When should you use an industrial damper over a standard damper? This article delves into industrial dampers, what they do, and what to consider when selecting one.
Industrial Dampers vs. Standard Dampers
Industrial dampers are built for heavy duty HVAC applications. As the name implies, industrial dampers are generally used in industrial settings like factories or power plants.
But when should you choose industrial over a standard damper? When do conditions warrant using an industrial damper?
There are several things to consider when selecting an industrial damper. Let’s start by answering this important question: when should you choose an industrial damper over a regular control damper?
Heated Air Flow and High Ambient Temps
For all intents and purposes, an industrial damper is a heavy-duty version of a control damper. They serve many of the same purposes as standard control dampers. However, industrial dampers are specifically designed to handle massive airflow applications with high air velocity and air pressure.
These dampers can also withstand 200°F (93.33°C) or more on a regular basis. The damper's maximum temperature will vary by model. Certain industrial dampers will have a maximum temperature as high as 450°F (232.33°C), and even higher for certain models. Industrial dampers operate in areas with extremely high temperatures, such as foundries and power plants.
Industrial dampers are not rated for use in fire barriers. To learn more about UL-rated life safety dampers, consider our self-paced online course on the subject. It's free to take and offers continuing education credit from ASHRAE.
Extreme Air Pressure
For industrial applications, these dampers are expected to operate – open and close their blades – in conditions where static air pressure can reach 10 in. w.g. or more.
The maximum allowable static pressure will change based on the model used and the size of the industrial damper. As an industrial damper gets larger, its maximum static pressure will decrease.
In industrial settings, air velocities will exceed four thousand feet per minute on a regular basis.
The maximum allowable air velocity will differ from model to model. Read the damper’s submittal for its maximum air velocity and maximum air pressure. These values will be listed by size. It's important to understand the damper’s limitations before making your selection. Industrial dampers are designed to withstand these greater air velocities – more than six thousand feet per minute. Standard control dampers are not designed to operate under these conditions.
Limitations for Industrial Dampers
Industrial dampers are built from heavier materials, such as a thick gauge of galvanized steel or roll-formed steel.
They will be much heavier than standard control dampers of the same size; from eight pounds per square foot of total damper size, all the way up to 18 pounds per square foot.
You will need to consider this extra weight when choosing where to place the damper: the application must be able to support a heavier damper.
Although they can operate in elevated temperature environments, an industrial damper is not suitable for use as a fire damper. Fire dampers are specifically designed and rigorously tested to block the passage of flames through the damper’s blades, in accordance with UL test standards.
Fire dampers must withstand intense heat - exceeding 1500°F - for extended periods of time, up to 3 hours for certain models. Building codes and standards will require that each fire damper has been tested and rated to UL's standards, before it can be installed in a fire barrier.
Industrial dampers can serve many of the same purposes as standard control dampers: from industrial control dampers for controlling airflow through the system, to industrial balancing dampers for regulating air pressure in each area, or an industrial backdraft damper to prevent air from moving backwards through duct work. Industrial dampers are also available with round, square, or rectangular frames. Learn more about round dampers with "Round Dampers for Spiral Ducts".
Consider using an industrial damper for applications that require a heavy-duty airflow solution.
Industrial dampers are built for heavy-duty industrial settings. Have your projects ever called for industrial dampers? Can you think of other ways to use them? Share your thoughts on industrial dampers in the Comments section. We want to hear from you!
For more information on dampers, check out these articles on the MCDLG Newsstand:
- Five Specialty Dampers for HVAC Design
- The Condenser - A Closer Look at Blade Seals
- Understanding Your Dampers
Looking for a lighter option? Consider a standard HVAC damper built for air performance. Contact Arrow United Industries about our 517-518 steel control damper. Let's work together on your next project!
MCDLG & Continuing Education
Want to know more about UL Life Safety dampers? MCDLG offers free self-paced courses online through AEC Daily.
Our UL Damper course, Fire & Smoke Protection with Life Safety Dampers, goes over all of the basic stats, terms, principles and requirements involved in choosing UL-rated dampers for your passive fire protection system.
This course provides continuing education credits for a variety of institutions, including ASHRAE's PDUs. Learn the basics of UL dampers and earn credit, at your own pace. Visit the MCDLG course page on AECDaily.com today!
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