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Using Duct and Register Booster Fans to Increase HVAC Circulation

If the heating and cooling in your home is uneven and hard to regulate, cheap — but imperfect — duct and register booster fans may help.

If your house has notoriously cold spots during winter, or uncomfortably warm rooms in summer — even when your HVAC is working fine — the culprit may be your ductwork.

Twists and turns in ducts, along with long spans of ductwork, conspire to restrict air flow. While some parts of your house seem cozy, others may suffer from a lack of heated or cooled air from your HVAC system.

The problem is usually worse in older homes with ducts that weren’t designed to handle modern heating and cooling systems.

How Booster Fans Help

Booster fans are add-ons that help move air through ducts. While inline duct and register booster fans will not cure underlying defects, they can “boost” air flow, thus increasing the amount of cold and warm air that ultimately makes it to a room.

First, Check the Basics

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Inspect your HVAC system for problems that might be contributing to airflow and efficiency problems. Dirty filters, peeling duct tape, and obstructed air returns all can decrease HVAC performance.

Types of HVAC Booster Fans

Register booster fans are the most economical and simplest to install. These plug-and-play units replace your existing floor, wall, or ceiling register. They mount flush to the surface, plug into the wall outlet, and feature a modest internal fan that goes on and off when the HVAC system kicks in. Some feature a thermostat and multi-speed fan.

Prices range from $30 for a basic unit up to $80 for those with digital thermostats, multi-speed fans, and remote control.

Inline duct fans are cylindrical fans that replace a section of ductwork. That means your HVAC ducting must be exposed to work on it. Though some units simply plug in, most are hardwired and require a relay back to the furnace that tells the unit when to switch on. Installation may require an electrician.

Inline duct fans are quieter than register booster fans, but you’ll have to know the size and shape of your existing ductwork so you can pick the right-sized unit.

Count on paying $30 to $200 for an inline booster fan, plus a couple hundred dollars for the electrician.

A Word of Caution From a Pro

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“The biggest challenge is the return air — getting the stale air from the second or third floor back down to the furnace to be heated or cooled and redistributed,” explains Tom Hutchinson, president of Hutchinson Plumbing Heating Cooling.

“While cost-effective, we don’t see that booster fans provide a whole lot of success in remedying the problem,” explains Hutchinson. “The best solution is adding returns or installing a thermostatically controlled zone system.”

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  • Home Maintenance Tips
  • Improve
  • Organize & Maintain

Douglas Trattner

Douglas Trattner has covered home improvement for HGTV.com, DIYNetworks, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He lives in a 1925 Colonial.

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Read how duct booster fans, like inline duct and register fans, can help improve the efficiency and airflow of your HVAC. Learn about the pros, cons and costs.

Duct Fans

Never underestimate the power of having the right accessory. Improves efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Heats or cools hard to reach areas of your home. Delivers interior comfort in any season. Fits flexible and rigid ducts while featuring a crimp and bead design.

  • 120 VAC/60 Hz
  • Pre-mounted metal conduit box
  • Increases air circulation year round
  • Connect with either high or low speed

Static:
A Static Favorites List is created by adding items to your list from Search and/or Browse results, product detail pages, and previous orders and invoices. You can also upload your list using the Excel template provided on the “Favorites List Management” page.

Dynamic:
A Dynamic Favorites List is automatically created from your purchase history based on the timeframe, ship-to name, and product categories you want included. This list updates each time you open it based on the criteria selected.

Enter a Name for your List:

Never underestimate the power of having the right accessory. Improves efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Heats or cools hard to reach areas of your home. Delivers interior comfort in any season. Fits flexible and rigid ducts while featuring a crimp and bead design.

  • 120 VAC/60 Hz
  • Pre-mounted metal conduit box
  • Increases air circulation year round
  • Connect with either high or low speed

Static:
A Static Favorites List is created by adding items to your list from Search and/or Browse results, product detail pages, and previous orders and invoices. You can also upload your list using the Excel template provided on the “Favorites List Management” page.

Dynamic:
A Dynamic Favorites List is automatically created from your purchase history based on the timeframe, ship-to name, and product categories you want included. This list updates each time you open it based on the criteria selected.

