Duct fabricators Phil Figgs and Harold Hitchens prepare the duct board.
What started out as an experiment by a Delaware hvac distributor ended up being a successful sideline that is keeping its contractor-customers coming back for more.

According to Kent Peterson, vice president of Penco Corp., Seaford, Del., his company took a fiberglass duct board grooving machine as payment from a customer several years ago. Penco then began offering prefabricated duct board to its customers.

Since then, Penco has been receiving steady orders of cut duct board that the company fabricates and stocks in about 20 sizes, most in four-foot lengths. The distributor also cuts custom sizes.

One customer is Shore Comfort Services, Salisbury, Md., which is currently installing prefabricated CertainTeed Ultra*DuctTM duct board in 102 two-story townhomes at "Ocean Village at Old Bridge," a new development in West Ocean City, Md.

"Our guys love working with this board," said Brian Lloyd, project manager for Shore Comfort Services. "Penco dedicates several of its workers solely to cutting and grooving duct board so that it is delivered to the site, ready to be sealed and installed.

"The technicians at Penco are so skilled that the board always comes to us perfectly squared at the edges and comes together at the corners. It's never ragged."

Hvac mechanic Jimmy Parsons applies tape to a section of Ultra*Duct duct board.

Customer convenience

Peterson said that this service blossomed because it was such a convenience to its customers. "Our hvac dealers like it because there is very little cutting, which is a labor and time savings to them. They can count on a consistency of product quality. And with a well-crafted duct board, there is also more peace of mind about the integrity of airflow within the system, which makes the system more energy efficient.

"There is no waste disposal involved at the job site, which is a big plus for contractors saddled with the problems inherent in disposing of job site wastes," he said.

Lloyd said his workers like working with Ultra*Duct board. "We've used several brands of board and definitely prefer the rigidity and look of the type that Penco prefabricates. The men say it's easier to handle and doesn't flake as they handle it."

The lightweight one-inch-thick board used in the attic and crawl spaces at Ocean Village will be used throughout the entire community. The townhomes sell in the $200,000 range. The community, most of which is already presold, is owned by a Salisbury engineering and general contracting firm operating as Old Bridge LLC. Shore Comfort Services expects to complete its work in late 2003.

Penco Corp. has six locations in Delaware and Maryland. It supplies hvac and plumbing equipment to the entire state of Delaware, the eastern shore of Maryland, and the eastern shore of Virginia, as well as southeastern Pennsylvania.