Opening Dampers

Old 09-23-02, 09:39 AM
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Unhappy How to open air duct damper behind drywall???

Hello, I am very new to the heating and cooling world but have a big problem. We had our basement finished by a contractor and they forgot to open up the dampers on the heating/cooling ducts in the basement before they put drwall up.

Now the basement is finished, but I have no air down there. I tried calling them back and of course nobody returns my call. Is there a way to get the damper open without having to cut out the drywall and manually turn the lever? Is there some type of tool or should a local HVAC person have a tool to open the damper in the duct? I would hate to have to cut holes in the drywall and then have to try and match it up.

Any replies would be great. Thanks
Old 09-24-02, 09:01 PM
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Hello: jcg1577

Since your question remains unanswered, something I prefer not to happen and "any replies would be great" common sense rules.

Try running a plumbers snake down or up the ducting. You'll have to do this very carefully so as not to wedge the snake into a place or postion where it could jam up, so proceed very carefully.

Remove a register if need be and if it is closest to the damper. If not, attempt to access the vent closer near the heating unit if possible. Same careful rule applies.

Another idea is to lower a heavy weighted object about the same dismeter as the ducting tube on a rope down the ducting. The idea here would be to hopefully get the object on the rope to weigh down on the upper half of the baffel and force it open.

I idea here should be obvious. Finding some means to acconplish the task without opening up a wall... Crazy ideas granted but lets hope it's possible and one of these works...

Any professional solutions, other than opening up walls, are welcome.....

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Old 09-27-02, 12:44 AM
lynn comstock
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Biting the bullet.

The dampers are "locked" so they stay in the desired position. (In this case it is an undesired position.)

If you know where to cut, I think you are going to have to cut. Use a drywall saw to make the opening big enough to get your hand in and still see what you are doing. An 8" to 10" irregular square will do. Locate the studs first so you don't end up with a stud in the center of the hole. Don't make a perfect square. We want the piece to only fit back into the hole in only one way.

I would cut the sides on an angle so that the piece can fit back in the hole later without possibly falling through. /____________\. Leave the holes open until you have satisfied yourself that the damper settings you choose are good. Lock the dampers and then replace the cutout piece after coating all the cut edges of the piece and the sides of the hole with drywall joint compound. Reusing the cutout preserves the original texture and precise fit of the patch and the lines of the cut will be close to invisible. I have used a screw 1 or 2 in the seams to hold the inserted piece exactly flush with the wall until the repair dries. (A screw in the middle of the cutout makes a handle to adjust it to the desired position,) After it is dry, remove the screws, patch the screw holes and touchup the seams if needed, paint to match and it should be invisible.
Old 09-29-02, 09:10 AM
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i would look

at the takeoff duct right at the furnace if these floors are utilizing seperate trunk lines. this is the most probable location. if the individual runs come off the same trunk for both floors, they should be right at the trunk line where the taps come off. lynn is right, there is probably a screw through the handle (if they were installed correctly), or a wing nut tightened to hold the volume damper from moving. good luck

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