You may already have heard about duct booster fans, also known simply as booster fans. They’re meant to bolster air ducts with low airflow, but do they really work? In this blog, central heating services contractor Reliable AC & Heat takes a look at booster fans and whether or not they’re worth the additional expense.
What Are Duct Booster Fans?
Heated and cooled air is distributed throughout the house through a network of ducts using forced air to create air movement. The vents closest to the heater or air conditioner blow an abundance of air, while those that are the furthest away blow the least.
Duct booster fans are intended to boost airflow. There are two types of duct booster fans:
Inline Booster Fans — This type of booster fan is installed within the ducts, usually near the vents that are the furthest away from the HVAC unit. Segments of the duct work may need to be removed to fit inline booster fans, and installation will require an electrician to take care of the wiring.
Register Fans —Register fans are installed at the vent in each room, and are a more cost-effective option when only one or two rooms are affected by airflow problems.
Do Duct Booster Fans Work?
A properly-designed HVAC system—which includes the vents and ductwork—should provide sufficient heating and cooling throughout the house, regardless of distance from the heating and cooling systems. While duct booster fans do boost airflow in specific areas, they don’t solve the underlying problem.
There are many reasons why a home could have uneven heating and cooling, including the following:
Clogged Air Filters — Clogged filters are one of the most common causes of insufficient airflow. Air filters usually require replacement every three months, but may need to be cleaned or changed as often as every month during periods of heavy use.
Blocked Vents — Remember that furniture placement matters. Furniture can inadvertently be placed in positions that block the vents in certain rooms, preventing proper air circulation.
Malfunctioning Dampers — Dampers are mechanical fins that control the amount of airflow within the ducts. You can, for example, adjust them to restrict airflow in a particular room if it’s not being used. Dampers can also malfunction and get stuck in a closed position, thus blocking airflow.
Leaky Ducts — Metal ducts have seams and joints that may spring leaks if not properly maintained.
In nearly every case, addressing these issues creates a more permanent solution and eliminates the need to install duct booster fans
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