HVAC Dampers: Everything You Need to Know

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Whether you’re a homeowner or business owner, understanding the significance of proper airflow is vital. Proper ventilation and airflow determine your home or office space’s comfort level and safety and affect aspects including comfortable temperature, odors, fumes, smoke, and fire safety. Educating yourself on the essentials of proper ventilation, including HVAC dampers, will ensure your comfort, safety, and efficient energy use. Let’s take a look at HVAC dampers and what you should know. We’ll also touch upon maintenance requirements and Lloyd Industries’ best tips for selecting a reputable HVAC manufacturer.


What is Proper Ventilation? 

Proper ventilation provides a circulation of fresh air within your space. Lacking proper ventilation creates a warm, stuffy atmosphere, while odors may accompany a stale space’s unpleasantness.

When we discuss heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, or HVAC, ventilation encompasses how the air moves throughout a space, whether through artificial or natural means. It’s vital to ensure your space has proper ventilation to help maintain an energy-efficient, comfortable, and safe environment. Ensuring adequate air flow is essential in any sized space. It’s a vital step in creating an environment free of pollution and contaminants buildup as well.


Natural and Mechanical Ventilation

There are three ways that air moves through a space:

  • Infiltration
  • Natural ventilation
  • Mechanical ventilation

Infiltration refers to how air may enter and exit your space through tiny openings, cracks, or faulty seals. It is a natural occurrence, but one that warrants a close eye for more extensive issues that may abound.

Natural ventilation is the movement of air throughout your space by way of open doors or windows. This type of ventilation is intentional and circulates air, wind, and varying temperatures through your space.

Mechanical ventilation is also intentional and requires the use of electrical devices to move air throughout your space.

Types of mechanical ventilation include:

  • Kitchen exhaust fan
  • Bathroom fans
  • HVAC systems

Mechanical ventilation assists in replacing stuffy air with more comfortable air while safeguarding your space. 


What Are HVAC Dampers?

damper is a necessary piece of equipment attached to your HVAC unit, duct, chimney, or similar control apparatus to regulate airflow. HVAC dampers can restrict the heating or cooling of a room and regulate temperatures of specific rooms within a home or building.

Let’s take a closer look at how HVAC dampers play a vital role in your home and office space. In addition to regulating heating and cooling, HVAC dampers control the air flowing in and out of a building. HVAC dampers are essential in ensuring employees’ health working with hazardous materials, such as dangerous fumes and gases.

Regulating your space’s internal temperature is just one way HVAC dampers help maintain proper airflow throughout each room. Proper insulation assists by keeping your space feeling comfortable year-round while keeping costs down. This is particularly true in areas such as attics. As warm air accumulates through your roof’s absorption of the sun’s rays, warm air infiltrates your space, resulting in uncomfortable temperatures and enormous electric bills.

HVAC dampers help maintain your spaces’ comfort and safety by supporting the work of your HVAC system. HVAC dampers keep your system from working harder and longer.


Types of HVAC Dampers

While there are an array of HVAC dampers to choose from, let’s examine the most commonly sought-after dampers and what you should know.

  • ­­­­­Air Control Dampers
  • Fire Dampers
    • Static Fire Dampers
    • Dynamic Fire Dampers
    • Combination Damper
  • Smoke Dampers
  • Backdraft Dampers
  • Corridor Smoke and Fire Damper Combo


How Do Air Control HVAC Dampers Work?

Air control dampers, or volume balancing dampers, assist in airflow control needs for various reasons. Their actuated blades help regulate or even stop the airflow inside a duct or air-controlling piece within the unit. With HVAC dampers, these actuated blades allow you to control the amount of airflow you desire and where you wish to direct the flow.

Damper systems work on opening and closing a vent in a particular area of your home or office. Closing a vent still allows air to flow through a duct until it reaches the next closed area. With an HVAC damper, you can withhold or redirect airflow more efficiently, as they are installed close to the airflow sources’ central openings. You’ll help reduce heating and cooling waste and keep costs down significantly.

There are two primary air control HVAC dampers – automatic and manual. Manual air control HVAC dampers consist of a lever to help manipulate the damper’s blades from an open to a closed position. To close this style damper, one must manually move the lever. Contractors will typically install a manual air control damper in a chimney, for example. Manual dampers help block the flow of air into your home while also preventing small animals’ surprise visits.

Automatic air control dampers by Lloyd Industries help prevent or adjust the airflow within air handling equipment and do not require manual adjustment by the homeowner or building tenant. These automatic dampers are dependent upon accessories such as a thermostat to control the automatic or motorized dampers.


Benefits of Air Control HVAC Dampers

Adding HVAC dampers, such as air control dampers, also benefit your space by:

  • Regulating temperature differences in various areas of your home or office.
  • You can control the level of adjustments rather than a straightforward, open, or close option.
  • Adding additional dampers through the system adds efficiency.


What are Fire and Smoke Dampers?

Fire dampers and smoke dampers are two instrumental parts of a passive fire protection system. They work to protect your home or office building from smoke and fire damage. They work within your HVAC system to stop the spread of flames, smoke, and heat from spreading throughout your space. These HVAC dampers are essential for protecting your home or office and the people within them.


How Do Fire Dampers Work?

Fire dampers are installed within your HVAC system’s air ducts, where two fire-rated barriers meet. Fire-rated barriers assist in the slowing of fire to help contain spreading. By installing these HVAC dampers at the intersection of these barriers, fire dampers help control and stop other flames and heat from circulating within your air vents.

