Why Does My HVAC Have Poor Airflow?
Adequate airflow is vital to the performance of any forced-air heating and cooling system. If your home experiences hot and cold spots, drafty rooms, or low airflow from supply registers, you may have an airflow problem. If you ignore the issue for too long, it could lead to comfort problems or eventual compressor failure.
Fortunately, it’s often quite easy to detect and correct airflow problems. For more help, contact AIS Heating & Air Conditioning at (510) 792-4328.
10 Reasons for Poor HVAC Airflow
- Obstructed Condensing Unit: The AC component sitting outside your home is called the condensing unit. It has the critical job of releasing the heat removed from your home. If bushes, fencing, or other items overcrowd the unit, it has no room to breathe. Trim back vegetation and remove obstructions to increase airflow.
- Dirty Condenser Coils: The condensing unit can also become clogged with leaves, grass clippings, pine needles, and other debris. If the condensing unit looks dirty, hose it down to improve its performance.
- Blocked Air Vents: Make sure your furniture, rugs, and drapes don’t block the return and supply registers. Also, refrain from closing any vents, even in unoccupied rooms, because this can compromise HVAC airflow.
- Clogged Air Filter: The filter is responsible for removing dust and debris from the air as it circulates around your home. Replace the filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent it from becoming overly clogged and restricting airflow.
- Ductwork Leaks or Obstructions: The joints between duct sections can develop leaks, reducing the amount of air that flows to your supply registers. Accumulated debris, rodent nests, and other obstructions can also block airflow. A ductwork inspection may reveal if you have any of these problems.
- Malfunctioning Thermostat: If your air conditioner short-cycles, a faulty thermostat could be to blame. Short-cycling is when the unit turns on and off too frequently, resulting in poor airflow and comfort problems.
- Sluggish Blower Motor: Without a zippy fan, HVAC airflow is sure to suffer. The fan may slow down if its blades are coated with grime or the motor starts giving out. Fortunately, both problems are relatively easy to fix.
- Low Refrigerant: Air conditioners come with the proper refrigerant charge, but after years of use, a leak may develop. As the charge decreases, so does cooling performance. An AC technician can check for and repair leaks to get your air conditioner back up to speed.
- Oversized Air Conditioner: Years ago, AC units were installed with the notion that “bigger is better.” However, oversized air conditioners are prone to short-cycling, meaning they don’t run long enough to adequately remove humidity. If you have a stuffy, clammy interior, this might be why.
- Poor Ductwork Design: Older homes or those with converted attics and other additions are more likely to have undersized air ducts or a meandering ductwork layout. Fortunately, it’s possible to modify existing ductwork to improve HVAC airflow and home comfort.
Mitigate Airflow Problems with HVAC Maintenance
If your home has any symptoms of poor airflow, and simple remedies don’t fix the problem, schedule air conditioner maintenance with AIS as soon as possible. Our HVAC technicians perform essential preventative measures to keep your home cool and comfortable:
- Replace the filter
- Check the ductwork for leaks and recommend air sealing if necessary
- Measure the voltage output from the thermostat
- Clean and balance the fan
- Clean the condenser coils
- Measure the refrigerant and fix any leaks
- Recommend a different equipment size or new duct installation if needed
We’ll test the airflow before and after completing a maintenance visit to make sure the problem is fixed.
For more help improving HVAC airflow, or to schedule air conditioning maintenance in the Bay Area, please contact AIS today at (510) 792-4328.