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How Dampers Work in HVAC Systems

Atlanta Heating & Air Solutions Mabelton
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With the rise of zoning, dampers are becoming increasingly common in heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems. You can find them in residential and commercial HVAC systems alike. They are installed inside of the ductwork where they help redirect the conditioned air to the spaces where it’s needed.

What Is a Damper?

A damper is a mechanical valve that’s designed to control the direction in which an HVAC system’s conditioned air travels while going through the ductwork. They are found inside of the ductwork. In most HVAC systems, dampers are installed within 10 feet of the supply trunks.

Understanding How Dampers Work

They may sound complex, but dampers are relatively simple devices that have a straightforward method of operation. As previously mentioned, they are valves. Dampers can be open or closed. When a damper is open, the conditioned air produced by the HVAC system will be able to pass through it. When a damper is closed, on the other hand, it will block the conditioned air.

By acting as air valves, dampers can control which spaces receive conditioned air. Air ducts connect the supply trunks to individual rooms. Within these air ducts are dampers. If the damper in an air duct is closed, the room to which it connects won’t receive the conditioned air. Instead, the conditioned air will be redirected back into the HVAC system where it’s rerouted to other air ducts with an open damper or no damper.

There are manual dampers, and there are automatic dampers. Manual dampers require manual adjusting. You’ll have to open and close them manually on the outside of the air ducts in which they are installed. Automatic dampers are controlled automatically at the thermostat. You can switch to a different zone at the thermostat to open or close them.

Do You Need Dampers?

If you have a zoned HVAC system – or if you’re looking to upgrade to a zoned HVAC system – you’ll need dampers. Dampers are an essential part of a zoned HVAC system.

A zoned HVAC system is a type of indoor climate-controlling system that allows you to adjust the temperature of different areas of your home. Each area is a separate zone.  If you have a two-story house, for example, the ground floor may be one zone, and the top floor may be another zone. To achieve zoning such as this, your HVAC system must be equipped with dampers within the ductwork.

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