Content Nav Menu 

AirFlow Technology ‘Breeze’ Register Booster Review

By: Mark Adkins
on August 7, 2009 11:21 am

Airflow 1

This is a great and simple idea- a small pair of thermostatically-controlled low-voltage fans that go into a duct and help cool or heat a room. We have the perfect room to test this- a living room with only one dedicated vent, right near an outlet. Even though the thermostat is set to about 82F, some of our rooms are chilly and the living room and master bedroom are warm and muggy. Our 70+ year-old house is always tricky to heat or cool properly. If this $60 unit can help, it would be a godsend!

I was sent the AirFlow Technology ‘AirFlow Breeze’ Register Booster Fan in Almond with both the 4×10 and 4×12 vent covers. It is also available in brown and in a couple larger sizes, and a new version is coming out with a remote control.

The package included a packet of instructions and advertising, the two vent covers, a power adaptor (typical wall wart with 6′ cord), and the unit itself. There is not much to look at. There is a central strip of two control dials and a power jack on the top. Under the two grills are a pair of fans that look a lot like what you find in a computer tower. Instructions explain installation and operation. The unit can be mounted in a low wall duct, a high wall duct or ceiling duct (with optional 16′ cord), floor mounted, or mounted by itself. I was going to mount it in a low wall opening.

Set-up is easy enough. You need to…

  • Drill the pre-molded holes out of the cover plate. (Which seems odd on a $60 item- I mean if they drilled it, I could do the whole installation with just a screwdriver!)
  • Snap the pate securely onto the fan unit, then position in the opening. (Mine just barely fit the duct opening with a little flexing, and the cover is about an inch smaller than the old cover- there are paint scars all around it. The bigger cover size holes do not match up, so that would not help.)
  • Replace the old screws from the old cover. (Come on. The old screws have been painted over a couple times and the colors don’t match the new cover. I also missed the second screwhole and stripped the dang screw head!)
  • Plug it in and go! (Except… the cord plugs in at the top and the molded cord track goes upwards, which means the cord drapes awkwardly over the front of the unit- even in company photos.)

    Installed unit on website showing cord- and does that look like a 6' cord to you?

    Installed unit on website showing cord- and does that look like a 6' cord to you? The cover is 4"x10"- that cord looks about 18", so you need to imagine 4.5 more feet of it hanging down.

It was a hot day- 97F outside at 5:oopm. When I had everything ready to go at 7:00pm, the living room was at 80.2F and 29% humidity (I have a handy digital thermometer in the living room because I raise Red-foot Tortoises and the thermometer tells me the temps in their habitat with a remote probe.) Time to fire the Air Flow Breeze up! The top dial has the options of Off, Fan, Heat, and Cool. I selected ‘Cool’. The bottom dial appears to be a thermostat. I set it on maximum cool. I noticed an immediate difference- the room was instantly a lot louder! The unit in use sounds like a slightly muffled vacuum cleaner, and forced me to boost the TV volume 2 notches to compensate.

At 9:00pm, it was significantly cooler outside, and the living room temp, with the Breeze running non-stop and the A/C on about 50% of the time, is… 80.4F! At no point did the temp go lower than 80.1F. I felt absolutely no difference, but that may be because the vent is mounted low and does not blow on me. I gave up and turned on the small fan on top of the entertainment center and immediately felt cooler and the room was so much quieter that I could drop the TV 6 notches. The room thermometer did not register a temperature change, so it must all be evaporative cooling with the air on my skin.

So what happened? For a unit like this to work, it basically steals cool air from the ducting, and our A/C unit is a long way away from the living room duct. When the A/C is not on, it is just a recirculating fan, like the one probably built into your furnace. The fans are low-voltage, which is good for energy use, but not so hot for actual air movement. The 8″120VAC fan I’m using feels like it moves many times the air that the Breeze does even with 2 fans. The company recommends using multiple Breezes to solve a variety of heating and cooling problems, but sucking cold air out of the system faster just means the system has to work harder to make more, or steal it from other parts of the house- which seems like a net increase in energy use.

The ducts in my house are badly set-up for cooling- they are low in the wall and cold air sinks. 70 years ago, this made sense because they only heated the house and hot air rises. What the Breeze would need to do to really help me would be to shoot the air up at an angle so the cool air would ‘rain’ down in the room, like what a  ceiling fan does. The unit probably works better in high or floor mounts, but it was not the solution I was hoping for in my case. Maybe I needed more units, but really do not see how that would help.

