What’s Blocking Your Airflow?
If your air conditioning system is having airflow problems, you are probably already aware of it. In the heat of summer, if your A/C is not reaching all parts of your house, you’re are experiencing some of the following:
- Hot spots
- Stale air in certain rooms
- Your house isn’t cooling to the set temperature
Unfortunately, if the issue is ducting and isn’t addressed, it can lead to early failures, higher operating costs, and even air quality issues leading to mold or mildew issues because of sweating duct systems. To help improve your airflow as well as possibly avoid future damages, here’s 5 things you can check yourself.
1. Dirty Air Filters
Everyone knows you’re supposed to change your filters, but we all find it much harder to remember when to do it. A dirty filter in your return is like a clogged artery… your system will not get the air it needs to operate properly and will cause it to fail early. The simple solution is to just replace the filter. Unless you know your filters are large enough to pass the required air, use the cheap blue filters and ask an expert if higher quality filters will work correctly. It’s inexpensive and most people can change their filters themselves.
If this is a chronic problem though, you may be able to upgrade your filtration unit itself to improve both air flow AND air quality. If you are interested in an upgrade, we recommend something like the Trane Media or CleanEffects filter systems. If you’re interested, ask your technician if this is an option available to you.
2. Blocked Condenser Unit Coil
This is a very common problem that will cause your air conditioner to not work correctly. In simple terms, this means your air conditioning unit outside is surrounded by too much foliage or other debris preventing air from passing over your coils to remove heat. Bushes, storage, or other items as well as dog hair, grass clippings, or dirt on the coil will block up your unit’s ventilation, causing it to overheat.
Make sure your unit has at least 2 feet of clearance in every direction to be safe. The more room you give it to “breathe” the better it will be able to cool your house.
3. Blocked Air Vents and Shut Doors
If you are the only one living in your house or working in your office, this would rarely be an issue…
In spaces with multiple occupants (and multiple temperature preferences), people close vents and doors to change the temperature in their space. This may help them get to their comfort zone, but it affects the rest of the house or office space. Central HVAC systems are designed to circulate air, not just pump it into each room. If you or others are in the habit of closing vents and doors, it will affect the air flow to the rest of the house.
Even more, it will raise your energy bills as your system tries even harder to get air into the blocked areas.
4. Refrigerant Levels Are Too Low
Freon in your cooling system is in a sealed system so the only time you should add refrigerant is if you have a leak or are replacing a part in that loop. If your refrigerant levels get too low from leaking, your air conditioner will have circulation issues, cause the system to freeze up, ultimately blow warmer air, and higher energy costs so tune-ups generally pay for themselves in terms of both money and comfort in no time.
If you’re not an HVAC expert, you should have a local HVAC expert test and clean or service your system. We recommend you ask for a tune-up from your local service provider (and look for specials when you do).
5. Your System Needs an Update
This is the last resort option for most people who are having HVAC problems, but it’s worth considering if you’ve been consistently frustrated with your current unit. Over time, your system will lose its efficiency in both cost and performance, and eventually, it will need to be replaced.
If you’re not sure if your system needs a new update, feel free to give us a call or check out this checklist to see if your system needs fresh legs. We will do everything we can to help you avoid a full replacement unless keeping your unit (and continuously repairing it) will cost you more than the price of a new system. We will always do what is in your best interest.