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How do I adjust the dampers in my home?



The seasons are changing, meaning so should your damper settings. If your top floors feel too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer, an improper setting on your damper could be to blame. 

A damper controls the airflow throughout the house, so it impacts the supply of conditioned air throughout your home. To locate them, first, you visit your mechanical closet where the air handler for your furnace and AC coil reside. The best way to find them is to look for the ductwork coming out of the top of your furnace. There will be two separate stems, one controls the lower and middle level of your home and the other controls only the third level. Take a close look at each damper lever and its location. If the lever is parallel with the duct, that means it is open. If the lever is perpendicular, then the damper is closed. 

In the winter, all your hot air naturally rises when it comes out of the furnace, so it automatically flows to the third floor. While running heat, by adjusting your dampers, you can either reduce airflow to the third floor or completely shut it off, thereby forcing the air to lower levels and allowing it to naturally rise and warm the entire house.

In the summer, you will want to reverse that process. Entirely open the third floor damper, encouraging cold air to rise to that area, though you may also have to reduce that airflow with the other damper. Take note, at times the handles can loosen. There is a wing nut on those handles; loose handles can throw off the adjustment angle of the damper. If the handle feels like it is loose and not actually making any progress while turning, give us a call. And remember, just because you change the hand dampers controlling each individual level and the overall airflow, individual rooms are not necessarily affected. If the damper adjustments do not accomplish what you are trying to achieve,  we suggest adjusting the air vents in each room—located either in the ceiling or on the floor—to find the right balance for you and your family.