Fire dampers are a critical component, as the HVAC damper detects excessive heat and activates when a room’s temperature exceeds 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the temperature rises to this point, a fusible link attached to the fire damper melts. The melting causes the damper to close – cutting off air distribution into the room and preventing oxygen from fueling the fire.

Once a fire damper closes, it helps contain the fire to its origin.

Fire dampers are a crucial HVAC damper, as they:

  • Detect excessive heat
  • Prevent air distribution and oxygen supply
  • Prevent the passage of flames
  • Save lives


Three Types of Fire Dampers

Although all fire dampers’ overall function is ultimately the same, how they operate sets them apart.

There are three main types of fire dampers:

  • Static fire dampers
  • Dynamic fire dampers
  • Combination dampers


Static Fire Dampers

A static fire damper works much like a curtain. These HVAC dampers are designed to stop airflow as soon as fire is detected. When your building’s fire system detects a fire, it triggers your HVAC system to shut off immediately. Once your HVAC system shuts down, the internal fan stops, causing the static fire damper to close from lack of air pressure. This shut off prevents air and flames from passing through the HVAC system ducts.


Dynamic Fire Dampers

Dynamic fire dampers are spring-loaded. This design allows them to close – blocking flames and airflow from spreading throughout the building. The dynamic damper differs from the static damper because it is installed in HVAC units that do not have an automatic shut off built-in. This allows air to continue circulating within the HVAC system. However, once the dynamic fire damper detects extreme heat, its built-in fan activates and forces the spring-loaded system to close.


Combination Dampers

Combination HVAC dampers combine functions into a single unit. The combination of smoke and fire damper detects extreme heat and automatically closes. Combination dampers possess their own smoke detection systems, triggering the damper to close. A combination damper operates independently from the HVAC system, similar to the dynamic fire dampers.


How Do Smoke Dampers Work?

The first sign of fire danger is typically the sight or smell of smoke. Smoke poses one of the most considerable risks in terms of occupants’ safety and damage to your home or building. Smoke dampers work to slow the spread of smoke throughout a space in the event of a fire.

At the onset of smoke detection, smoke dampers trigger the fire prevention system within the building. The smoke detection system senses smoke and sends a signal to the smoke dampers to close immediately. Upon closure, the smoke dampers prevent air from circulating throughout your home or office building and trap smoke. Similar to fire dampers and barriers, smoke dampers are installed at the intersection of smoke barriers.


What is a Backdraft Damper?

A backdraft damper is an essential part of your ventilation system that helps ensure the unit works properly. A backdraft damper helps regulate airflow throughout all areas, providing your space with clean, healthy air. Backdraft dampers move contaminated air out and prevent it from recycling back inside.

Backdraft dampers help eliminate unwanted odors and stale air that may linger throughout your space. Backdraft dampers also eliminate harmful fumes and vapors to protect workers in potentially harmful workspaces.

They also prevent cold backdrafts and rid unwelcome warm air from various heating sources.


Corridor Smoke/Fire Damper Combos

A corridor smoke/fire damper helps prevent the possible spread of smoke and fire throughout the ductwork within your floors and walls. This combination damper helps contain the smoke and fire within the ducts when necessary, adding extra, necessary protection to your home or office space.


Maintenance of Fire and Smoke Dampers

Fire and smoke dampers are a vital and mandatory part of the NFPA’s standards and codes. Routine inspections of your passive fire protection system must also occur yearly. Proper and consistent maintenance of your HVAC dampers is imperative in preventing loss of life and damage to your property should a fire erupt. 


Selecting an HVAC Manufacturer

At Lloyd Industries, we believe in providing our potential clients with the tools they need to select a manufacturer that meets all their needs. As with any service or product, research is the key. Finding high-quality products from trustworthy companies is vital. Here at Lloyd Industries, we want to ensure you find the right fit. Take a look through our top tips for selecting your ideal HVAC manufacturer for your needs:



While research on the internet certainly provides education and insight, there’s nothing like a referral from trusted sources. Referrals ensure that the HVAC manufacturer has performed their duties to others’ satisfaction in their industry and go a long way.


Select an Established HVAC Manufacturer

Selecting an HVAC manufacturer with a long history is a smart choice. An established HVAC manufacturer will undoubtedly have processes and procedures in place for both large and small projects, meeting all your HVAC needs and expectations.

You should find the manufacturer to be knowledgeable in all areas, including:

  • Products and services
  • Order taking
  • Manufacturing
  • Delivery
  • Installation



Refrain from choosing companies that boast deep cost cuts. HVAC equipment that is poorly made and installed will prove problematic – even life-threatening- in the long run. While expenses are certainly on everyone’s list, it should not be a top-selling point.


Lloyd Industries: Superior HVAC Manufacturer

Lloyd Industries is an established HVAC manufacturer providing high-quality HVAC equipment around the world. Lloyd Industries offers manufacturing facilities and a network of representatives strategically placed to help you with all your HVAC equipment needs.

At Lloyd Industries, your safety is a priority. We work closely with our network of HVAC and fire safety professionals to assist you with the HVAC damper products, maintenance, and installation needs you require.

Our team at Lloyd Industries prides itself on our dedication to assisting our customers from start to finish. We ensure customer satisfaction in each of our Lloyd Industries products, delivery, quality, and price. Contact our reps today.

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