Does it seem like your house won’t cool off, no matter how much you run your air conditioner? Are single rooms in your home really struggling to get the cooler air your air conditioner pumps in? Does it seem like you can never feel the cool air coming into your home, no matter where you point your vents or arrange them? While you may think something is wrong with your air conditioning unit, there’s a good chance you may be suffering from an air flow issue. Airflow could be impacted by several factors, so let’s take a look at them in more detail to help you figure out if any of them are what’s affecting your home.
Perhaps the simplest fix for bad air flow is also one that any homeowner can do, yet so many choose to ignore. The air filter in your furnace or air conditioner helps filter out any dust, debris, pollens, allergens, and other airborne contaminants. However, as your filter accumulates debris, it will lose its ability to allow clean, filtered air through. If your air conditioner seems weak, start your search with your air filter. If it’s dirty, replace it, which you should do at least once a year anyway.
The ducts that carry cooled air around your home are extremely important—the ducts to each room should be designed in a way to allow them to receive the intended amount of air from your central air conditioning system. However, it’s fairly frequent for some duct installers to cut corners in an effort to simply get the job done and move on. This means you could have crushed, blocked, disconnected, or otherwise improperly installed ducts that don’t allow cool air to reach a particular room. This could also impact the rest of your home as well, particularly in instances of disconnections, as air simply leaks out into your walls or ceiling.
Ducts are extremely prone to damage. In fact, some estimates believe that as many as nine out of every ten homes in North America have some form of damage in their ducts, like small holes or cracks, which cause air leakage. The Department of Energy estimates that a typical duct system actually has between 35 and 50 percent leakage, meaning up to half of the cool air your system creates never makes it to an intended room. This drives up cooling costs significantly by decreasing the air flow throughout your home. While it may seem like it’s not that big of a deal because the cooled air still remains in your home, this still causes rooms you are trying to cool to remain warm, keeping your system running overtime and reducing your desired airflow amount.
A forced-air A/C system is designed to pull in air from inside your home, cool and filter it, then send it back into your home. This means that some of the vents throughout your home are return vents. In a perfect world, your HVAC system would pull the same amount of air through the return system as it outputs back into your home, working together in simultaneous harmony. However, this is rarely the case, and having improper return ventilation could mean certain areas in your home become pressurized, particularly if they also have closed windows and doors. A pressurized room will likely not receive good air flow because your system can’t force the cooler air into your room due to too much resistance. Closing vents may seem to help with this, but in fact it actually just puts additional pressure on your ducts, leading to possible damage there as well.
Your HVAC system does require a certain amount of pressure in order to work properly. Think of it like water flowing through a hose: connecting a fire hose to a typical home water tap will yield extremely low water pressure, if any at all. Meanwhile, connecting your hardware-store variety garden hose to a fire hydrant will lead to immense pressure, and possibly the hose exploding. Your HVAC system is the same way. If you have vents that are undersized for your air conditioner and the amount of air it pushes through, you could be causing a backup in your duct system that could damage it and restrict your airflow to all rooms in your home. If your ducts are too large for your air flow system, you likely will have very weak pressure since your system cannot put enough air through your ducts to force it to reach your vents.
If you are experiencing poor air flow in your home, have a Raleigh HVAC services professional inspect your system today! Call R & S Mechanical today at (919) 948-1351 to request an estimate or schedule an inspection service now.
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