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How to Diagnose Manual and Automatic Zone Damper Issues With Your AC System


Are you having trouble regulating temperature within your home? Chances are, the larger your house is, the harder it will be to regulate the temperature inside it to keep everyone comfortable and happy. These issues can result in areas that are too hot in the summertime and too drafty and cold in the wintertime. As you are attempting to find an even balance, you will end up dueling with your thermostat to keep problem areas and the rest of your home balanced. There is something you can do, however, which is to consider getting a zone damper system.

What is a Zone Damper System?

A zone damper system is simply installing motorized doors to restrict airflow in specific rooms within your house. If you have a bad HVAC damper, you can no longer achieve proper airflow through the ductwork. This results in too much or too little airflow through the duct and improper temperature regulation within your home.

Manual Zone Dampers vs. Automatic Zone Dampers

Certain HVAC units are equipped with manual zone dampers for regulating the amount of air conditioning or heat being delivered in a room. A zone control system like this uses levers, which are located outside of the air vents, to regulate it. The manual zone dampers are easy to operate and maintain, as they do not tend to break easily and are pretty straightforward to use.

Yet, if you’re looking for precision control and would prefer to have your cooled or heated air automatically regulated, you should consider automatic zone dampers. These are controlled by thermostats and are situated inside your home’s air ducts. Automatic Zone Dampers improve the air balancing of your A/C system.

Common Zoning Problems

When zoning problems come to mind, most people immediately think of air noise or over conditioning, however, there can be several variables that could create problems. These types of issues can range from minor problems like tripped high limits and frozen coils, to larger and more expensive repairs, such as cracked heat exchangersfailed ECM motors, and compressors that are scrambled.

How to Diagnose Zone Damper Issues

  1. Establish whether your HVAC damper is an automatic or manual control damper. There will be an adjustment handle on the ductwork for manual dampers and a control motor for automatic dampers.
  2. Follow your ductwork to figure out which registers the damper fits with, and check the registers airflow when your system is running.
  3. If it is manual, put the damper handle in a closed position and check to see if the airflow has stopped in the registers. Put the damper into an open position and check the registers once again to see if the airflow starts. If the damper is closed and you are feeling low airflow, or none at all, it is most likely a bad damper.
  4. For the automatic control damper, turn your HVAC system on. Check for airflow in the registers. If there is a small amount of airflow and your room is not maintaining temperature, or if there is a lot of airflow and your room feels drafty, this could indicate a faulty HVAC damper.

Still stuck? MightyServ can help you troubleshoot your zone damper system. We diagnose, service, and repair heating and air conditioning zone damper systems in West Los Angeles, Calabasas, West Hills, Woodland Hills, Burbank, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Northridge, Reseda, San Fernando, and other surrounding areas

MightyServ Heating and Air is one of the few contractors in the Brentwood area that participates in the Home Performance Program by ENERGY STAR, which supports a comprehensive, holistic approach to improving energy efficiency and comfort at home, while at the same time protecting the environment. Visit our page on performance evaluations to learn more.


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