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All HVAC systems work properly as long as there is proper airflow. On average, conditioned air has a speed of about 1000 cu. ft. per minute as it passes through air filters, ductwork, and vents. As long as the whole system is working correctly, then you can expect to enjoy a high-efficiency performance that offers low operating costs and balanced temperatures. You can also expect the system to have a long lifespan. Unfortunately, airflow is one of the most common issues that involve HVAC systems. Insufficient HVAC airflow can lead to discomfort, especially since it causes uneven temperatures wherein certain areas of a house feel warmer or colder than others.
Why HVAC Airflow is Important
Airflow issues are caused by a number of factors. These include:
Restricted HVAC Filters
HVAC air filters promote indoor air quality by keeping the air clean. It also prevents damage to the HVAC system. Filters trap dust, pet, and human dander, carpet fibers, pollen, bacteria, tobacco smoke, dust mites, mold spores, and other indoor air pollutants. This is how they protect the health of the residents. Unfortunately, their usability is limited. Over time, air filters gather enough particulates to cause them to clog up. When the layer of particulates becomes too thick, airflow becomes restricted. To work properly, filters must be cleaned or replaced every two to three months or so, depending on the use. To avoid issues with airflow due to clogged filters, check your HVAC filters every month. Then, replace them when required. Not all homes are alike and will require an HVAC air filter replacement more often than others.
Of course, use only the kind of filter that is compatible with your HVAC system. Even if you switched to a high-rated MERV filter, it may not always be the best option for you because these types of filters are more restrictive. As a result, the fan speed of your HVAC system will have to be adjusted just to cope with the higher airflow demand. High-efficiency filters also need to be replaced more often.
Leaking HVAC Ducts
Over time, ducts could develop gaps, cracks, and holes. This is usually due to age, pest infestation, excessive air pressure, improper installation, and poor-quality materials. Studies show 1/3-1/2 of the air caused by HVAC duct leaks escapes out of the ductwork network. Leaks are particularly common in rooms that are farthest from the HVAC source. Since the warm air travels from the furnace and through the vents, leaks may prevent warm air from being released. This is particularly troublesome during winter. People who stay in the rooms farthest from the source will still feel cold even if you cranked up the temperature. You will need the help of professionals to locate and fix these leaks. If you have this problem, call your local HVAC contractor and have your ducts inspected immediately.
Blocked HVAC Vents
Rooms that remain cold regardless of the temperature setting may have blocked vents. Blockages usually occur when a chair or sofa is placed in front of the vent. It is also likely that the end of a curtain is blocking the air or that the grate was closed. Check the vents for any object that may be blocking the opening, then either remove or replace it. Observe if the temperature within the room improves. If not, then the issue may be caused by something else.
Closed Damper Valve
HVAC systems have a built-in airflow regulator. Most models use damper valves to either decrease or increase airflow to specific zones. If the room is unoccupied, the system can stop the flow. Some systems require manual control while other types are automatic, using the programming on the thermostat as a basis for adjusting temperatures. If an automatic damper is malfunctioning, call your HVAC contractor so your electrical system can be checked.
Crushed Flex Duct
Air ducts are made of different materials. Most ducts are made from durable metal while others may be made from flexible plastic, especially for the connectors or bends. Although plastic has advantages, it is not as durable as metal or steel and will succumb to damage eventually. If you happen to step on the duct, it could become crushed due to weight. The distorted shape will make it difficult for air to flow smoothly. You could, of course, attempt to repair the ducts yourself. However, if there are holes, cracks, and gaps, it is better to have your HVAC technician replace the material immediately.
Improper Ductwork Size
HVAC systems are made up of many different parts. They need to fit to ensure that the system is working properly. If some parts are incompatible with the rest, such as when the ducts are too large, problems occur. In this case, the air pressure will be too low, which means that the system will fail to deliver the air to the farthest rooms in the house. This is similar to attaching a big hose to a small faucet. If ducts are too small, they will restrict airflow. This is why ductwork is only designed and installed by trained and experienced HVAC contractors who use scientific analysis to determine the correct size of the materials for the ducts.
Insufficient Return Air Vents
When air is released from the AC or the furnace, it is circulated throughout the house. Eventually, it will come back to the HVAC system. This closed-loop system relies on the cycle to be able to work correctly. If, however, there is insufficient return air, some areas of the home may have higher air pressure. This situation will also reduce airflow. If a flaw is found in the system design, it is important to find a new HVAC contractor and have the system fixed. If there is a sufficient number of return vents but some do not work correctly, then the heating and AC contractor must identify the issue to rectify it right away.
Airflow is a critical factor that affects the optimal performance of an HVAC system. Frequent discomfort and temperature imbalances are usually symptoms of poor airflow. To determine what the problem is, ask an HVAC contractor to help you. The HVAC contractor will identify the issue and find the proper solution to the problem. Once these corrective measures are in place, you can begin to enjoy increased energy efficiency, even temperatures, and lower energy bills.
Contact Hart Home Comfort For Your Home Heating Needs Today
Hart Home Comfort provides premium HVAC services and heating oil deliveries throughout Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Queens, New York. Our certified technicians can help with HVAC installations, tune-ups, repairs, and replacements. Besides providing excellent service, our techs have the expertise and experience required for serving HVAC systems correctly.
Hart Home Comfort also guarantees competitive rates for heating and cooling services in your area. With our maintenance service, you can enhance your comfort while boosting energy efficiency and decreasing the cost of heating and cooling your home. If you need to replace or repair your HVAC, we’ll give you the best recommendation while sticking to your budget. All work comes with a satisfaction guarantee, so book a service appointment by giving Hart Home Comfort a call today. Our in-home estimates are free.