Installing a duct booster fan in your home can make a world of difference when it comes to increasing the effectiveness of your HVAC system. But how much do you know about these fans? To make an informed decision, you’ll need to arm yourself with the facts about duct booster fans, including what they are, what they do, how you can determine whether or not you actually need one, and do these fans really work.
You may need a duct booster fan to solve the problem of insufficient airflow in rooms located away from the HVAC unit. The effectiveness of the booster fans depends upon the condition of the ductwork system. However, these are worth using if the basic causes of uneven heating and cooling are properly addressed before installation.
Use this guide to determine if duct booster fans are right for you.
Table of Contents
What is a duct booster fan?
A duct booster fan is a small fan that can be installed in the ductwork of the HVAC system to help move air through your ductwork. If you have a home with forced-air heating and cooling, and you’re not getting enough airflow from your vents, a duct booster fan can help. However, it needs an electricity supply to operate.
You can choose any of the two types of duct booster fans according to your specific needs:
Inline duct booster fans
These fans are installed in the ducts and work best near vents far away from the HVAC unit. You may need to cut the ductwork to install an inline booster fan. It provides a mechanical air pull near the vent that has insufficient airflow. Inline booster fans are more expensive, but they are also more effective. You will have to hire an electrician to install the fan and take care of the wiring.
Register duct booster fans
These fans are installed at individual vents and are used to boost airflow to that single vent. Using these duct booster fans is better when you have airflow issues in only one or two rooms as they will be more cost-effective. Register booster fans are less expensive, but they have limited power making them less effective in large spaces.
How does a duct booster fan work?
A duct booster fan is designed to increase the airflow in a duct system. It uses a powerful motor to draw air through the duct and into the room. The fan blades mechanically pull hot or cold air from the ductwork and blow it into the room without enough conditioned air. As a result, it helps the room reach a comfortable temperature efficiently and quickly, which was not previously possible.
Why do you need the duct booster fan?
A duct booster fan placed in the ducting system of your air conditioning or heating unit can help circulate the air through the entire area being cooled or heated. In addition, you may want to use a duct booster fan for various benefits associated with their use as follows:
Helps solve uneven heat and cooling issues
Uneven heating and cooling in different room parts is often caused by a problem with your HVAC system’s ductwork. For example, the ducts may be too small, preventing enough air from flowing through them. Or, leaks in the ductwork may allow conditioned air to escape before it reaches its destination. A duct booster fan can help solve these problems by increasing the airflow through your ducts if there aren’t any major underlying issues with the duct system.
Increases efficiency of older ductwork
Modern HVAC units will not work as efficiently with old ductwork, so it’s not wise to swap an old HVAC unit with a new one to get better airflow. However, a duct booster fan can help boost airflow and improve your home’s heating and cooling efficiency if you have an older home with less-than-ideal ductwork. Duct booster fans are also a great way to improve indoor air quality by helping to circulate fresh air throughout your home.
Improves air circulation in larger properties
You know that good airflow is essential if you manage a larger property. But sometimes, your HVAC system just can’t keep up. The extensive spread of ductwork results in more hot or cold air loss; that’s where duct booster fans come in. These fans help pull more air past a network of bends and divisions quickly and efficiently. Better air circulation in the ductwork helps keep the HVAC system working properly.
Easy installation and maintenance
Duct booster fans are easy to install and require very little maintenance. In most cases, all you need to do is clean the filter regularly. Additionally, they are designed to work with your existing ductwork, so there is no need for extensive re-wiring or other modifications.
Duct booster fans are one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system. Pushing air through the ducts can help to even out the pressure and improve airflow. It can lead to reduced energy costs and improved comfort levels in your home.
Do duct booster fans really work?
For an older air conditioning unit, it might not be as powerful as you’d like it to be. As a result, it can lead to uncomfortable temperatures in your home during summer and slower heat distribution during winter.
Many assume that a duct booster fan will always enhance the performance of the HVAC system. However, this device can do more harm than good without proper knowledge and installation. Here’s what you need to know about situations when a duct booster fan will work and when it will not work as efficiently:
When is a Duct Booster Fan the Right Solution
Usually, installing a duct booster fan is an excellent option in the following situations:
A Poorly Sized HVAC System
A small HVAC system installed in a large home will have to work overtime to keep up. It can cause premature wear and tear and increased energy bills. Replacing a small-sized HVAC system might be too costly, so it’s not always a good option. A duct booster fan can help improve airflow at a fraction of the cost and make your HVAC system more efficient.
