Draft Control Debate: Manual Dampers, Allowed by Code?

Decades of evolving codes have led to much confusion over how dampers can and cannot be used in natural draft and mechanical draft applications. Contrary to popular belief, manual dampers are allowed by code and are quite effective—if not essential—for achieving the best draft control in mechanical draft applications with multiple boilers.

Why is there so much confusion and debate over this? What constitutes a ‘manual damper,’ anyway? And what’s the deal with barometric dampers – should they replace a manual (or balancing) baffle, or are they even necessary? You’ll hear a variety of answers depending on who you’re talking to.

The misconception comes from years of naming confusion, evolving codes, and the way these codes are interpreted. Today we have a straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to the great debate, “Are manual dampers allowed by code?”

It's a resounding YES. Manual dampers ARE allowed by code.

ENERVEX has a close relationship with the people who write and enforce the building codes around draft control and dampers. We’ve spent a great deal of time dissecting these standards to ensure that engineers and contractors don’t build something that will get them into trouble. We recently put this knowledge into a whitepaper now available to you:

“Best Draft Control: Manual Dampers in Multiple-Boiler Systems”

In this paper, you will learn when and how to use manual dampers to achieve:

  • Effective, code-compliant draft control
  • Safest and most efficient combustion
  • Greatest energy and fuel savings

The whitepaper also covers the basics of draft control and dampers, including what causes draft in the combustion process; types of draft and their differences; what happens when there’s too much or too little draft; and a comparison of the various types of dampers.

So before you get into the great debate over draft control and manual dampers in mechanical draft applications, get the facts.