Stop Drafts with Backdraft Dampers

Some of the key components in making a building energy efficient are backdraft dampers, also known as butterfly dampers. Usually configured as an air valve, backdraft dampers open way only preventing reverse airflow in an exhaust or intake dampers in air-handling equipment. They are also commonly installed in chimneys, ducts, air handlers, and VAV boxes. When air is expelled through a dryer or a Range Hood vent, a backdraft damper ensures the doesn’t cycle to the room again by expelling it outside.

Design of Backdraft Dampers

Most backdraft dampers are designed in a butterfly configuration. They are made from aluminum, galvanized steel, or stainless steel cylinders. Inside a backdraft damper sits one or two pivoting blades that move in opposing directions. The movement of the blades is similar to that of butterfly wings, hence the name. The blades stay open as long as air is flowing between them in the right direction. When the air flow stops, or it flows from the opposite direction, the blades close up, preventing as much as 99% of incorrect air flow.

There is also the option of cylindrical sidewall hooded dampers that work in direct wind and rain. They usually come with a removable screen with a hood design that prevents restricted air flow. Due to their design, sidewall hooded dampers are an attractive choice when the air from a room needs to be expelled to the outside where the damper will constantly battle the elements.

New backdraft dampers feature a fabricated sleeve referred to as the Cape. The cape allows air to flow in the desired direction and closes the backdraft damper down when air attempts to flow in the opposite direction. Backdraft dampers with capes tend to have a larger surface area to avoid impeding airflow in the desired direction. That makes the air in modern dampers flow more freely compared to older models. Additionally, the inclusion of cape makes them quitter compared to backdraft dampers which have moving parts.

Installing a backdraft damper to supplement a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system greatly increases its energy efficiency. With backdraft dampers, HVACs are able to regulate and monitor the airflow in every room in a structure. Since backdraft dampers allow air to flow in the desired direction, they ensure that air does not enter the structure when the HVAC works to keep the structure warm. Similarly, backdraft dampers allow for the efficient expulsion of air when the HVAC is set to cool the air.
Installing backdraft dampers means that the HVAC does not work hard to regulate a structure’s atmosphere. Therefore, an HVAC system rarely uses copious amounts of energy to do its work. The result is an energy efficient HVAC system.

Installing backdraft dampers requires precision and an understanding of HVAC systems and their configuration. If you are looking to bring down the energy costs of any structure, contact a professional backdraft damper to help assess your needs and install the right dampers. With professional help, you can be sure of an energy efficient home as well as savings in your heating and cooling costs.