When defining “louver,” you may first bring up the most common definition, a window covering that allows light in. But when we look at “louvers HVAC (Heating, Venting, and Air-Conditioning),” we are contemplating the louvers that take care of us when we aren’t thinking of them – those that let in air. Louvers, and their similarity and differences to backdraft dampers, are a fascinating subject rolled up in lined, metal slats.
What is a Louver?
A louver is a group of parallel blades arranged horizontally that are designed to regulate airflow or light. The blades can be constructed of glass, wood, metal, or any other material that can carry out the desired effect. In addition, they can move or remain fixed.
Initially, the name was used to apply to turrets or domelike lanterns set upon roofs in medieval European buildings. These were built to allow for ventilation; one of the reasons for these board-like setups was for the ability to close them against bad weather. We still utilize HVAC louvers to cover the intake and exhaust systems of some ventilation and air-conditioning units for this exact reason!
When Would a Louver Be Used?
Louvers are utilized in many homes and industries, but they are particularly recommended in two instances: in homes that may experience frequent hurricanes and as fire protection. With homes that may experience frequent hurricanes, louvers are utilized to allow ventilation for the home’s residents while still protecting them from blowing rain.
When HVAC louvers are used for fire protection, they assist in increasing ventilation so that dangerous gases and smoke don’t build up and endanger the building’s inhabitants. Contractors are trained to know which louvers would work best in the building’s HVAC system, which is why it is always wise to bring in educated professionals.
What are the Different Types of HVAC Louvers?
When looking at airflow-regulating HVAC louvers, there are four different types:
Adjustable – This type of HVAC louver has blades that can be moved to fit the space’s needs precisely.
Stationary – This HVAC louver has an angled or airfoil-style slat that assists in protection against both weather and sound.
Combination – These HVAC louvers have blades that will open based on the amount of static pressure that is forced upon them. You may find this style will also incorporate a backdraft damper.
Air-measuring – HVAC louvers like these will have vertical slats that are precisely placed to keep water from entering the space.
What is a Backdraft Damper?
Much like HVAC louvers, backdraft dampers are unsung heroes of the HVAC world. They, too, let in air, but unlike the humble HVAC louver, they can also let it back out. Without the backdraft damper, you would be continuously breathing in stale, contaminated air in your home.
A backdraft damper has the capacity to let pollen, dander, and other allergens that were brought into your home ventilate back out, and it prevents polluted air from rushing back into your building. If you did not have a backdraft damper on your HVAC system, terrible odors, such as a burnt dinner, would have no way to dissipate. And in rooms such as a bathroom, it assists in pulling moisture out of the area so that mold and mildew won’t form and create issues.
One of the primary downsides of backdraft dampers is that there is no safeguard to protect against cool indoor air escaping in the warmer months and warm air seeping out in the winter. Additionally, you will need a contractor to install a backdraft damper directly into your home or business’ HVAC system. You would want to avoid taking on such an important issue yourself.
How is an HVAC Louver Different From a Backdraft Damper?
One of the main differences between an HVAC louver and a backdraft damper has to do with the concept of exhaust. Whereas both pieces of equipment will allow in the fresh air, only the backdraft damper has the capacity to filter contaminated air back out. This is useful in businesses and certain rooms in houses, such as kitchens, laundry rooms, and anywhere where moisture may build or bad smells may accumulate.
Choosing the Right Louver or Backdraft Damper
When selecting an HVAC louver or backdraft damper for your home or building, there are several things to take into consideration:
- Hazardous materials
Pressure: Varying products will perform differently when presented with varying ranges of pressure. Due to this, a contractor should carefully examine the situations in which the HVAC system will be exposed before purchasing the HVAC louver or backdraft damper.
Environment: Before selecting the appropriate HVAC louver or backdraft damper, a contractor will need to review the climate of the home or building, as well as take into consideration the amount of wind and rain the structure will experience.
Hazardous materials: If hazardous materials are to be used within the building, it is essential that the appropriate HVAC louver and backdraft damper be installed to keep the employees safe. It is of utmost importance that the amount of airflow is reviewed and how the system will operate in an emergency. Hence, the response team is proactive instead of reactive and can formulate an emergency response plan.
How Do You Install HVAC Louvers?
As you would with any piece of essential equipment, you will need to hire a trained contractor to install your HVAC louver. An improperly installed louver added to your HVAC system can potentially invalidate and void any warranty you might have for your system as well as anything that might get damaged inside your home or office because of it.
Before choosing your louver, discuss your needs and concerns with your contractor to guarantee that you get the correct one for your particular home or business requirements. Having these discussions beforehand will lower the chance of any miscommunications and help ensure a happy outcome with the finished job!
Not sure where to find a contractor? Check out our list of vetted professionals in your area!
When looking for HVAC louvers, backdraft dampers, air control dampers, or other HVAC products, contact Lloyd Industries. For over 35 years, we have been manufacturing top-quality dampers. We look forward to answering all your HVAC questions and partnering with you in all of your HVAC and fire prevention needs.