Category Archives: dampers

12 Technical Rules of Thumb for Installing Zoning

1. In most cases, it will not be necessary to modify duct sizing when installing a zoning system.

2. It is a good practice to size the smallest zone to handle approximately 25% of the system CFM.

3. Never undersize the ductwork.

4. Upsizing registers in the smallest zone to the next larger size should be considered.

5. You can double the rated CFM of a register before it starts to become noisy.

6. Multi-stage equipment is always a better choice with a zoning system.

7. It is always better to slightly undersize the HVAC equipment than to oversize it.

8. Never locate a thermostat in a hallway.

9. Dampers should be installed at least 2 feet away from the plenum when possible.

10. Always use a separate 24 volt transformer to power the zone panel. Do not use the equipment transformer.

11. Always tag all wires, especially from dampers and thermostats.

12. Some basements may require setting the zone thermostat in the auto mode during the cooling season for the following reasons: basement walls are cold as a result of being underground, uninsulated ductwork located in the basement acts as a cooling radiator, ductwork leaking air, cold air falls.

For questions about zoning or for a quote on a zoning system, call us at 888.652.9663.

Zoning Selling Tips

zoning floor plan
1. Look for finished basements, add-on rooms or other additions where comfort may be a problem

2. Ask homeowners if there are particular areas in the home that are too hot or too cold.

3. If the homeowner is seeking a second system for their home, zoning may be a more cost effective option.

4. To help customers understand zoning, explain how their refrigerator has two separate zones, one for fresh foods and one for frozen foods.

5. Challenge homeowners to imagine a home with only one light switch that can only turn the lights on or off for the entire house. With a single-thermostat forced air system, they have to condition all of the air to condition any given space. Just like having one light switch to control all of the lights in the house.

Look for future posts on technical tips for installing zoning.

New E-Commerce Site Makes Ordering Easier

E-commerce ShotWe recently updated the look and navigation of our Web site to make it easier to find the great products you are searching for. A large part of this upgrade was improvements to our online ordering system. The new E-commerce tool is easier to use and contains more information about your account. With the new site, past orders can be viewed, quotes can be viewed and changed to orders and you can upload a CSV file of common or repetitive orders. These are just a few of the new features of the site. To help you better take advantage of the new E-commerce offerings, we have created a guide to navigating the site. We hope you find the changes useful and using the site a more enjoyable experience. Download the E-commerce User Guide

Greg McAfee to Host HVAC Business Boot Camp

build-your-businessIf Greg McAfee can do it…in Dayton, Ohio, you can too! Greg made an investment of $274.00 and worked to become the leading HVAC service provider in an area that’s been deemed one of the ten worst places to do business in the United States, Dayton, Ohio. Learn how he went from his humbling beginnings to a growing multi-million dollar company.

And now, Former Marine Greg McAfee and his Team are ready to share their knowledge, systems and quality practices with HVAC Business Owners and managers. The Boot Camp will be held on April 8 – 9 at Greg’s Dayton headquarters. Click here for more information or to register: HVAC Business Boot Camp

Introducing Our Newest Product Line – BACnet® Thermostats

The JS Series BACnet thermostat combines the power of a space-mounted equipment controller with the convenience of built-in temperature and humidity. The thermostats include a wide range of factory supplied programs for the following applications:

  • Two-pipe and four-pipe fan coil units
  • Roof top units
  • Heat pump units
  • Packaged and split unitary systems
  • appstat

    No special programming, software applications or setup tools are required to configure and commission a JS Series BACnet thermostat. All options can be set by using only the five front panel buttons and the easy-to-read menus in the full-color display.

    The attractive two-piece design is ideal for new installations or upgrades of older, less efficient thermostats. All models are native BACnet, Application Specific Thermostats ready to connect to a BACnet MS/TP network. Device instance, MAC address and baud rate are set from the password protected front controls. All models feature a hardware clock and BACnet schedule that can be setup from the front panel or as standard BACnet objects and properties.

    For more information, call us at 888.652.9663.

Performance Contracting

Tom Jackson visits with a contractor at the ACCA Building Performance Forum sponsored by "The News"

Tom Jackson visits with a contractor at the ACCA Building Performance Forum sponsored by “The News”

Energy savings is top-of-mind as we move into what could be a very harsh winter in some parts of the United States. This paired with the growing consumer demand for “green” products is driving many HVAC contractors to performance-based contracting. By viewing the house as a system, these contractors open up a new revenue stream while also doing their customers a great service. As energy costs continue to increase and the demand for “greener” products grows, performance-based contracting is sure to follow.

