Air conditioning zone or manual handle dampers are mechanical doors that can be used to restrict or increase the amount of air that flows into particular areas in a house or building. These doors are operated by hand manually or by use of an automatic control lever like a thermostat. While the control lever is the handle on the outside of the air vents, the actual damper itself is a metal expandable ring or series of blades inside the air ducts that directly controls the airflow.
The lever on the outside is used to operate the damper on the inside. Generally speaking, when the control lever is parallel to the actual damper inside the duct, the airflow is at full capacity and not being restricted at all. On the other hand, if the lever is perpendicular to the damper itself, then the airflow is being completely restricted. Since you would need to make several adjustments in order to achieve the most comfortable level of airflow in each room, there are a few facts that you need to know about balancing the dampers in order to achieve the most favorable results.
Dampers are not always located in the most obvious places.
The first thing you should do when adjusting the airflow in your home or office is to locate all of the dampers. Duct dampers are often found directly on the air duct of the rooms. Zone or ductwork dampers are usually situated close to the air conditioning unit or furnace. In larger buildings, the dampers may be operated remotely and are operated by room thermostats that control the opening and closing of the metal baffle inside the ducts. Automatic zone dampers are easily identified on ductwork by the viably mounted external motor on the ducts. When it comes to older homes, the appearance, style and location of the dampers can prove to be quite challenging, as they have changed tremendously over the years. That is why it is best to inspect the vents, ducts and surrounding areas and use chalk to mark where dampers are located.
All the air flow is coming from one central source of forced air.
Keep in mind that all the air that flows throughout the home, comes from a single, central source. This is usually your main heating and cooling units. If you do not take the time to balance the airflow in each room of your home, then there will be a heating or cooling imbalance which will cause all of the rooms to receive an improper flow of air. If you notice that a room is not receiving the proper amounts of airflow, check to see how far that room is located from the central unit. If the room is one of those that is farthest from the unit, then that might be an indication that there are disconnected or crushed air ducts. If the room is nearby the unit, there may be a problem with the unit itself being able to produce a sufficient amount of air.
Heating and Cooling settings vary from one room to another.
As mentioned before, the amount of air that rooms receive are somewhat dependent upon how close they are to the unit. Because of that, rooms that are further away from the unit may require that the dampers be adjusted so that they barely restrict the airflow. In other rooms, it may be necessary to set the dampers so that they restrict most of the air coming in the because they are receiving the forced air before it can reach any of the other rooms. Do not assume that each room will achieve the same temperature with the same damper setting. Doing so not only causes your heating and cooling system to become overexerted, but it also results in unnecessarily expensive electricity bills.