Heating and Cooling

5 Common Causes for Low Airflow

Do you have issues with low airflow in your home? There are many possible reasons why this might be happening, and here are five common causes for low airflow and what you can do to fix them.

A dirty air filter
If you have an air filter that’s dirty, it can cause low airflow. Not only does it restrict airflow, but it causes your entire HVAC system to work harder, not as efficiently as possible. It is also harder to remove pollutants from your home’s indoor air (contaminants like dust mites, mold, pet dander, dead skin, allergens, viruses and more). Depending on the type of air filter you use and how much your system runs, it is best to clean or replace it every 30-90 days.

An air filter that is too efficient

When an air filter is too efficient, it can cause low airflow. You can check your air filter’s effectiveness by reviewing its Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. Ratings range from 1 (the lowest filtration possible) to 20 (the highest filtration possible). Simply put, the higher the MERV rating on an air filter, the fewer dust particles and contaminants that can pass through it and vice versa.

MERV ratings might lead you to believe that high efficiency air filters are the way to go. However, they can work so well sometimes that they cause your HVAC system to be less efficient because they block too much airflow. This leads to higher energy bills and could damage your furnace if it overheats. What is the best air filter for your home? One that removes the most airborne pollutants but enables your HVAC system to do its job without strain. Learn more about the four main types of air filters and which is best for your home.

Issues with your ductwork

When ductwork is installed in a home, each duct run is supposed to bring a particular amount of air to each space of your home. However, ductwork is sometimes installed in ways that cause low airflow. For instance, if the air has to travel a long way and/or travel through turns and bends in the ducts, the harder it will be for the air to get where it is supposed to go. More ductwork issues include if any duct runs are blocked, damaged or disconnected; if your ductwork has holes or cracks, causing air leakage; if your ductwork is too big or too small; or if your ducts are dirty. Not only do all of these issues cause low airflow, but they cause reduced comfort in your home and higher energy bills for your wallet too.

Closed or blocked air vents
People often think they can lower their energy bill by closing air vents that they don’t use frequently. The problem when you do this is you cause low airflow and actually make your HVAC system work harder to circulate air throughout your house. An HVAC system that is working hard strains your equipment and raises your energy bills. You should also make sure your vents and registers aren’t blocked by furniture.

An air conditioner that is the wrong size

Size matters when it comes to your air conditioner. Air conditioners cool your home and dehumidify it, the latter of which takes longer to accomplish. However, when you have an oversized air conditioning unit, it won’t run for very long because it will cool off the house quickly and then turn off, not having a chance to fully dehumidify the house and making it feel stuffy. You also don’t want a unit that is too small to cool your home because it will run constantly, trying to cool the entire house, and will run up your energy bill. A properly-sized unit will work much more efficiently to cool your home, not running too little or too much. It will help your energy bill and make your home less susceptible to moisture issues.

It is best to have an HVAC professional identify the best size for your home. They will calculate the required size for your air conditioner by doing a Manual J load calculation, which is a detailed analysis of your home’s central air conditioning and heating needs based on factors such as your home’s square footage, ceiling height, the type of insulation you have, the type of windows you have, the climate in which you live, if you have a basement or slab, what color your roof is, etc.

Stiles Heating & Cooling can check your HVAC system and ductwork for any of these issues and correct them. Contact us today to start improving your low airflow.

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