"I hate wingnuts." That was what Vic Petrossian said he was thinking 10 years ago when he owned and operated an HVAC construction ductwork fabrication firm. 

“Our duct and fittings screamed quality and we wanted our clients to notice that,” he said. “But we kept using these cheap-looking wingnut dampers. I hated that. I hated how they looked to our clients.” 

And there were other problems.

“Due to airflow vibrations, the wingnuts can easily vibrate loose over time,” he said. “And just like that, the building’s air balance can be thrown off.” 
Raul Gomez, a senior mechanical engineer at AHA Consulting Engineers in Arlington, Virginia, recalled similar frustrations.

“Wingnuts have no practical and lasting way of marking or holding the damper position. If they vibrate loose over time, it is difficult to set the balance back to the way it was before,” he said. “And they often end up beneath the insulation, which then has to be peeled back just to find the wingnuts controlling the damper handle.”

Wingnuts could pose some more unexpected problems as well. Just ask Gary Gifford of spiral duct company Spinfinity, based in Algona, Washington. 


“Showing our products with ‘wingnut dampers’ would cause problems for us at AHR shows as people would sneak up and tighten the wingnuts down and leave laughing as we tried to loosen the damper to show to a potential new customer,” Gifford said.

Petrossian said wingnut dampers have not changed in 100 years. That’s why he invented the Everlock damper handle, which he said is the first positive-locking damper handle on the market. With notches along a metallic arch, the handle slips into position and positively locks where you set it. No more wingnuts. It can never vibrate loose. The balance you set stays that way forever. Until you decide to change it again. The Everlock damper handle debuted at the 2008 AHR show in New York. 

A novel idea

Spinfinity was among the first ductwork fabrication companies to replace their wingnut dampers with the Everlock. 

“Spinfinity is always looking for new and better ways to offer our customers the best products at a competitive price,” Gifford said. “So we were excited to see the original Everlock in 2008. With the elimination of wingnuts, it meant the damper handle could never vibrate loose and lose its position and throw off a balanced system ... The positive-locking feature ensured the air balance stayed that way. Plus, no one messed with wingnuts at our AHR booth anymore.”

And this year, Petrossian said Rossi will debut the new Everlock handle at the 2016 AHR Expo in Orlando, Florida. 

“We’ve incorporated great insights from dear industry friends into our latest design and we can’t wait to share the newest Everlock with everyone at AHR 2016,” he said. 

This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of SNIPS magazine. This article and its images were supplied by Rossi HVAC Hardware.