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Higgy 12-07-08 11:39 AM

Inline Duct Fan Installation
Well, as most of you know, my living/dining room is the farthest spot in the house from our furnace and the way the house is built, there's lots of angles to get from the main duct, to the 3 vents in the living room area so a lot of heat doesn't end up getting into that area. We purchased a small heater which did the trick for the most part, but we decided it was better to do the inline fans and use the heater for other things.

I purchased the 2 duct fans at a hardware store for $35 a piece and my brother in law (who helped me do some of the installation) purchased the wiring. We were going to wire it up to the furnace, but he wasn't quite sure how to hook it up and didn't want to blow the furnace on me during the winter :). I think he had trouble because it needed to be hooked up to a certain voltage, and it didn't show that I had anything like that on my furnace to hook up to. I'm going to get my father in law to take a look and see if it doesn't. If it can't then I'm going to purchase one of these to regulate when it should turn the fans on and off:

Duct Plug in Thermostat

Temporarily, he hooked it up to our electrical and put an on/off switch in between which I will leave there no matter what I end up hooking the fans up to. Daox had a really good idea to use a light dimmer switch instead which I'm going to switch it to so that I can throttle the heat being pushed or just turn it off completely if I don't want it on...say in the summer time when it's blowing in AC. So for now, I run downstairs and turn it on when the heat goes on and I'll sometimes just leave it and it makes a difference. You can really feel the difference in airflow at the vent. Here are some shots of the installation (FYI that's my bro in law in the pics not me :)):

I'll post up some more pics and the rest of the installation when we finish it off.

Daox 12-07-08 04:40 PM

Very cool Hig. Looks like it was pretty easy to install. How much power do those fans draw?

larryrose11 12-11-08 11:41 AM

You should seal up your ducts with either furnace mastic or AL tape. I did this when I was was remodeling my basement, and it made a big difference in how much air comes out the longest runs. Make sure that the heating vents in the basment are not just off, but covered with cardboard / AL tape. The vents right next to the furnace see the highest pressure an vent the most.

There is a balance between installing fast and making a good seal, guess which way the contractors want to go? FAST INSTALL. I have read that each junction will leak about 5% of the air in it to the outside, and how many junctions are there? 25? 50? More in a big house. In general, an unimproved duct system will lose about 35-50% of the air through the leaks. Joist return ducts are the worst though. All are easy to fix with the above materials, just DONT use any fiber backed tape, like duct tape!!
Also, cleaning you blower fan blades can make a bid difference in how much air it will blow. They usually never get cleaned.

Higgy 12-11-08 02:55 PM

Already on it Larry. Some of my furnace and ducts are taped up already. I still have a lot to go but I was already doing it last year with aluminum tape. I can't believe how much there is to tape up not to mention how much air comes out of those holes, it's insane.

gascort 02-17-09 10:09 AM

That is awesome - I'm totally stoked to see that these exist!!!

Can you give us a review of the product, after having it installed for 2 months? I was looking at homedepot's website and saw mixed reviews - some ok, many bad.

Our living room is the largest room in the house, the one we spend 75% of our awake time in, and 3 of the 4 walls are exterior walls which are plaster, then no insulation, then brick from 1920. We have a 5 inch vent that services the whole room. Someone really messed up our HVAC setup when they installed it - our bathroom has a larger vent in it!!

Higgy 02-17-09 10:44 AM

Hey Gascort. I'm still only using it off and on as I haven't bought the thermostat that I need to get it to run on its own yet. I'll probably pick that up this spring or summer. They sell it in a store just outside of the city so I'll take a drive out when I get a chance. For not it's still on the switch, but I DEFINITELY notice a difference. I had my bro in law turn it on and off while the furnace was on while I sat at the heat register and you could feel the power of the heat when he turned it on. And the room got to a nice temperature. And that's only one out of the 2 vents turned on. Once I have the thermostat that turns the fans on when the heat turns on, then I'm also going to hook up a dimmer switch to it so that I can throttle the fans just in case they start giving off too much heat.

Are you in the US? Because when I went to the home depot up here, they didn't have the inline fans that I purchased. The ones they had looked like garbage. It was like a fan in a half vent instead of the full vent. If you do it, try and find the full vent like the one at the top picture. Here's a site that has some of the inline vents, maybe you can order it from them:
In Line Duct Fan,boost air flow

And if you look at the very bottom, you'll see the Automatic Ductstat thermostat that regulates when the fans turn off and on. Then sense when the heat turns on and turns on the fans, then shuts them off when the heat turns off. Next winter will be really nice cause that should be all set up and sending some nice heat into our living room.

Is it possible for you to just add another heating duct into your living room? Maybe that would be better then my set up? Although I don't know the layout of your house so I'm not sure which way is better.

If you have any other questions let me know. And maybe post the link of the reviews you saw...maybe their issues were because of something weird in their house.

gascort 02-17-09 01:48 PM

Yeah, eventually we will put another vent in here. Will have to either pull up the floor in here or the ceiling in the basement. Funny thing is that the furnace is right below us!!

The home depot ones look pretty similar, but the 4" size is out of stock online. per your recommendation, we will look to get one like the one you got!

markone 03-01-09 04:51 PM

Higgy, I've heard and read from some people that these fans are loud and they make little difference. Do you find yours to be loud? How far from the vent did you install yours? I think I really want one for my son's room upstairs. There is very little force to the air that blows through it, compared to all the other vents. I've checked the damper, I've checked for obstructions. I think it's the length of that single run, and I think a booster fan could help. Any other thoughts?

Higgy 03-02-09 09:20 AM

As far as the loudness, at full force it's just as loud as the furnace. So if the furnace is on, you won't really notice it unless you're in the basement, and even then, if you have a drop ceiling or something, it will probably muffle most of the noise. I'm sure each fan is different as well. Some may not be as good as others. And it does least the one I use does.

One thing to make sure of, is to put a switch on it...either dimmer or regular. Because there's no sense in having it run all day if your son isn't in the room.

As far as installing, I put mine at the first juncture away from the main venting area (the square vent part). Pretty much about 3 feet away.

I'm not sure if you've done it already, but make sure to tape up all your seams in your duct as well with aluminum tape. That's very important and it will boost the amount of heat going through the vents. Make sure you check as well right at the joints where the round vents come out of the main square body because a LOT of heat can get lost there. Tape up the main body of the vents that come out of the furnace as well (just above the furnace). And if you can, purchase some insulation for the main square body of your vent system that extends from one end of your basement ceiling to the other. That will help your furnace to not have to work as hard and it will push out warmer air. If you haven't done this and you do end up doing it, it may alleviate some or all of your issues without needing to buy the inline vent...but maybe not. :) One of my issues is that my living room window seems to be leaking a lot of air as well (which I'm going to fix up this summer hopefully) and I have a lot of bloody elbows in my round vents going to my living room...I shake my head at how they built my house sometimes...and of course for every elbow, you lose a little heat.

Anyway...I'll shut up now... :D if you have any other questions just fire away.

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