Are Manual Dampers Allowed by Code?

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We’d like to interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to make an announcement to all building engineers and contractors! If you have been wondering if manual dampers are approved for your mechanical draft applications, we are here to tell you that they are 100% compliant when used properly. And not only are they allowable according to current building codes— they are one of the most effective mechanisms for draft control in mechanical draft applications with multiple boilers.

When boilers operate, they rely on drafts to push combustion gases out of internal chambers so that they are vented to the outside. The regulation of drafts is critical to boiler performance; too little draft can cause overheating of combustion chambers, carbon monoxide leaks, and other dangerous equipment malfunctions. Too much draft can be costly– inefficient heating can lead to increased operating costs, and equipment lifespan is significantly reduced.

A mechanical draft is created by blowers and fans as opposed to environmental elements, commonly referred to as natural draft. Dampers are used to regulate mechanical draft and keep a heating system running safely and optimally. With a multiple boiler system, manual dampers are an ideal choice because they can be adjusted at each boiler and are therefore great for keeping the draft constant throughout a stack. With no manual dampers in place, it is actually very difficult to maintain consistency because the draft drops off the further you move away from a chimney stack. They are also great for adjusting airflow when external conditions affect draft. Therefore, as long as manual dampers are utilized properly they are completely acceptable and suitable for mechanical draft applications.

We are excited to put decades of misinterpretation and myth to rest amidst changing building codes and product confusion. UEP carries an extensive line of ENERVEX dampers for your mechanical draft project– contact us today so we can guide you to the best product for your installation.