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Do You Need a Duct Booster Fan?

A duct booster fan does exactly as the name implies -- it gives your HVAC system a boost, increasing airflow to certain rooms. You might consider using a duct booster fan for that one room that remains stubbornly hot or cold.

In most cases, however, it would be better to address the underlying cause of poor airflow. Your HVAC system is designed to distribute air evenly throughout your home. If you have one or two rooms that are hotter or colder than the rest of the house, you likely have a problem a booster fan won’t adequately address.

Let’s take a closer look at what a duct booster fan is and whether it makes sense to use one.

What is a Duct Booster Fan?

An inline duct booster fan assists in pumping air through the ductwork in your home. It’s installed in a run of duct, usually midway between the blower and the vent serving the room. It requires professional installation.

A similar product is a register fan. It’s a small electric fan that replaces your wall or floor register. Simply plug it into a standard outlet and insert it into the air register. The fan immediately begins running whenever the HVAC system is operating.

An inline booster is more quiet, more efficient and, naturally, more expensive than a register booster fan.

Will it Solve Warm or Cold Spots?

Short answer: It depends.

Long answer: If you are considering a booster fan because of uneven heating, you’d be better off having a professional inspect your HVAC system. There are several reasons for differing temperatures in your home and a booster fan might not be the solution.

Here are some possible causes:

Your ducts are leaking: The air produced by your central air system has to travel some distance before it reaches its final destination. Unfortunately, studies have shown that as much as 30 percent of air is lost along the way through leaks.

Your ducts are poorly designed: When the majority of the ductwork is placed on one side of the house, forced air won’t reach every part of the house. Likewise, if some runs of ducts are too long, airflow will diminish before it reaches the vents.

Ducts weren’t installed properly: Poor installation can result in kinks in flexible ducts, sharp bends, improper sealing and other factors that will hinder performance.

Your HVAC system is the wrong size: An undersized furnace, heat pump or air conditioning system will not distribute enough air throughout your home. Likewise, a system that is too large will heat or cool your home too quickly, leaving hot and cold spots.

Dirty air filter: A clogged filter will restrict airflow and strain your HVAC equipment. Be sure to replace it every 30 to 90 days.

A duct booster fan isn’t going to help in most of these scenarios. Hire an HVAC pro to diagnose the real reason for uneven temperatures. Solving this problem will improve your comfort and trim your energy bills in the long run.

When a Duct Booster Fan Makes Sense

There are occasions when a duct booster fan could be the right approach. If an upstairs room remains stuffy or cold, a booster fan might be the solution if you have a run of ductwork that’s too long, but your HVAC system is in good shape otherwise. Again, only an experienced HVAC technician will be able to make that determination.

Morrison Heating and Cooling is a second-generation, family-owned business. We offer complete HVAC solutions throughout the Portland area. Your heating and cooling system should be a source of comfort, not frustration. If your HVAC system isn’t meeting your needs, call us at (503) 683-7077 and we’ll be happy to inspect it.
 

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