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The difference of air socks, sox and fabric ductwork
The simple answer is “nothing”. A sock is a ventilation duct created in 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 Denmark, where the technology was first commercialized, it would typically be known as fabric ducts, fabric air dispersion, or textile-based ducting. Whereas the same technology is known as air socks or simply 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, Spiro ducts and other HVAC ducts in sheet metal.
TECHNICAL PROPERTIES OF FABRIC DUCTWORK COMPARED TO METAL DUCTS
Condensation is a typical concern in HVAC ducting; however, socks 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.
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.
Socks can be used everywhere where exposed ductwork would be applicable. Fabric air dispersion solutions are made from fireproof materials and all FabricAir textiles are UL certified. Fabric ducts can even be made from non-combustible fiberglass.
The efficient use of materials does not only affect the price of the air dispersion systems, but also means lower shipping costs. A textile-based ventilation solution fits into just a few boxes rather than the truck loads of materials required to create a metal duct solution.
The birthplace of fabric air ventilation ducts was a Danish meat processing plant. They needed a hygienic solution for their workspaces; one that would create a draft-free work environment without compromising product safety. Through this joint project, FabricAir became the first company to launch modern air sox. This was in 1973.
Since then, the technology has spread across the globe and more producers have joined the industry. Common for all is the desire to create HVAC ductwork in a better, easier and more flexible way to offer a more versatile alternative to steel ducting.
The hygienic nature of fabric ducts stems from the elimination of condensation, which in turn prevents bacteria, microbial growth and mold. Sox, like regular socks, can be machine washed if they get dirty; some textile ducts can even be autoclaved. That cannot be done with conventional ventilation ducting.
Finally, Fabric ductwork offers unique sound-technical properties, which means air socks are the better alternative in noise sensitive applications. FabricAir offers a LowNoise™ solution ideal in libraries, auditoriums, and the like.
The price difference between conventional ventilation ductwork and FabricAir dispersion solutions is significant. Socks are a cost-efficient solution due to the nature of the textile-based dispersion technology.
We are often asked “what is the price of a fabric air duct?”. As with all ventilation systems the answer depends on the size of the project. Regardless, the savings potential is significant when compared to conventional HVAC ductwork solutions.
The savings potential varies from 30% up to 70% when replacing metal ducts with air socks. This makes fabric-based HVAC solutions an unrivalled source of value engineering without compromising the indoor air quality.
The technological advantages of fabric ductwork are many, the most prominent of which is the even and draft-free air distribution. The high levels of comfort and hygiene sets air socks apart from traditional HVAC solutions, as does the price of the ductwork and its installation simplicity.
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