Uneven sunlight reception
If some rooms of your home get more sunlight, they will be hotter than the other rooms of the house. It will eventually affect the performance of HVAC in those rooms. By placing the duct booster fan near the end of the duct run, you can boost the airflow to the rooms that need it most. Also, it is an affordable and effective option to keep your home’s temperature at the same level.
An Unusual Orientation
If your home has an unusual orientation, meaning the layout isn’t traditional, a duct booster fan can be a great way to improve airflow. The booster fans can be placed strategically to help push air where it’s needed most.
Rooms located far from the HVAC unit
Have you noticed a considerable difference in temperatures in various rooms? If you have a room far away from your HVAC system and is colder or warmer than the other rooms, your HVAC system may not be properly circulating air. It can be frustrating and may cause you to raise or lower the temperature on your thermostat, which wastes energy and money. A duct booster fan can help improve circulation so that every room in your home is comfortable.
Poorly designed or poorly installed ductwork
The HVAC ductwork must be spread throughout the house for effective working. If your ductwork isn’t properly designed to reach all over your home or if it’s placed on one side of the house, there will be an uneven air distribution making some areas hotter or colder than the rest. Installing a duct booster fan is often recommended to improve airflow in homes with poor ductwork.
When a duct booster fan will not work
Although these fans are designed to help pull air through the ductwork, there are certain situations in which they simply won’t work properly or at all. Also, duct booster fans are a temporary solution in many cases, and you will have to eventually find the cause of the poor airflow and a long-term solution.
Here are a few situations where duct booster fans will not work as expected:
Air leakage from ductwork
Unfortunately, over time this ductwork can develop leaks. Air can leak from ducts due to poorly fitted joints, tears in ductwork, or peeled-off tape from joints connection. These leaks can cause a decrease in airflow, leading to a decline in the efficiency of your HVAC system. In some cases, a duct booster fan can help to increase the airflow and improve the efficiency of your system. However, there are also times when a duct booster fan will not work.
Blockage in ductwork
A duct booster fan might not work if there is a blockage in the ductwork. It can happen if the ducts are not properly sealed or if there is debris build-up inside the ducts. If the blockage is massive, it can prevent air from flowing through the ducts and cause the booster fan to be ineffective. Ensure that the ductwork is clear from any blockage before installing a duct booster fan.
If any room is not getting any airflow, one potential reason could be that the damper is misaligned. The damper is a metal flap that opens and closes to allow air to flow through the ductwork. You can use a damper to cut off airflow to unused rooms. However, sometimes it can get stuck in a closed position and restrict the airflow. Always check the damper’s status before getting a duct booster fan, as it will be no use if the damper is blocking the airflow.
Dirty air filter
Dirty air filters can put a lot of pressure on the HVAC system and still not get good air circulation. It can damage and shorten the HVAC system’s lifespan. If you install a duct booster fan on a dirty filter, it will not do its job properly. Plus, it will cause the fan to overheat, damaging the motor. Therefore, check your air filter regularly and clean or replace it as needed.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some FAQs to help you know more details about duct booster fans:
Inline or register duct booster fan: Which is better?
Both types of booster fans have their pros and cons. Choosing between the two will depend on why you need to install a booster fan and what kind of ductwork you have. Inline booster fans are normally used in commercial spaces with more complex ductwork systems, while register booster fans are more suitable for small spaces or homes. Moreover, inline booster fans are more expensive, but one fan can serve several rooms, while a register booster fan is less costly but can solve only one room’s airflow problems.
How much does a duct booster fan cost?
Depending on the model and brand, one register booster fan can cost between $30 to $80. If you plan to hire a professional for installation, it will add more to the initial cost. On the other hand, an inline booster fan can cost up to $200. Again, it will require a professional installation that will cost you more than the professional installation of a register fan.
How much electricity do booster fans use?
Register fans don’t use too much electricity to operate. Most models use about 15 Watts of electricity at high speed. In comparison, inline booster fans can use around 100 Watts.
In short, a duct booster fan can improve the airflow in your home, making it more comfortable and energy-efficient. If certain rooms in your house are not getting enough air, or if your HVAC system is struggling to heat or cool your home, a duct booster fan may be the right solution. Of course, they’re not a cure-all for poor airflow, but they can be a helpful addition to your HVAC system. Consult an HVAC professional if you’re unsure if a duct booster fan is right for you.