If your home has notorious cold areas during the winter or miserable hot spots in the summer, even when your heating and cooling system is working perfectly, the culprit is most likely your duct work. Even though some areas of your home are in the Goldilocks zone, others can suffer from a lack of properly circulated cooled or heated air from your heating and cooling system. The issue is usually exacerbated in older buildings with duct work that wasn’t designed for handling modern HVAC systems.
Bends, right-angle turns and long lengths of duct work all conspire to limit air flow. Booster fans are add-on units that aid in circulating air throughout the duct system. While an inline duct or register-booster fan will not make up for fundamental design defects, a booster fan can increase airflow, increasing the amount of both warm and cold air that ultimately makes its way to a room.
First Things First
The first thing that needs to be done is an inspection to locate any problems that could be causing or contributing to low airflow and cooling or heating efficiency problems. These include areas that have loose or missing duct tape, dirty filters or obstructions in air returns.
Types of Duct Booster Fans
Register booster fans are the easiest to install, as well as the most economical. These “plug-n-play” style fans quickly replace the existing wall, floor or ceiling register, mount flush against the surface and plug into any 110 volt electrical wall outlet. Some of these types of booster fans feature a multi-speed fan with a thermostat or an internal fan that switches on and off as the HVAC system does. Prices for these units can range from $30 to $100 per unit, with the more expensive ones having remote control and or digital thermostats.
Inline duct-booster fans are cylindrical and replace an existing section of duct work. This means the HVAC system duct work must be accessible enough to be reached and worked on. Though some units just plug in to a wall outlet, most inline booster fans are hardwired to the electrical circuits and will require a relay back to the HVAC system be installed to let the fan know when to come on. Inline duct booster fans are typically much quieter than register fans, but will require you to know the dimensions and shape of the existing duct work, in order to select the right-size unit. Because it typically requires an electrician, an inline booster fan use usually a much greater expense.
Air Return Requirements
During the inspection process you may find you need to install a duct booster fan in the air return. In order for a HVAC system to operate efficiently the old, or stale, air from the upper floors must be moved back to the furnace to be cooled or heated and redistributed. Therefore, in large home the air-return duct may also benefit from installing a booster fan. If you need help preforming the inspection of your duct work or if you find your ducts need cleaning call Dial One Duct Professional Cleaning at (416) 896-4799.