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What Causes HVAC Airflow Issues?

Few things are as stress-inducing as HVAC airflow issues on days when temperatures are extreme. If it’s boiling outside, the feel of cold air on your skin can force a sigh of relief, and if temperatures are freezing, warm air can help you feel safe and secure from the elements.

But what if the air isn’t flowing? What if the air from your vents isn’t the typical welcoming breeze or warm wind you’ve grown accustomed to? Sometimes HVAC airflow issues can arise from factors further down the line of our HVAC system. For example, faulty devices or clogged filters can also cause lessened airflow. The truth is, there are numerous reasons why the air current coming from your HVAC system may be weaker than usual, and to help you better understand some of those reasons, A&R Plumbing, Heating, and Air has compiled a list of possible issues.

1. Dirty Air Filters Can Contribute To HVAC Airflow Issues

Air filters need to be changed routinely, usually every 90 days. Failing to do so can cause problems for your HVAC system. A filter packed with dust and other debris particles makes it hard for air to pass through. Imagine using a straw for drinking your favorite beverage; now, imagine someone putting two or three coffee filters between your mouth and the straw. The liquid comes into the filters, and you must work hard to drink. This is similar to the effects that your HVAC system encounters when the air filter is clogged. Air has a hard time passing through it, and your HVAC system has to work harder to pull the same amount of air through its ducts.

Dirty air filters don’t just cause HVAC airflow issues; they can also cause problems with air quality. A dirty air filter can’t do its job, and the air in your home will become stuffy and filled with particles that aren’t being pulled into the filter, which can also lead to issues throughout your HVAC system as those particles move through the ductwork.

2. Clogged Ductwork can restrict Airflow

Speaking of ductwork, problems along your HVAC systems pathways can also cause a loss of airflow within your home. If particles and debris are being moved through these spaces and not picked up by the filter, you could run into a more significant issue, like your ducts becoming clogged. Those particles collect inside your ducts and begin to form obstructions that air has to move through. These obstructions can redirect air to other vents and sometimes cause rips or tears to appear within your ductwork. When this happens, your air will start to find its way into unoccupied spaces within your home, and you’ll find yourself less comfortable and wasting money.

3. Covered Vents Will result in HVAC Airflow Issues

Keeping with the theme of blocked and clogged components, blocked vents can sometimes contribute to air loss. When people first move into a home, the air vents may not be the first thing they look for. More often than not, the number of electrical outlets is counted in a room before the air vents, leading to poor planning and an interior design that doesn’t accommodate the airflow within the home. Frequently, vents are blowing on top of a cabinet or from under a bed. You might place a rug over a floor vent and a couch on top of the rug. Furniture and decor can be just as much a problem as clogged ducts or air filters. Be mindful of your air vents when deciding on your living space’s layout.

4. A Broken Thermostat Can Compound Problems

Sometimes, the issue isn’t caused by a clogged air filter, blocked vent, or obstructed ductwork. You can find the problem lies with your thermostat every once in a while. These devices can wear out over time. They can also run out of batteries or be damaged by an accident-prone passerby. In homes with small children, it’s not uncommon to find a damaged thermostat. Because they protrude from the wall, they are easy targets for Nerf guns, bouncy balls, or still developing spatial awareness. Whatever the case, a faulty thermostat can create issues with airflow. A&R Plumbing, Heating, and Air always recommend starting your search here before assuming it’s a much bigger issue.

5. Some Airflow Issues are Caused by Oversized AC Units

Newer units tend to be sized correctly, and this issue is becoming less common. Homes with older units may be experiencing airflow problems due to their HVAC system being oversized for the current home. Product trends come and go. Misinformation can lead consumers to buy into things they think they need but don’t. In the case of HVAC systems twenty years ago, consumers believed that if you had a more extensive system, you had a better one. If your HVAC system is disproportionately sized for your dwelling, you may notice it turning on for a moment and then quickly turning off again. When this happens, you may feel small bursts of air coming from your vent. Not only is this economically inefficient, but the unit isn’t working as intended and can cause more problems.

Call A&R for Regular Inspections and Cleanings

Many of these issues don’t have to become issues. Regular HVAC system cleanings and inspections can ensure your system is running efficiently. Don’t let clogged ducts and broken thermostats ruin your home. Contact us today to get those airflow issues resolved.