Here is a link to a great story in “The News”, explaining some strategies for getting into performance-based contracting and resources available to contractors. ACCA Examines Performance-Based Contracting

Product Submissions Available Online

ZoneOneSubmittalThumbnailWe pride ourselves in making it easy to use our products. Whether that’s ease of installation, great technical support or providing the tools you need at your fingertips, Jackson Systems is committed to excellent client service. To make it easier to specify our light commercial offerings, we have recently developed product specification sheets and posted these to our Web site. There are two versions for each product, PDF and Word. All of these specifications can be downloaded at These documents can also be located on each of the specific product pages within the Web site. The Word document version makes cutting and pasting the specifications into your proposal quick and easy, while the PDF versions are designed to be email friendly. Happy specifying!


Bypass Damper vs. Barometric Zone Damper

Bypass dampers are used in zoning applications to relieve excess system pressure caused when a small or single zone is making a heat or cool call. Excess pressure can occur when not all of the dampers are open. This excess pressure must go somewhere, which is why installing a bypass damper is necessary. It enables the excess pressure to be redirected back into the air system and re-circulated through the system.


There is no doubt that a zoning system requires a mechanism to relieve the built-up pressure. Until recently, installing a bypass damper was the only option available to do this.  While zoning is a great concept for increasing the comfort provided by an HVAC system, installing a bypass damper can present challenges such as no room for the installation, extra labor and materials required, and even decreased system efficiency. 


Ron Jackson, President of Jackson Systems and HVAC inventor and innovator, is all too familiar with the headaches contractors associate with installing bypass dampers. He wanted to figure out an easy to use solution to zoning applications.  As happens with many great inventors, Ron was awakened at 3AM. He said aloud, “Man, have I got an idea for a product that could change the zoning industry.” And the BZD was born.


The BZD damper works like any standard damper with one exception – it has a built-in barometric relief mechanism that eliminates the need for a bypass damper. Tests indicate that most systems can handle up to double the rated cfm through the registers before noise becomes a problem. Unlike a standard zone damper, the BZD has been designed with both a fixed and a hinged blade and is controlled by an actuator. The lower half of the blade then functions as a barometric pressure relief for the system. The Barometric Zone Damper will allow the barometric half of the closed zone damper to open if the static pressure reaches the preset setting and bleed a small amount of air into the zones that are not calling, keeping the system static pressure at an acceptable level. Tests also indicate that bleeding a small amount of conditioned air to the zone(s) that are not calling has little impact on the temperature in the zone(s) because in most cases they are above or below setpoint, so the zone(s) can absorb the additional conditioned air. The BZD damper is factory-set and should not need any adjustments.


The BZD is a contractor-friendly solution to the typical zoning installation problems. It works as well as a standard bypass damper, but cuts down on the labor and time, not to mention headaches. While bypass dampers are reliable options when there is room available for installing one, a BZD is a great solution when you run into problems installing a standard bypass damper. The next time this happens, you may find that the BZD is the perfect solution to ease your zoning installations. For more information on how the BZD works, click here.


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Top 10 Questions for Sizing and Selecting a Damper Actuator

This week, we discovered some great tips from Belimo for sizing and selecting a damper actuator. We thought these might come in handy for you, so we’d like to share. Jackson Systems also sells Belimo products, and we’d be happy to help if you have further questions about picking the right damper actuator for your job. Here are the key questions to answer when selecting:

1. What is the total area of the damper? (square feet)

2. Opposed blade or parallel blade control construction?

  • (L” x W” = Total sq inches/144 = total sq ft)
  • Opposed Blade w/o seals 3 in-lb/sq feet*
  • Opposed Blade w/ seals 5 in-lb/sq feet
  • Parallel Blade w/o seals 4 in-lb/sq feet
  • Parallel Blade w/ seals 7 in-lb/sq feet

*Less than 1,000 feet per minute

3. Are there blade and edge seals on the damper?
This will impact the proper selection as the seals add resistance requiring more torque. If unknown, use a worst case scenario, parallel blade with seals.

