In dealing with airflow and ventilation in our homes, we’re bound to come across certain elements like louvers and dampers. The need to control airflow into our homes cannot be overemphasized. It can determine your comfort and convenience in your home or office and promote good health.
However, there has been some misconception about the meaning of a louver and a damper and whether they are the same thing or different. Please check our article on dampers to know everything about it.
It is a device installed in the ductwork to regulate airflow coming from an HVAC system, cutting off conditioned air to rooms and spaces where it is not needed. If you’ve read that post, you should have a clear idea of what a damper is.
So, is a louver the same as a damper? If not, what are the uses of each of them? Also, we’ll tell you where and how each of them is installed and used.
What Is a Louver?
A louver is a certain form of blind or shutter, made up of horizontal slats, blades, slips of glass, wood, laths, or any form of material- angled in a certain way- and designed to allow space for airflow and light penetration.
Louvers are built to allow air and light in if properly angled, but restrict direct sunlight and rain into the room. Louvers are primarily built to be used on doors and windows.
They are used for ventilation purposes and are carefully arranged as horizontal parallel blades in a frame.
The most common louvers are made of glass slips, plastics, wood, or even aluminum. A great example is the IPower 12-inch Gravity Louver.
Louvers are designed to be adjusted but they do not move while in operation; they are static. They can only be adjusted when more or less airflow is required.
Louver Vs Damper [Key Differences]
Like we said earlier, we’ll attempt to establish the differences between a louver and a damper. First of all, it is important to note that dampers are sometimes called louvers, even though they are different.
There are also cases where certain types of louvers are used for purposes meant for dampers. With these in mind, here are the major differences between a louver and a damper.
1. Usage and Purpose
A louver is designed to allow airflow and light into the home without letting in excess sunlight and moisture. On the other hand, a damper is a regulatory mechanism that helps to control the flow of conditioned air to parts of the house.
Typically, a louver and a damper are installed in different spots. A louver is usually used on windows and doors, while a damper is traditionally installed in the ductwork of a building, whether a home or an office for HVAC systems.
3. Blade Motion
This is a major difference between a damper and a louver. The damper’s blades are designed to move, depending on your temperature needs. On the other hand, the louver’s blades are static and constant and do not move.
4. Airflow Control
The louver is not designed to control or regulate airflow, but to simply let it through while blocking off rain and direct sunlight. Meanwhile, a damper helps to regulate and control the passage of air in the duct.
A damper is made of metal like aluminum and other tough steel materials, but a louver on the other hand can be made from a number of different materials, such as metal, glass, plastic, wood, and so on.
There are various options available for louvers including stamped louvers, gable louvers, decorative arched louvers, industrial louvers, and even certain customized louvers, as requested.
As for dampers, there are many forms such as butterfly dampers, motorized dampers, heavy-duty dampers, manually operated dampers, and even customized dampers, among others.
When Should You Use Louver & When Should You Use Damper?
This is where it gets tricky. Remember at the beginning of this post we told you that there are some louvers that are used for HVAC systems as well?
What we failed to mention is that there are framed dampers that are also used for ventilation on windows and other parts of the wall. This should trigger a puzzle in your head; when should you use a louver and when is a damper preferable?
Generally speaking, louvers are the preferred option for separating things like rain, snow, and sand from the air going into the room. You may call it an air filtering mechanism.
On the other hand, a damper is best applied when there’s a need to prevent airflow to a particular direction or part of the building. One stops the flow of air when necessary and the other allows air through while restricting elements like moisture, dust, and so on.
What Is an Automatic Louver Damper?
With an automatic louver damper, physical interference is significantly reduced in airflow control and regulation. Here, the vent shuts off automatically, especially in winter when the weather is really cold.
This is to prevent conditioned cold air from going through the vent and into rooms where they are not needed.
This automatic control mechanism also means that conditioned air can be restricted to rooms that are unoccupied so that energy can be preserved and heating costs can also be minimized.
An automatic louver damper comes with an attached automated thermostat and a remote switch which can be placed in different rooms in the building. This provides ease and convenience. The Broan-NuTone Automatic Aluminum louver is a great example.
What Is a Combination Louver Damper?
As the name implies, this is simply a term to describe louver/damper combos. In fact, you’ll find the fixed blades of a louver at the front and the moveable, adjustable damper blades at the back which can be opened or shut.
Here, it is possible to restrict airflow without using a damper because the louver combo can perform the job.
This is why such combination louver dampers are popular in big structures and warehouse applications. Here, the blades that are operable are controlled manually or with an actuator.
A combination louver damper does two major things; restricts airflow when necessary and also allows airflow in without letting moisture, sand and other elements into the room.
This device is suitable for very large spaces and saves you the cost of installing a separate louver and damper.
In fact, due to the size of the space, you may be saving as much as 50% in installation cost when you use a louver combination instead of a louver and a separate damper.
So, a damper and a louver may look the same and even sometimes be installed on the same spots, but they are not the same because their functions differ.
For emphasis, a louver has horizontal blades usually house in a frame that allows airflow into a room but restricts the entry of sand, rain and snow.
On the other hand, a damper is primarily designed to restrict airflow to a certain part of the building where conditioned air is not required. In the end, be sure to purchase what you really need and apply them wisely.