Diagnosing Damper Issues

Dampers are plates or valves that regulate or stop the airflow inside chimneys, ducts, VAV boxes, and other air-handling equipment.

These components regulate central air conditioning for room-by-room climate and temperature control, and they also cut off the central air conditioning’s cooling or heating as needed.

How Do HVAC Dampers Work?

HVAC dampers come in one of two forms:

  • Manual dampers operate by having users twist a screw to direct airflow to a section of pipe
  • Motorized dampers use automated programming to calibrate damper settings

Motorized dampers can range from simple systems to complex assemblies. Some simply consist of an attachment to the screw that performs the work. Others are more advanced, allowing users to calibrate damper settings at the machine or remotely.

Zone Dampers

What Is a Zone Damper?

A zone, or volume-control, damper regulates or stops the airflow in your cooling or heating equipment. It can cut off airflow to an unused room or allow different rooms to be set to different temperatures.

For example, you can set your living room to be warmer while you unwind after work and set your bedroom to be cooler while you sleep.

What to Look For in a Zone Damper

Zone dampers require a few critical components to function properly. The zone control panel acts as the brain of the zoning application, communicating among the heating/cooling equipment, dampers, and thermostats.

Some zone panels can be installed on manual dampers, and motorized dampers may require updated zone panels as the equipment ages. When you order your panel, you must make sure that it’s compatible with your existing equipment.  

Why Zone Your Damper?

Zoning your damper gives you more control over your heating and cooling systems, saving you money and increasing comfort levels for those in your building. Furthermore, electronically controlled moderating dampers such as electronic thermostats automatically adjust the temperature in each room. This means you do not have to think about cutting off air to rooms you rarely use.

Diagnosing Damper Issues

To properly diagnose issues with your damper equipment, you must first determine whether your HVAC damper is manual or automatic. Automatic dampers use control motors, and manual dampers have adjustment handles on the ductwork.

After determining the type of damping equipment your system has, follow the ductwork to find which registers the damper fits with. While your system runs, check the register’s airflow.

Manual Control Damper

If you have a manual damper, set the damper handle in the closed position. Then, check to see whether the airflow has stopped in the registers. Flip the damper into an open position and inspect the registers once more to see if airflow begins. You probably have a bad damper if, when the damper is closed, you feel limited airflow or none at all.

Automatic Control Damper

If you have an automatic control damper, turn on your HVAC system to see whether there is airflow in the registers. If your room will not maintain temperature, but there is a marginal amount of airflow, or if your room feels drafty and there is a great deal of airflow, you may have a faulty HVAC damper.

Standard and Custom Dampers at Alan Manufacturing

Over the last 25 years, we at Alan Manufacturing have designed over 1,000 products including standard HVAC dampers, zone control systems, and specialized items to meet the unique needs of our customers. If you would like to learn more about the benefits our systems can bring to your home or business, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.  

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