Back-Draft Dampers at Shared Common Exhaust Duct

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Building Science-to-Sales Translator

Proper Duct Installation =
Professionally-Installed Comfort Delivery Ducts

Technical Description: 

Conditioned air is often lost in transition from comfort equipment to living spaces because of poorly designed duct layouts and poor installation practices, which cause homeowners to pay for conditioned air that never reaches the living spaces of their home. Poor duct layouts with overly long duct runs, numerous branches, and sharp bends, and poor installation with sagging, twisted, or crushed ducts, can severely limit air flow, reducing system performance and increasing energy costs. Professionally installed comfort delivery systems should be installed with compact duct layouts featuring short, straight duct runs with properly supported ducts, in accordance with industry standards. The ducts should be properly insulated, completely air sealed, and free from kinks and sharp bends that restrict air flow.

Alternate Terms

Optimum-Flow Comfort Delivery Duct Installation
Energy Saving Comfort Delivery Duct Installation
Professionally-Installed Comfort Delivery Ducts
Sales Message
Professionally-installed comfort delivery ducts help ensure that heating and cooling can flow optimally to each room. This means less wasted energy along with enhanced room-by-room comfort. Wouldn’t you agree it’s important that your comfort delivery system is installed to deliver optimum performance?

Climate

No climate specific information applies.

Description

Exhaust fans should always be ducted to a location outside the home (See Kitchen Exhaust and Bathroom Exhaust). Ideally, each exhaust fan should have its own individual duct to the outside. However, builders sometimes prefer to connect the exhaust fans to a common exhaust duct, for reasons of layout or a wish to minimize penetrations through the roof. A common exhaust duct can be used if each fan has a back-draft damper to prevent cross-contamination when the fan is not running. In very humid climates, HVAC installers will sometimes also install a motorized damper in the duct closer to the roof outlet to prevent moist air from drifting in when the fan is off and condensing on fan parts or grille or entering the room.

How to Install Back-Draft Dampers in Exhaust Fans to Make a Shared Duct Possible

  1. 1. Install back-draft dampers where the exhaust duct meets the exhaust fan in each fan unit.  The dampers should open when the fan is actively exhausting and should shut when the fan is off. When the exhaust fan is operating, the back-draft damper is pushed open by airflow to allow air to exit through the exhaust duct.

    The back-draft damper on this exhaust fan is closed to prevent cross contamination

    Figure 1 - The back-draft damper on this exhaust fan is closed to prevent cross contamination.  Reference

    The back-draft damper on this exhaust fan is open when the exhaust fan is operating

    Figure 2 - The back-draft damper on this exhaust fan is open when the exhaust fan is operating.  Reference

  2. Remember to remove any packing tape used to hold the dampers closed during shipping.

    The back-draft damper opens when the fan is actively exhausting and closes when the fan is off.

    Figure 3 - The back-draft damper opens when the fan is actively exhausting and closes when the fan is off.  Reference

Ensuring Success

In homes with multiple exhaust fans, the HERS rater will inspect the ventilation system exhaust ducts to ensure that one of the following is true: 1) each unit has its own exhaust duct that is individually ducted to the outside, or 2) if the units share a common exhaust duct, each fan has a back-draft damper to prevent cross-contamination when the fan is not running.

Separate exhaust fans can share a common exhaust if each exhaust fan is equipped with a back-draft damper to prevent cross contamination

Figure 1 - Separate exhaust fans can share a common exhaust if each exhaust fan is equipped with a back-draft damper to prevent cross contamination.  REF Icon

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Scope

If fans share common exhaust duct, back-draft dampers installed

Local Mechanical Exhaust

 

If fans share common exhaust duct, back-draft dampers installed.

  1. Install back-draft dampers on all fans sharing a common exhaust duct.
  2. Remove all packing tape from back-draft dampers.

Training

Right and Wrong Images

Presentations

None Available

Videos

  1. Backdraft Dampers
    Publication Date: July, 2015
    Courtesy Of: Tamarak

    Video describing backdraft dampers.

CAD Images

None Available

Compliance

ENERGY STAR Version 3, (Rev. 07)

HVAC System Quality Checklist, Local Mechanical Exhaust. If fans share common exhaust duct, back-draft dampers installed.

DOE Zero Energy Ready Home

Exhibit 1: Mandatory Requirements. Certified under ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes Version 3.

2009 IECC

This topic is not specifically addressed in the 2009 IECC.

2009 IRC

This topic is not specifically addressed in the 2009 IRC.

2012 IECC

This topic is not specifically addressed in the 2012 IECC. 

2012 IRC

This topic is not specifically addressed in the 2012 IRC.

More Info.

Case Studies

None Available

References and Resources*

  1. Author(s): DOE
    Organization(s): DOE
    Publication Date: April, 2014

    Standard requirements for DOE's Zero Energy Ready Home national program certification.

  2. Author(s): EPA
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: June, 2013

    Standard document containing the rater checklists and national program requirements for ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, Version 3 (Rev. 7).

Last Updated: 08/15/2013

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