Homeowners and commercial users alike are in the constant hunt to improve the efficiencies of their HVAC systems. There are various ways to achieve this, one of them being the introduction of zones into your indoor space through a damper HVAC.
With zones, you can control the amount of airflow coming into a specific area of your home or office and prevent unoccupied areas from being cooled or heated. This works wonders to save your energy costs while still maintaining the same levels of comfort.
While some people only use vents to control the airflow, a damper HVAC is a better option, especially when talking about zoning.
But how is airflow control in zoning actually achieved?
Components of an HVAC Zoning System
An HVAC zoning system works by splitting up your central air conditioning into smaller parts, with each piece serving a specific area of the home. To achieve this, certain components need to be a part of the HVAC system. These include, but not limited to, dual-zone thermostats/smart thermostats, temperature sensors, and dampers.
The thermostat is the component through which you can control your HVAC system’s temperature and other settings. Sensors detect the current room temperature. Often, these are placed within the thermostats themselves, ut that is not always the case.
The final piece of the jigsaw is the dampers. They block the airflow from coming through the vents into a room where you do not require it.
What is an HVAC Damper?
Think of an HVAC damper like a dam. Just like how a dam blocks the flow of water downstream, a damper blocks the air from going across it when closed.
A damper HVAC, also known as a duct damper, is a tool that is used to regulate the airflow inside your home. It is a movable plate located around 4-6 feet from the main duct trunk.
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HVAC dampers are an essential component of your zoning system. They act as valves in the ducts and decide which part of your home requires how much heated/cooled air to achieve your preferred settings. In simpler terms, it gives you control over the amount of conditioned air distributed throughout your home.
However, they are not to be confused with the vents installed in the walls or floors. Even though vents are also used to control the airflow, they are not as efficient as HVAC dampers. Vents block the air from entering the room, but it is still present in the duct length. On the other hand, HVAC dampers are located near the opening of the air distribution pipe and can block air from entering the ductwork also.
Types of HVAC Dampers
HVAC dampers come in different shapes, sizes, and purposes. They also differ on how they can be controlled, i.e., manually or automatically.
- Manual damper HVAC need to be controlled using the valves located outside the ducts. You have to manually move it up or down to open or close a particular damper. They are low maintenance but are not as precise as automatic dampers.
- Automatic damper HVAC, on the other hand, use a motor to open/close the valves and plates. They are convenient as they can be controlled remotely. Also, they are able to self-regulate when the weather is changing.
Let’s have a look at the different types of HVAC dampers:
· Butterfly Flat Dish Dampers
Butterfly flat dish dampers consist of a round blade on a central hinge and a seal. The blade controls the airflow when lined correctly with the ducts. The seal is used to connect the edges of the blades with the circumference of the duct to isolate any material from entering the ductwork.
This type of duct damper is an efficient choice for fire prevention since they are capable of preventing backdraft by restricting airflow in a single direction.
They function best with round ducts.
· Blade Dampers
The basic component of blade dampers is metal plates. They regulate the flow of air through the ducts or even chimneys.
Blade dampers are of two types, i.e., parallel blade dampers and opposed blade dampers. Parallel blade dampers have blades that move parallel to each other. In contrast, opposed blade dampers move in the opposite direction. Both these types perform very differently as compared to each other.
Parallel blade dampers are the best option to maintain the airflow. On the other hand, opposed blade dampers are better at directing the airflow.
Their sealing capacity is superior to other types of dampers and also produces less noise.
· Guillotine Dampers
Wherever positive isolation is required, you can use a guillotine damper. This is due to their best sealing ability. They can be used temporarily during the maintenance of your HVAC system for regulating airflow in a zoning duct system.
· Louver Dampers
Louver dampers are the most frequently used duct dampers in HVAC systems. The reason is their quality to fit any duct size. They consist of flat blades on hinges and have strong air blocking properties.
· Inlet Vane Dampers
Inlet vane dampers are used in appliances where fan shut-off is also required in addition to volume control for regulated airflow. Inlet vane dampers can also be called variable inlet vanes or internal vane controls. The air is pre-spun in the direction the fan is rotating to reduce its load hence decreasing the pressure and airflow, lowering energy consumption. Inlet vane dampers can hence also lower energy costs in the long run.
Having dampers in your home is just one part, the other is managing them effectively. You want to keep your damper open or closed according to the seasonal heating or cooling needs. Let’s see how to do that.
Before we begin, note that this serves as a guide for manual dampers. In cases where you have an automated zoning system, you would not need to perform these steps, as your HVAC system will do them for you.
To start off, first, find the duct damper itself. It can be quite tricky, though. Older homes might have the damper access blocked off with walls or paint, making it hard to identify. In cases where it is blocked off by drywall, you are left with no option to use the vents for zoning your HVAC unless you want to break down your wall. Usually, though, there is an access panel in plain sight and ideally labeled so that you know the damper is for which room.
To adjust a damper HVAC, all you have to do is turn a lever, just like a water tap. You can also adjust the damper so that it is only halfway open. Be careful, though, and assure yourself that you are adjusting the intended damper and not of some other room. Going ahead and closing all the dampers one by one and then opening them and labeling them will go a long way in solving this confusion.
Let’s see a case where adjusting the dampers can be useful for your comfort. We all know that cold air sinks and hot air rises, making the lower floors of a homestay cooler. In the summer months, you can close the dampers for the lower floors and enable airflow to the upper portion only. The cold air will then naturally flow downwards. The opposite is true for summers, where you can close the dampers for the upper floor, and warm air will rise from the bottom up.
Advantages of HVAC Dampers
HVAC dampers play a significant role in controlling the overall temperature of your home. They can be extremely beneficial if you have a large number of family members and multiple rooms to condition in your home. Using dampers, you’ll be able to control the temperature of a single room while running your HVAC system on one temperature setting. For instance, you can change your bedroom’s temperature without disturbing your home’s overall temperature using a damper.
Another benefit that they offer is the reduction in energy consumption. When you’re regulating or restricting the airflow, your HVAC system would be consuming less energy to run. As a result, you can reduce your spending on air conditioning costs in the long run.
We hope after reading this article, you’ve learned the importance of HVAC dampers and can now make a better choice while opting for one in your next HVAC upgrade!