The Difference Between Valve Actuators And Damper Actuators

When it comes to HVAC, you’ll likely hear people discussing the functions of valves and dampers. Both serve different purposes and are critical to a successful operation of your heating and cooling system. Either or both of these can be found in your indoor air handler unit, which is the heart of your home’s ventilation system. Both valve actuator and damper actuator are important components that help control airflow within your home. Each type has its own set of benefits with one more suited to a specific application than another. They may look similar at first glance, but there are important differences between valve actuator and damper actuator.

What is a Valve Actuator?

A valve actuator is a device designed to open and close valves. This is most commonly done in a heating or cooling system with the aim of controlling airflow. A valve actuator can be manual or automatic. A manual valve actuator will need to be controlled manually, and an automatic valve actuator will be controlled automatically using an HVAC system. Valve actuators can open and close valves on either hot water or steam lines. Some may also be able to adjust the flow rate of the valves.

What is a Damper Actuator?

A damper actuator works to open or close dampers. You’ll find them in HVAC systems as well as in industrial settings. They’re usually used to control air flow through ventilation ducts. Dampers are installed in between the return and supply ducts. They can be either motorized or manually operated. You may also see them on radiators.

Valve Actuators vs. Dampers: Which is Better?

Valve actuators and damper actuators both perform similar functions, and it’s useful to have them in different applications. In fact, a valve actuator can also be used as a damper actuator, and vice versa. It just depends on the application. Valve actuators are often used to control the flow of condensate return lines on a heating system. They’re also used on hot water supply lines. While you may see a manual valve actuator on a heating system, you’ll likely see an automatic valve actuator on a cooling system. Dampers are used to control the air flow rate through ventilation ducts. You’ll most commonly see them on supply ducts. You may see them on return ducts, but it’s less common. Like the valve actuator, a manual damper actuator is more commonly used in a heating system, while an automatic damper actuator is more common in a cooling system.

HVAC systems are complex machines that can sometimes be tricky to understand. One feature of these systems that may be confusing is the use of valve actuators and damper actuators. We hope that this blog post has helped clear up any misconceptions you may have had about these two critical components.