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Home / Tips and Tricks / House too hot or too cold? Customize your HVAC dampers for year-round comfort – LifeSavvy

House too hot or too cold? Customize your HVAC dampers for year-round comfort – LifeSavvy

  Family relaxes in a comfortable and air-conditioned living room
fizkes / Shutterstock

If you complain that parts of your home are too hot in summer and too cold in winter, you have a fair chance of not using your oven steamer right. Balancing your HVAC system for year-round comfort.

What is a damper?

Most people know the registers and vents you see in the actual rooms (and the concept of closing a vent in a particular room) to slow down or stop the flow of air through the heating and cooling system into that room) , However, closing the louvers in rooms is far from the most efficient way to control the flow of air through the system.

Balancing flaps come into play here. An equalizer is just a simple mechanism in the channel that closes a particular channel. It is called the equalizer because you use it to balance the flow of air throughout the system. Below is an example of a manual compensator.

  A manual compensator with fully open flow valve
Grainger Industrial Supply

Unlike a register (located at the end of the duct where the air duct meets the floor, wall or ceiling of a room However, the damper is located very close to the central unit and the advantage of this arrangement is that it closes the duct closer to the source of hot or cold air and helps redirect the compressed air more efficiently to another location in your house. [19659006] What does this mean for you in practice? That means more cold air from the air conditioner in the summer and more hot air from the oven in the winter, just where you want to go.

Practically, adjusting your valves is so easy like turning the lever to open or close the flap damper, but it's a bit more behind it, especially if you've never done it before So let's go over some practical tips and tricks. We assume that you have never messed around with your dampers and that you will go through the entire process from start to finish.

Finding Your Mutes

The first is the first. You can not adjust anything until you find your dampers. This should be pretty easy for most people, but for some readers there will be situations where adjusting the dampers is not an option.

In some houses (especially newer constructions), no flaps are attached to the flap. Piping – in our opinion a rather bad measure to reduce costs. In other houses, the dampers, if any, were covered by drywall construction during refurbishment projects or when a basement was completed in a hobby room or the like. (Conscientious contractors often use "wrong" vents to gain access to the flap handles, so aim a flashlight at all of the ceiling openings in your finished basement to verify that the functional vent is actually an access door .) [19659006] On the other (and more positive) side, if you have a premium system, you might have electronic dampers that are automatically controlled by your heating and cooling system, providing a zone-controlled airflow. But let's be honest: If you have this system, you probably will not read this article because your automated system is already taking care of things. If you are not sure if you have such a system, you can pretty easily find out. Instead of physical grips, small motors with wires are attached to your dampers.

Apart from these two situations, finding your dampers should be pretty easy. Go to your stove (be it in a utility room, a crawlspace, etc.) and look at the main channel trunks emanating from the oven. Damper is almost always within a distance of 2 to 6 feet to the main trunk.

Here is an example of dampers attached to our stove, located directly next to the main truck and dividing the trunk at the opening of the individual ducts in:

  Attaching twin dampers to the main trunk of the kiln channel
The configurations vary considerably, but You should see something more or less similar. Jason Fitzpatrick

You may only have different styles of grip. The dampers may be right next to the main stem or a few feet away, or even rectangular, but you should see something like the image above, cobwebs and all.

Identifying and Labeling Your Dampers

Finding the dampers is one thing, and turning the handle to open and close is easy enough, but it does not help you if you do not know what damper goes where. This is where the real fun begins. If you can force a friend, spouse, or older child to help you, you'll save a slew of attempts to find out which channel leads to which room.

Before you begin, grab a permanent marker or grease pencil. Adjusting the flap is not frequent, and proper labeling will make it easier for you to proceed.

First go through your house and open all the registers / vents. You want maximum airflow when you test each channel so you do not miss anything.

Return to the dampers next. Choose a flap to start. Follow the channel to which the damper is attached as far as possible before it is covered by a floor, wall or otherwise. This will give you a rough idea of ​​where the canal goes to. If you have a wizard, have him go to the area of ​​the house to which the channel leads in your opinion.

