With so many damper options on the market, choosing the right one can be tricky for the uninitiated contractor. Luckily, Greenheck, a leading manufacturer of a variety of dampers, gave us access to Marty Gissel to explain a few basic principles to choosing the right damper for the job.

Dampers are dictated by building code

"In most jurisdictions that’s the IBC (the International Building Code). The type of damper is dictated by the building code. The IBC dictates the type of required life-safety damper based on the building type (health care, education, office building, etc), the construction type, number of floors, the area of each floor, and other factors."

Apply combination dampers as needed 

"All fire dampers and combination fire smoke dampers are applied to protect duct or air transfer openings thru fire rated building elements (i.e. fire barriers, fire partitions, shaft walls, corridor walls, etc)."

Get the right contractor for the right damper 

"Balancing dampers are used to regulate the airflow to a target level. Their position is set by a balancing contractor at the time the building is commissioned and then left in that position."

Understand their purpose 

"Control dampers are used to regulate airflows through an HVAC system. Some control dampers are used to either allow all of the system airflow through the damper or none of it. These are called 2-position control dampers. Others modulate their blades between fully open and fully closed to regulate airflow or pressure to a target level. These are called modulating control dampers."