4. For the damper in question, what does the manufacturer specify as the torque rating? If this information is not available refer to the “typical damper requirements and sizing” chart.

5. What is the air velocity, static pressure, or design CFM?
System above 1,000 FPM required additional actuator torque.

6. Is fail-safe actuation required?

7. What is the supply voltage to the actuator?

  • 24 VAC/DC
  • 120 VAC
  • 230 VAC single phase

8. What is the control signal to the actuator?

  • 2 position
  • Floating point
  • Modulating
  • Sequencing
  • “Non-standard” voltage signals

This will be a critical component to the selection of an actuator. Consider the Multi-Function Technology actuator product range and the flexibility of its application.

9. Can you direct couple to a damper shaft? Direct-coupling has become the industry standard. Some retrofit applications do not allow direct coupling. Refer to the Belimo “Mounting & Methods Guide” for application details.

10. Are there additional accessories required? For example, some applications require the addition of an auxiliary switch for proof of position; a retrofit application may require an additional mounting bracket and linkage kit. We advise that you identify these needs prior to leaving the job site or ordering products.

See Belimo’s complete selection guide here. Thanks to Belimo for this helpful guide.

Innovative Controls from Jackson Systems – right at your fingertips!

Jackson Systems manufactures some of the most innovative control products in the HVAC marketplace.  Jackson Systems' forced air control products are reliable, versatile and simple to install.  All of these products are now easily reviewed in one, convenient location.  The interactive catalog from Jackson Systems is an easy way to view what's new within their product lines.  Check out the latest products from Jackson Systems by clicking on this link:   Jackson Systems Catalog

You might be surprised at some of the opportunities to improve your clients' comfort with simple products that you may not know even existed.  Also, over the next several months, Jackson Systems will be releasing several new products.  The catalog will be updated to reflect these new additions.  Please be on the look out for notification of these releases.  You can also check back often to see the latest version of the catalog

Finally, because our interactive catalog is available online, access to the information is available 24/7.   Jackson Systems is proud to manufacture simple to install products and are happy to offer an equally easy to use resource.

Catalog Cover2

Retrofit Zoning Made Simple

Sometimes zoning applications require multiple dampers in branch runs instead of a couple of dampers mounted in the main trunk line.  Jackson Systems’ Retro Damper is designed for retrofit zone control applications where dampers are required in branch runs.  Retro Dampers save installation time and are easy to install.  Our Retro Dampers are fabricated with heavy gauge steel and come in sizes ranging from 5” through 10”.  These dampers are powered by a three wire actuator (powered open / powered closed) with a 34 lb-in torque rating.  The actuators are 24VAC with only 3.84VA and 6 second open/close timing.  These great features are all wrapped in a 5 year warranty.  Each Retro Damper is supplied with a self-adhesive template that is applied to the round section of duct where the damper is to be installed thus making installation quick and easy.  The calibrated adjustment screws located on each side of the damper shaft assembly provides minimum open or close adjustments.  This low cost retrofit zone control damper makes it easy for any contractor to quickly add zone control to an existing home.  Just cut a slot and slide it in.


Click here to view video.

Zone One Stand Alone Zone Damper

Zone One™ is a control damper that is designed to solve over-heating and over-cooling problems.  Zone One™ consists of a thermostat and a factory wired damper or diffuser that contains an actuator, control module, and duct sensor.  The duct sensor senses whether there is warm air (above 72F) or cool air (below 72F) in the branch supply duct.  If the Zone One™ thermostat is calling for cooling and the duct sensor senses cool air in the duct the damper will open.  Otherwise the damper will remain closed.  If the Zone One™ thermostat is calling for heating and the duct sensor senses warm air in the duct the damper will open.  Otherwise the damper will remain closed.  One thing to keep in mind in using a Zone One™ is to not install a Zone One™ thermostat and damper assembly in the area where the equipment space thermostat is located.  The Zone One™ is an inexpensive yet powerful solution to overheating or overcooling problems in commercial buildings.