Enter a Name for your List:

  • Installs in round, square or rectangular ducts with special mounting plates
  • Heavy-duty steel housing with solid seam construction
  • Motors have permanently lubricated bronze bearings
  • 503251 has aluminum fan blades
  • Temperature range -40°F to 450°F
  • 3,000 RPM

Static:
A Static Favorites List is created by adding items to your list from Search and/or Browse results, product detail pages, and previous orders and invoices. You can also upload your list using the Excel template provided on the “Favorites List Management” page.

Dynamic:
A Dynamic Favorites List is automatically created from your purchase history based on the timeframe, ship-to name, and product categories you want included. This list updates each time you open it based on the criteria selected.

Enter a Name for your List:

  • Installs in round, square or rectangular ducts with special mounting plates
  • Heavy-duty steel housing with solid seam construction
  • Motors have permanently lubricated bronze bearings
  • 503251 has aluminum fan blades
  • Temperature range -40°F to 450°F
  • 3,000 RPM

Static:
A Static Favorites List is created by adding items to your list from Search and/or Browse results, product detail pages, and previous orders and invoices. You can also upload your list using the Excel template provided on the “Favorites List Management” page.

Dynamic:
A Dynamic Favorites List is automatically created from your purchase history based on the timeframe, ship-to name, and product categories you want included. This list updates each time you open it based on the criteria selected.

Enter a Name for your List:

  • UL listed and CSA certified
  • Approved for residential and commercial applications and for wet locations
  • 100% speed controllable
  • Suitable for airstream temperatures up to 140°F
  • Easy connection using external wiring box with waterproof gasket
  • Ebm-papst external rotor motorized impeller for excellent heat dissipation, even at low rpm
  • Fan housing constructed of UL-recognized, UV protected thermal plastic resin
  • Backward curved impeller featuring a well designed venturi for maximum performance
  • Permanently lubricated sealed bearings for maintenance free operation
  • Motor equipped with automatic reset thermal overload protection
  • Statically and dynamically balanced as one integral unit to provide vibration free performance
  • HVI certified and tested
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Centrifugal exhaust/supply fan specifically designed for ventilation applications.

Static:
A Static Favorites List is created by adding items to your list from Search and/or Browse results, product detail pages, and previous orders and invoices. You can also upload your list using the Excel template provided on the “Favorites List Management” page.

Dynamic:
A Dynamic Favorites List is automatically created from your purchase history based on the timeframe, ship-to name, and product categories you want included. This list updates each time you open it based on the criteria selected.

Enter a Name for your List:

The DBF 110 Dryer Booster inline fan addresses every obstacle

  • A silent partner for your dryer
  • The fan compensates for system duct losses and allows the dryer to exhaust warm moist air as the manufacturer intended
  • The fans can handle up to 60 feet of duct and six elbows
  • The backward blades allow lint to pass through the fan
  • The patented control automatically operates the booster fan whenever the dryer is running

Static:
A Static Favorites List is created by adding items to your list from Search and/or Browse results, product detail pages, and previous orders and invoices. You can also upload your list using the Excel template provided on the “Favorites List Management” page.

Dynamic:
A Dynamic Favorites List is automatically created from your purchase history based on the timeframe, ship-to name, and product categories you want included. This list updates each time you open it based on the criteria selected.

Enter a Name for your List:

  • UL listed and CSA certified
  • Approved for residential and commercial applications and for wet locations
  • 100% speed controllable
  • Suitable for airstream temperatures up to 140°F
  • Easy connection using external wiring box with waterproof gasket
  • Ebm-papst external rotor motorized impeller for excellent heat dissipation, even at low rpm
  • Fan housing constructed of UL-recognized, UV protected thermal plastic resin
  • Backward curved impeller featuring a well designed venturi for maximum performance
  • Permanently lubricated sealed bearings for maintenance free operation
  • Motor equipped with automatic reset thermal overload protection
  • Statically and dynamically balanced as one integral unit to provide vibration free performance
  • HVI certified and tested
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Centrifugal exhaust/supply fan specifically designed for ventilation applications.

Static:
A Static Favorites List is created by adding items to your list from Search and/or Browse results, product detail pages, and previous orders and invoices. You can also upload your list using the Excel template provided on the “Favorites List Management” page.

Dynamic:
A Dynamic Favorites List is automatically created from your purchase history based on the timeframe, ship-to name, and product categories you want included. This list updates each time you open it based on the criteria selected.

Duct Fans Never underestimate the power of having the right accessory. Improves efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Heats or cools hard to reach areas of your home. Delivers interior