"Price is what you pay, VALUE is what you get"- Warren Buffett
Here in Wichita and many of the other wonderful communities in the great State of Kansas, there are Building Codes that protect us from what you are about to see. There are companies that are not one of our partners that can get a job done. These pictures are not meant to disparage , but to exemplify VALUE that is gained by using Local #29 members to perform the HVAC work on your projects. Without the 10 plus decades of experience passed down through our Apprenticeship Program, even the worker with the best of intentions, simply may not have the skills or knowledge to deliver a product of the quality that you are paying for.
There are many things wrong with the curb adapter on the left. Firstly, multiple adapters are an unnecessary, lazy and inefficient way to place a new air handler on an existing roof curb. It is far too high from the roof deck. There has also been little care taken to properly level the new unit, which can lead to premature equipment failure. The adapter on the right is a quality installation. It is as low to the roof as possible. It has a neat, uniform construction. It is these features that will allow this air handler to function efficiently, safely and last as long as possible.
As can be clearly seen, the duct coming off of the Roof Top Unit on the left picture is of much poorer quality. Without going in depth about the poor construction and installation quality, there is a very short distance before a directional change, which limits laminar flow. That will create air turbulence, limiting efficiency. Limiting efficiency increases energy consumption and operational cost. The duct on the right picture is of much higher quality. It is well constructed, well sealed and has enough of a straight run-out to be able to uniformly direct airflow before being directed downward into the building.
Both of these pictures were taken from the inside of runs of duct work. The picture on the left is extremely dirty and has an exceptional amount of mold growing in it. The existence of mold in a duct system can lead to a multitude of health hazards, some of which could lead to permanent damage to your health or worse. This growth is most likely caused by improper installation, which leads to excess moisture being introduced, allowing the mold to thrive. The duct on the right is exceptionally clean and is exactly the way the inside of your duct system should look for many years if properly installed and maintained.
Spiral and Snap-Lock pipe can both be adequate, useful and efficient delivery vehicles for HVAC systems. However, for the picture on the right, this pipe is used to overcome the lack of skill and experience needed to perform a quality installation. How happy would you be if this was the work that you paid for. As for the pipes on the left, they are plumb and true. Great care has been taken to ensure the security of the pipe connections and its anchorage to the supporting structure.
Again, flex duct absolutely has its place in an HVAC system and can used properly. This means short lengths, sweeping bends and no kinks. Sadly, the customer who paid for the installation on the left received the opposite of all three. The real issue with flex duct is that because it it very easy to install, it is very often used in applications that it was never designed to be used for. It was never and will never be an equal replacement for a properly designed and installed duct system for your HVAC needs.