 

Product Information

Price:$59.95 to 65.95, depending on vent cover size
Manufacturer:AirFlow Technology
Pros:
  • Easy to assemble and install
  • Low-voltage fans save on energy use
  • Probably helps in many conditions
Cons:
  • Did not notice a difference in my house
  • Noisy
  • Vent cover is smaller than old cover

Comments

  1. 1
    scott says:

    Perhaps the holes are not pre-drilled into the cover so a floor vent installation would not reveal unused holes.

  2. 2
    guy508 says:

    I thought this would work well but also found it way too noisy and not moving any more air than the vent already did. What a waste.

  3. 3

    I don’t see how you can live with an 80 degree house.

    I suppose if the humidity were only 29%. Here in NC, the only time humidity is that low is when it’s winter.

    In our house we either use box fans or oscillating fans close to the register to help circulate the A/C better. They’re about $10-15 at Dollar General.

  4. 4
    Mark Adkins says:

    Scott- I admit I did not think about floor mounts, but I am not sure I would want a plastic face plate in a floor mounted situation.

    Tyler- 80F is the living room. Some other rooms were running in the mid-70’s, and the relative humidity in those rooms was higher since the warmer air can hold more. It was pretty muggy nonetheless.

  5. 5
    Ken Zweigel says:

    Sounds like you tried to solve an extreme situation with a product designed for more normal differences in temperature. After a dozen years working in a 12’x10′ home office that is noticeably warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter, I finally found a solution that keeps the office much closer to the temperature of the rest of the house. On the hottest days of this summer, I did not have to work without a shirt and I do not feel like I enter a sauna when I now walk into the room. I do not have a thermometer in the office to give exact temperature differences, but I can tell you that in my case the AirFlow Breeze has made a tremendous difference in the comfort of my office. Any fan will make noise, just like a window air conditioner, so that comment seems a bit unfair and exaggerated. Yes, it makes noise, but it’s not that loud. I always keep the fan on and no longer notice the noise, but I definitely do notice the cool breeze that now steadily flows into a room that previously never had any air movement. It certainly works for me and has a big difference in my summer comfort.

  6. 6

    For the majority of our customers, the AirFlow Breeze register booster fan is a very good soluiton for moving a room 5 to 7 degrees in the summer or winter. It sounds like your home may not be a good candidate for the AirFlow Breeze. This is sometimes the case. Although we have thousands of satisfied customers, there are times that the Breeze does not solve the problem. This is why we provide a 30 day trial period with a full refund if the customer is not satisfied. In your case, I suggest you consider an in-line duct fan found on our web site, http://www.aftproducts.com. The duct fan may provide a better solution to your situation since there are a variety of sizes.

  7. 7
    Mark Adkins says:

    Anyone’s mileage may vary, and I DID forget to mention the generous return policy.

    Just FYI- my living room is under 20×25 with an 8′ ceiling. I do not think of it as ‘extreme’. The perceived volume of a machine depends on many variables. I tried to be as objective as I could be. It is louder than the 6″ AC fan we use in the room (which works to cool things off nicely), and did require us to boost the TV to compensate.

  8. 8
    Vince Otten says:

    As a 33-year veteran HVAC contractor and instructor, I can tell you that “booster fans” work… but only if you install them in the branch line where it comes off the main duct. There, it will actually have some air to move, whereas the wall/floor-mounted unit is basically “sucking a vacuum,” as it were. If you are going to install a booster at the branch connection to the main duct, be sure as well that you buy a quality *plastic* unit, not steel. That’s right: this is one time plastic (probably resin, actually) is a lot quieter, solider, and more durable than a steel unit. Here in Ontario, Canada, the steel units can be had for about $25 for a 6″ round pipe, whereas the recommended plastic ones run about $125 each (that’s contractor’s cost price). They are quiet and energy-efficient enough to run 24/7, although as a contractor, I wire them in to run only when the furnace (or air conditioner) fan does. They can make a *big* difference when installed properly: I have measured ducts that delivered 10 CFM before and 60 CFM after, for example.

    Vince

  9. 9
    Mark Adkins says:

    Vince: that makes a lot of sense. The more I play with this idea, the more I can see the value of getting someone involved who can look at the house and systems as a whole to help figure out the best overall solutions for all seasons.

  10. 10

    [...] reviewed an earlier model of the AirFlow Breeze and was not greatly impressed, but the addition of a temperature sensor in the ‘Ultra’ [...]

  11. 11
    Stefan says:

    My room is directly above the garage. Therefore, in the winter my room is ALWAYS colder than the rest of the house. Just as it’s always hotter in the summer. A gadget like this is perfectly suited for what I need. I noticed some people bought them and just installed them hoping to help with utility costs, and then slammed the product, lol. Well, the whole reason this gadget exists is for situations like mine and/or Ken Zweigel, designed by need!

Leave a Reply