Why Is HVAC Airflow So Important For My Home?

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Heating and cooling systems require proper airflow to provide top-quality heating and cooling performance. Conditioned air flows around 1,000 cubic feet per minute in a standard home. It passes through filters, ductwork, and vents. If the system works as intended, homeowners can expect high energy efficiency, balanced temperatures, low operating expenses, and durable components. However, many homes experience HVAC airflow issues that can result in discomfort. For example, there may be uneven temperatures in your home wherein you feel overly cold in one room and warm in another.

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The Importance Of HVAC Airflow

Here are several reasons you may be experiencing HVAC airflow issues at home:

Restrictive HVAC Filters

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Air filters are needed to improve indoor air quality and keep the system from getting damaged. They can capture pollen, tobacco smoke, dust mites, dust, carpet fibers, mold spores, and bacteria. Filters protect your family’s health. However, they can only be used for a limited period. They can get thick with dirt eventually, restricting the airflow into the system. Therefore, they need to be replaced periodically to avoid this. Some homes need HVAC air filters replacements more frequently. It is better to check monthly and replace it as required. 

Ensure that the filter you use is one the system can handle. Some homeowners may change to filters with high MERV ratings for indoor air quality improvement. These are better at trapping airborne particles, but they also restrict airflow more. The speed of the fan may need to be adjusted to cope. Some high-efficiency filters also need to be replaced more often. 

Leaking HVAC Ducts

Ducts may eventually develop cracks and holes. This can be caused by various reasons, such as incorrect installation, pest infestation, poor quality materials, and too much air pressure. Studies suggest that around 1/3 to 1/2 of the air in the ductwork leaks out in most homes. This is especially a problem for rooms that are furthest from the HVAC unit. The hot air from the furnace may not reach them during the cold months. The people in these rooms will feel cold even if you crank up the settings. Hire a professional to find and seal these leaks permanently. An HVAC professional can repair all leaky HVAC ducts immediately.

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Blocked HVAC Vents

Regardless of the system settings, a specific room that is not behaving normally may have vents issues. Therefore, check the vents leading to these rooms. Maybe an object is blocking them. A piece of furniture could be in front of the vents, or an extra-long curtain is blocking them. The previous occupant may have also closed the grates. Check if the situation improves when you remove the blockage. Otherwise, move on to the other issues listed here.

Closed Damper Valve

All HVAC systems have a means of regulating airflow. Many depend on damper valves to increase or decrease the flow of air to certain zones. For example, they can also stop the airflow if there is no one in a room. Some have manual controls, while others will automatically move based on the thermostat’s programming. If you can find the manual dampers, see if they are positioned correctly. Utilize the lever if you need to adjust them. For faulty automatic dampers, it’s better to ask for professional assistance from an HVAC contractor who can look into the electrical system.

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Crushed Flex Duct

Air ducts are made of different materials. Thick metal is used by many because of its durability. Others may be made of flexible plastics, especially bends. Using plastic has its merits, but these ducts are more likely to get damaged. Accidentally stepping on a flex duct can crush it, and the flattened shape means air cannot flow through as easily. If you can access these ducts, you can try returning them to their original shape. However, if they have cracks and holes, have an HVAC professional immediately replace them.

Improperly Sized Ductwork

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HVAC systems are made of multiple components, and they all need to work together to achieve the desired results. If one part is not a match, you will encounter an issue. For instance, it may have ducts that are too large. This causes the air pressure to become too low to allow the conditioned air to travel to the farthest rooms from the source. This is like having a big hose for a small faucet. The vice-versa scenario is equally bad. The common case is that the ducts are too small, so they restrict airflow. Have an experienced HVAC contractor design the ductwork as they will scientifically analyze your home’s needs.

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Inadequate Return Air Vents

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Air from the air conditioner or furnace traveling to various parts of the house should come back. It is a closed-loop unit that depends on this cycle to work as it should. If there is an insufficient amount of air returning, some areas may have increased air pressure and reduced airflow. A new HVAC contractor needs to improve the situation if it is a system design flaw. There may be enough return vents, but some of them may not have optimal operations. This issue should be diagnosed and resolved as soon as possible.

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Airflow is essential in a high-performing HVAC unit. Imbalances in the temperature throughout the house and constant discomfort are telling signs of poor airflow. Contact an HVAC technician to determine the exact reason for the problem and make a plan to eliminate the hindrances to smooth airflow. Having the help of professionals means you can enjoy improved energy efficiency, even temperatures, and lower energy costs every month.

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