What HVAC Dampers Are and How to Use Them

HVAC systems have many components that work together to heat and cool your home or business. Dampers are less popular components of heating and cooling systems, but they play a crucial role in temperature regulation. 

What Are HVAC Dampers?

HVAC dampers are movable, plate-shaped devices that sit 4 to 6 feet from the main duct trunk. The damper can hold or push air as needed just as a dam shuts off water flow downstream. Dampers function as valves that determine how much cooled or heated air flows into different parts of your home to attain your preferred settings.

HVAC dampers are sometimes with vents located in the floors and walls. Many people change the angle of the vents to control airflow. However, vents only block air from entering the room, which remains in the duct length. Dampers are more efficient in blocking air as they are positioned close to the opening of the air distribution pipe.

Types of HVAC Dampers

Manual and automatic dampers are the two main types of HVAC dampers. You need to control manual dampers by pulling the levers situated outside ducts and vents. Thus, you cannot operate these dampers remotely, and they lack the precision of automatic models.

Automatic dampers can self-regulate, and you can create an HVAC zoning system via a programmable thermostat. You can also remotely regulate automatic dampers, which is convenient for HVAC systems that sit close to or on the ceiling.

How to Locate HVAC Dampers

Some homes do not have dampers. If you have a premium multi-zoned HVAC system, your dampers are automatic and don’t require manual intervention. For systems with manual dampers, find them on the main supply trunk, although there may be a damper on every supply duct. If the ductwork is exposed, check which runs have dampers. You can identify dampers by the attached levers or rods.

In older houses, dampers can get covered up with drywall during remodeling projects. In this case, you can either use vents to control the air or check the blueprints to locate the dampers.

How to Adjust HVAC Dampers

You need to identify where all the dampers lead to manage them effectively. The process can be tasking as you need to open and close the dampers and check the rooms without airflow. You can get additional help and label the dampers according to the corresponding rooms.

Keep in mind that hot air rises while cold air sinks. This makes the lower levels of the home colder than the attic. If you want to cool your house, close the dampers that branch to your home’s lower levels. Since cool air sinks, the air on the upper floors flows to the lower levels and cools the entire house.

If you want to heat your home, restrict the air on the upper levels. The heat from the furnace will rise and distribute hot air across the house. Your adjustments may take some time to be felt, and you want to wait for a few days after turning the dampers.

What About Season Changes?

You need to make periodical changes to the airflow to maintain comfort in your space. Most homes and businesses open dampers going upstairs in the summer and leave them closed in the winter.

You can also set phone alerts to adjust the dampers before the house gets too hot or cold. If your home does not have dampers, your best bet is to close some air registers in the upper levels in the winter and close some in the lower levels in the summer.

Are You Taking Full Advantage of Your HVAC Dampers? Call the Experts Today!

HVAC dampers control the airflow in your home and contribute to the system’s overall efficiency. Contact our team today if adjusting your HVAC dampers doesn’t address your heating and cooling inconsistencies. Our heating and cooling experts will ensure your system is running properly all year long. Our HVAC company proudly serves homes and businesses in Yankton, Vermillion, and the nearby SD communities.

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