Turn on the fan of your oven by activating the fan mode with the thermostat. No fan mode? You can always use the heating or air conditioning.

Close the door (remember we do this in turn ). Below you can see what a closed flap looks like. The handle should be perpendicular to the channel (unless otherwise indicated).

  A manual balancing door in closed position
A closed door – imagine this as if the handle were "interrupting" the flow of air. Jason Fitzpatrick

At this point, either call your assistant to check the wires in that room / area of ​​the house, or go back to the area to check them yourself. At least one of the vents in this area should still have minimal to no airflow.

Make sure that flap provides the desired result by opening and closing it.

  A Manual Balancing Door in Open Position
An open door – the handle should point down. Jason Fitzpatrick

Return to the damper and clearly mark the channel with your marker pen with an easily understandable name such as "Foyer", "Kitchen" or "Living Room". Avoid this for future homeowners Only names you will understand ("Carl's room" only helps if you know who Carl is).

Finally, we will mark each damper for a summer and winter position. However, we will not do that yet as we first need to use the system a bit to position our labels accurately. We will talk more about this in the next section.

Adjusting and monitoring your dampers

Now that we know which damper goes where in the flat, we just have to make an initial adjustment based on the season and where we want the hot or cold air to flow.

Adjusting for Better AC Distribution

We write this at the beginning of summer. First, let's talk about AC-oriented adjustments. Cold air sinks and, whether with or without air conditioning, the lower levels of your home naturally remain cooler – without any intervention, the loft is always warmer than the basement. For this reason, you first want to close the louvers for ducts that distribute the air in the basement and on the first floor and transport most of the air to the second floor. Do not worry; We assure you that the cold air will flow down as well as possible and the ground floor will not get so hot.

Even though there is no second floor, you can set the louvers to get the maximum amount of chilled air in the room. Primary living spaces like the bedrooms and the living room (or, if you're like us, the home office ).

Adjusting for better heat distribution

When it's time to turn off the air conditioning for summer and winter Remember to light the stove to keep out the upcoming winter cold. It's time to re-examine your dampers.

In the summer, the goal is to bring the cooled air up. In winter, the goal is to bring more air to the ground floor. Increasing heat and adjusting the louvers for less upflow and more downflow usually have a positive effect on the heat distribution without causing cool temperatures in the upper rooms.

Monitoring the Changes

You will not immediately know if the changes you're making have made it ideal. You may know if a particular vent has been muted (because you have checked and marked them individually in the previous section), but it may take a few days for you to get a sense of whether or not the adjustments made will result in venting, you want.

Check the different rooms in your house every day to see how the adjustments affect the temperature. Are the rooms too cold now? Are rooms that are too hot more comfortable? If so, you have chosen it for the season. If not, adjust the louvers as needed to bring colder (or hotter) air to the desired location.

If you think that the system is fairly well balanced for the function (AC vs. Heat), grab your marker again and label the channel with the name of the season the grip should be in this season .

For example, if you've just optimized your system for use in summer with AC power when the handles point to it. In the channels, the location where you should write "summer" is the location of the flap best suited for alternating current. Resist the urge to write the other season in the other than the current season. If you change seasons, you may find that you are not completely closing a particular open door, and the Winter position may be 50% closed and not fully closed. Wait until you have marked the opposite season until you have taken a spin.

Balancing Spring and Autumn

All the hard work is behind you now. You have found, labeled and tested the flaps, and you have a much more balanced HVAC system.

The only thing left to do is create a reminder for yourself to improve and remember your memory. You change the damper as the seasons change. You can add a warning message to your phone calendar, or stick a large piece of paper labeled "Dampers in Spring and Autumn!" Directly on the stove so you can see it every time you change the filters – but whatever you need Remember to adapt. Otherwise it will become too hot or too cold when the season changes.

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