Do vent booster fans really help?

Answered by Brett ~ March 5, 2011 ~ Comments

I have very little air flow coming out of my upstairs vents in several rooms at the end of the run. A/C & Heat unit only a couple years old.

Walt M. ~ Richmond, Virginia

Brett Kulina

Walt, one possible solution for your problem might be to install an in-line booster fan within your home's HVAC duct system. When installed and sized correctly, these vent fans can help increase the air flow within a home's duct system, which helps more air to reach those rooms that are located at the end of long run of ducting. Although these in-line fans are not very expensive, before you spend the time and the money to install one in your home, you should first check your home's furnace to see if there is a fan speed control, which could increase the speed at which the primary fan operates. Some air handlers and furnaces have internal fans that can operate at multiple speeds, although they must be manually switched to the higher speed. If your furnace's fan is operating at its maximum speed, but still is not delivering adequate air through the duct system, then perhaps your HVAC system was undersized for your house?

Another reason why your home's HVAC system might not be performing as expected is that the system may not have been balanced and tested after its initial installation. After commissioning a new system, HVAC contractors will usually check the air flow at each vent to insure adequate flow. They can then adjust mechanical dampers within the duct work to increase, or decrease, the air flow coming out of the supply vent. Although most HVAC systems are designed to function properly, keep in mind that it can take a while to get the system dialed in and working at its optimum efficiency.

You may want to consult the HVAC contractor who originally installed your home's system, having them measure the airflow coming from the vents in your troubled rooms. If the problem can not be solved by adjusting the dampers within the duct work, then your next best option is to consider installing an in-line booster fan. Good luck with it, and I hope you get the problem solved!

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