-free solder. Make sure not to take matters into your own hands. Hire professional help of HVAC service Hickory, NC, to get the job done.   

2. Steel piping

Compared to copper, steel piping is much cheaper and pocket-friendly. Therefore, it’s ideal for installing HVAC piping in residential spaces. Generally, it is used for making huge pipes that can t bear higher pressure and temperature. Sch 80 and Sch 40 pipes are applicable for various HVAC pipings. Sch. or schedule is used to define the pipe’s thickness. The bigger the number, the thicker is the pipe. ASTM A135 and A53 are light black steel pipes used for heating and chilled water services of 8 inches and above. On the other hand, ASTM A53 and A120 (Sch. 40) are used for:

  • Chemical treatments
  • Steam vent
  • Heated and chilled water piping
  • Emergency generator exhaust
  • Relief and safety valve discharge
  • Miscellaneous overflows and drains
  • Low and high-pressure steam

Both Sch. 80 and 40 black steel and galvanized steel pipes are used to deliver:

  • Fuel oil
  • Steam
  • Pump and return condensate

Typically, they are bridged by malleable iron and wrought-steel fittings.

Also Read: Why is proper installation important for your HVAC system?

3. Plastic Piping

Compared to steel and copper piping, plastic piping will feel very light on your pocket. It is a very common material used for many HVAC applications. Usually, they are fitted for use in the vent piping systems. It works best for underground piping. Since soils are corrosive, plastic piping or CPVC being corrosive resistant works best. In the case of metallic piping, it is layered with a PVC plastic jacket for protection. Usually, these piping systems are joined using socket-type fittings and solvent cement. The only drawback here is that they can’t withdraw a variety of temperatures like metal does.


The piping system is insulated depending on the existing code conditions. Closed-cell elastomeric pipes are used for insulation because of their inbuilt vapour barrier and closed-cell structure. They vary from -297 degrees F to +220 degrees F. Mentioned below are some of the types of insulations:

  • Vapour retarder mastics
  • Blanket insulation (ASTM C553)
  • Mineral fibre insulation cement (ASTM C195)
  • Preformed pipe insulating system (ASTM C547)
  • Adhesive resistant to fire
  • Prefabricated thermal insulation covers (ASTM C450)
  • Elastomeric cellular insulation (ASTM C534)

For further information on the insulation of the HVAC piping system, contact your nearby HVAC contractors Hickory, NC.

Analysis of the Piping System

It’s one of the most important parts of any HVAC piping system. After installation, you need to pay attention and analyze for any possible damage. Analyzing also involves checking the HVAC piping for the code requirements’ compliance under various loading circumstances. Operating conditions will be ambient temperature, design pressure, design temperature, hydro test pressure, and operating temperature. Expansion compensators are installed to manage the contraction and expansion of the HVAC piping system.

In such cases, ASME B31.9 is mostly used, and for underground piping, B31.3 and B31.4 are used. Again, stringent quality tests must be conducted. The piping material you’ve chosen shall perfectly fit your service utility and building code’s requirements.


All the other parts of the HVAC system depend on the piping for the smooth functioning of the entire system. We hope this guide could highlight all the important aspects of HVAC piping and their significance. Different types and materials of HVAC piping are used for commercial and residential spaces. If you use the information mentioned above wisely, your family will reside in comfort. Also, make sure to get professional assistance during installing the HVAC system within your premises. They will guide you in what HVAC system will go perfectly with your space.  

 Do you know the best provider of HVAC service Hickory, NC? If not, let us introduce you to Anytime Heating and Cooling Repair. We offer services of repair, maintenance, and installation of HVAC systems. With our 24/7 assistance, you can quickly repair your HVAC system.

We have been delivering high-quality services for more than 30 years now. Our experienced team will set your HVAC system right within no time. However, it doesn’t mean our top-notch quality will become heavy on your pocket. Our rates are quite affordable and budget-friendly. For further queries, contact us via mail or call us at (828) 838-0973.