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HVAC Basics: What is a Backdraft Damper and How Does it Work?

Plainly put, backdraft dampers are the unsung heroes of proper home ventilation. They allow for the expulsion of exhaust and odors caused by bacteria that would otherwise never dissipate, while also preventing contaminated air from re-entering the home.

FAMCO’s backdraft dampers have a 2-blade assembly and a foam seal that keeps air from coming back in, and are typically used for heat exchangers, exhaust systems, solar heating systems, and other intake or or exhaust applications where a powered damper is not needed. 

Backdraft dampers are at the backbone of any highly effective HVAC system in maintaining a healthy, energy-efficient indoor environment.

Backdraft Dampers Open with Normal Air Flow and Close with Gravity

If you’ve ever been in a laundry room where the dryer’s exhaust hose becomes disconnected, then you know how fast hot air and moisture can fill up a room. Backdraft dampers, when properly installed and connected, will vent this hot air to the outside and not allow moisture to build up and damage your drywall or frame.

As the dryer pushes hot air out, the blades open and allows the hot air to escape. Once the dryer quits venting, the blades close back shut, keeping outdoor air out while also allowing for passive venting where normal air flow is present.

Both the FAMCO inline butterfly backdraft damper and butterfly backdraft damper can operate in either a horizontal or vertical position and come in a wide variety of sizes, which can easily accommodate most ventilation systems.

How Backdraft Dampers Work with Heat Exchangers and Solar Heating Systems

The use of a solar heating system is a great way to reduce your energy costs while warming your home. Outside air is collected in the window-sized collection box, heated by the attached solar panel, and released into the home. When the sun is not out, indoor air is prevented from escaping through the collection box through the use of a backdraft damper, keeping warm air in the room.

Also, dampers are useful for protecting the energy exchanger in heat exchanger systems. In the event of the heat exchanger approaching the freezing point, most of the outside air bypasses the energy exchanger while maintaining the same level of hot air exhaust, raising its internal temperature.

Instead of running up a huge electrical bill with outdated heaters, these systems are low maintenance and made entirely possible through the effective use of backdraft dampers.

FAMCO Can Help You Find the Perfect Backdraft Damper for Your HVAC System

Skimping on backdraft dampers can not only be costly, but detrimental to your health as your indoor environment becomes contaminated through standard use. FAMCO has a wide selection of backdraft dampers in many different sizes and materials. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding backdraft dampers. We’ll be more than happy to help.

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