How To Balance HVAC System
There are several options for increasing the efficiency of your HVAC system and ensuring that the air distribution system functions appropriately. As with any problem, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and different solutions may work for different people. Learn how to balance an HVAC system today!
Contractors only engineer a track home once, ignoring factors such as exposure location. One house may face east, while another across the street faces north. The builder does not decrease or increase the ducting to account for this type of exposure, resulting in a higher (or lower) heat load on a specific space. Here are a few options for resolving your air balancing issues.
You can balance airflow at the register mounted control damper.
When a customer calls to say that some home areas are hotter or colder than the rest of the house in the winter or summer, diagnostics begin by looking at the air distribution system. If the temperature split between the return and supply air is acceptable (18-24 degrees), we’ll move on to the ductwork and how one installed it.
We can resolve some issues by simply relocating the problematic ductwork to a different location on the plenum box. If this isn’t an option, we usually recommend that the customer use the register-mounted dampers to balance the system themselves. There will be a small tab that you can adjust to control the airflow on all of your home’s registers.
You should never wholly close a register because it will reduce the efficiency of your equipment and, if closed too much, the register will become noisy as air is forced through a restricted area. The issue with this is that you have no control over where the air you’ve blocked will go. If it’s part of a branch that feeds two or three rooms, those other rooms will likely get some of the airflows, but how much depends on factors beyond our control in most homes. This technique is usually only a viable solution for a room with excessive airflow, but it does not solve any other issues.
You can install balancing dampers at each air supply drop outlet.
This technique may be the best solution, but it is not always practical. Before each supply air drop reaches the register, we’d install manual control dampers. This system can precisely control the amount of air delivered to each room, ensuring that your entire home is in perfect balance. This system is standard in commercial settings but rarely seen in private residences.
If you live in a single-story home with ductwork access, this is an excellent option for you. This is not a good solution for multi-story buildings with no access to the ductwork on the lower floors. You’d have to open up sheetrock to install dampers in the lower floor ductwork, then create extensions or access doors mounted to your ceiling to control the dampers after one replaced the sheetrock. If you don’t have access to ductwork, the costs can quickly escalate, making this solution prohibitively expensive.
You can install booster fans.
If balancing dampers are not an option for a room that isn’t getting enough air, you can install a booster fan in the duct, supplying that room to force more air down the line. If you only need to add air to a specific room, this solution will suffice.
One possible drawback is that you can’t precisely control how much air is added. Different fans move different amounts of CFM, but they are typically on/off with no multiple speeds. You’ll also need to provide the fan with its power and then connect it to the air handler or furnace blower motor with a relay so that it only runs when the air handler or furnace blower motor is turned on.
You can install zoning controls and a zoning system.
This is a good solution in addition to manual control dampers, but it is the most expensive option. We would install manual dampers to each supply run, assuming we have access to all of the duct runs. Zoning dampers are used to control the amount of time that airflow runs in specific rooms or groups of rooms.
The other thermostats required to control the various zoning dampers are installed in the areas they serve and are connected to the zone control board. The dampers will open or close during a call for cooling or heating, depending on whether or not a specific zoned area is calling for comfort cooling.
Even though the same piece of equipment serves both areas, this system allows you to keep one part of the house at one specific temperature and the other at a different temperature. This system necessitates balancing dampers, zone control dampers, a zone control board, a bypass damper set to maintain a specific static pressure, and low voltage wiring to connect everything.
We understand how important it is that your home is comfortable and efficient. Call us today at Coastal Climate Experts at (321) 797-0422 to find out how we can work with you to maintain your HVAC system and ask about the rest of our HVAC services. Contact us if you need to balance your HVAC system!