Barometric Bypass Damper

A question that comes up frequently when quoting zone control systems is, why and when do I need a bypass damper?  As the individual zone dampers close, the system static pressure will tend to rise.  In order to maintain constant airflow through the HVAC system, a barometric damper can be used to bypass some of the discharge air back to the system.  The bypass damper should be installed in such a way as to connect the supply air duct to the return duct.  Damper adjustment is done by moving the weight up and down the arm.  If only two zones are required, size each zone to handle about 75% of the total CFM.  This method does not require a bypass damper.  If one zone requires substantially more CFM than the other, it is recommended that the larger zone damper be set to bleed about 20% of its air.  If more than two zones are required, install a bypass damper.  It should be set to bypass just enough air to maintain a quiet, draft free system.  Barometric bypass dampers can be used on systems with static pressure ratings up to 0.75”W.C.  Bypass dampers are sized based on the cooling tonnage.

Condensing Unit Damper Size
2.5 tons or less 8” bypass
3 tons 10” bypass
4 tons 12” bypass
5 tons 12” bypass
7.5 tons 14” bypass
10 tons 14” bypass

For systems larger than 10 tons, subtract the CFM of the smallest zone from the total system CFM, then size the bypass damper to handle 100% of this difference at 2,500FPM.

111 tips to help your business become more profitable

One of our great industry friends, John Hall, has published a new book about the HVAC industry.  As many of you know John is the Business Editor for The Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News ( His new book is titled Profit Tips 1.1.1. and includes 111 tips to help your business become more profitable. Each tip is endorsed and ‘embellished’ by 111 real-life contractors who have added their names because they believe in them and John thinks you will too.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

TIP #21

     Cheaters never prosper – unless they use cheat sheets. Or should I rephrase that and say – because they use cheat sheets. We all know about cheat sheets. Kids use them in classrooms when taking tests by writing answers down on scraps of paper and hiding them in their shirtsleeve. Or better yet, kids write answers on their wrists or ankles – very clever.
     But not all cheat sheets have to emulate cheating. Some of these little scraps of paper can be called reminder sheets. You have seen them – the yellow sticky notes all over the place with various notes. One of the funniest was from the movie Romancing the Stone where actress Kathleen Turner couldn’t find a tissue to blow her nose so she used the sticky note which said “Buy tissues” to empty her nostrils.
     You may want to put some reminder sheets around your business or in your employee’s weekly paycheck envelope. The message can be inspirational or instructional. Call it a cheat sheet if you’d like – you might be cheating your competition out of a good idea.

     Do we use cheat sheets in our business? That term brings up memories of sitting near the back in Spanish class and observing many students surreptitiously referring to small lists of vocabulary. It is an unpleasant memory because so many were harming themselves, and because they were raising the grading curve. (I assume most of them went into public service, and that is the reason public policy is so bad.) I earned my low Spanish grade honestly, and am proud of it.
     We do use checklists – another form of cheat sheets. We have computer printed checklists for materials and procedures for attic heat pump installations, closet heat pump installations, preventative maintenance, and product features.
     My workers inform me when a truck-stocked item is low, that I write it in a pocket notebook – yet another type of cheat sheet. The result is dramatically reduced incidence of being on the job without a necessary part.
     Our productivity is extremely high, so there is money left for big (inspirational) bonuses on most jobs.

David Green
Green Electric
New Braunfels, Texas

If you enjoyed his last book, the NEXT Contractor, you’ll enjoy Profit Tips 1.1.1. even more. The price is $14.95 plus $3.75 S&H. John is taking orders right now at his website ( — click on ‘Profit Tips 1.1.1.’ You can order using PayPal and be assured of getting the copies fresh off the press. If you choose to order via check, the address is at the website, too. Order TODAY!

Learn more about Jackson Systems at

Retro Damper

A low cost retrofit zone damper makes it easy for you to quickly add zone control to an existing home. No more having to remove a section of duct to install a round zone damper. A Retro Damper allows you to cut a slot in the duct and slide it in. The Retro Damper uses 18 gauge thermostat wire and will work with almost any zone control panel. The Retro Damper is a powered open powered closed damper and come in the following sizes: 5”, 6” 7” 8”, 9”, and 10”.

Catch our new webinar series on zone control

We are excited to announce our launch of a webinar series on zone control. This valuable web-based workshop will help you learn about zoning, information on a couple specific products and will help you learn how to grow your business by selling zone control.

The Z-200, The Green Zone, webinar will take place Wednesday, May 14th, 2 p.m. eastern time. Learn how this new 2-zone zone control panel and system will help you save money and energy!

The Z-2000 for light commercial and residential use will take place Tuesday, May 20th at 2 p.m. eastern time.

Just contact us to reserve your spot on the Webinar!

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