10 Common HVAC Air Flow Problems Homeowners Need to Know About

hvac problems

Currently, HVAC repairs cost Americans between $150 and $450 on average. HVAC air flow problems are among the leading reasons homeowners across the country contact repair technicians. Some of the commonest HVAC issues homeowners report include:

  • Little or No Air flow – in this case, you can’t feel air blowing from your registers
  • Hot and Cold Spots – specific areas in your home are cool when they should be cold or vice versa.
  • Warm Air Blows – when you are running your AC during the summer, but warm air is blowing through the register, there is an AC air flow
  • Pressure Imbalances – you feel a draft in certain areas in your house or doors slam by themselves.

The issues above are an indication that your HVAC has an air flow problem. In this article, we’ll look at ten common HVAC problems that you should know about. Read on to learn more.

1. Blocked Vents and Registers

This problem may be the result of your HVAC’s registers being covered up with laundry, furniture, toys, or other items. Simply remove the items to solve the issue. In some cases, the problem could be an inadvertently closed vent, which you only need to open.

2. A Sluggish Fan

Your HVAC unit contains blower fans that move air through the ducts and throughout your living space. When the motor of the blower is sluggish, it can block the HVAC air flow and cause problems. Sometimes, it’s the fan that’s covered with grime hence slowing its operation and impeding air flow.

The best solution, in this case, is to clean the fan.

3. A Clogged Filter

How often do you change your furnace filter? Depending on how your HVAC’s usage and manufacturer’s instructions, you need to change filters regularly. Typically, you should swap out your unit’s filter every month or quarterly.

Be sure to verify the frequency with which you should change your filter and do it as required. Often, filters get blocked with dust and debris, causing your unit to work a lot harder than it should, which could damage the unit with time.

4. Obstructed Condensing Unit

A top AC issue is when the condensing unit becomes blocked. Typically, the AC unit is on the outside of the unit. Leaves and other debris can easily obstruct outdoor units, while storage items and other equipment can block indoor units.

Obstructions can cause your unit to overheat as it does not have enough access to air. Remove leaves and debris that could be obstructing air flow in your outdoor unit or furniture and other items that could be blocking your indoor unit.

5. Blocked or Leaking Ducts

Air from the fan of your furnace flows through the duct system and comes out through the register vents. The work of the filter is to catch any dust from the furnace. If there’s any dust that’s not caught, it winds up in the ducts.

As the dust accumulates in the ducts, it can lead to build-up and make the ducts narrow, creating ductwork that’s too small for your AC’s capacity. Sometimes, the ductwork develops holes or cracks that allow the air to leak out, hence reducing air flow. 

So what do you do when you suspect that there’s dust build-up or air leakage? The best solution is to call a reputable heating and air expert to inspect the system and conduct necessary repairs.

6. Thermostat Problems

Often, HVAC air flow problems are as simple as an issue with the thermostat. It could be that the device is faulty or simply in need of new batteries. 

Where the problem is the thermostat’s batteries, then all you need to do is replace the batteries. However, if the batteries are fine, then you may want to contact a local HVAC troubleshooting professional.

7. Dirty Coils Could Also Cause HVAC Air Flow Problems

As you probably already know, your AC unit has condenser coils that release the heat that’s removed from your living space. Units in condenser units that are located outside are exposed to the elements. These coils can get so dirty that they don’t release heat.

This is an issue that requires you to contact your local HVAC technician to check and clean the coils. Also, you need to make sure that your HVAC unit is cleaned at least once each year to keep the coils clean.

8. Low Refrigerant

A reduced air flow in your home could be a pointer that there’s a refrigerant leak in your AC. Slow refrigerant leaks can lead to a gradual reduction in the performance of your AC system. This is why you need to have your system checked at least once a year. 

If you suspect that your HVAC unit has a refrigerant leak, contact an HVAC expert to check the system and repair the leak.

9. The AC Unit Is Too Big

Some people think that when it comes to an AC unit, bigger is better. The reality is that an AC that has a capacity that’s too large for your living space can be inefficient. The unit cycles on and off more frequently than it should, meaning that the humidity doesn’t get properly removed from the area.

The moment you suspect that your Ac unit is too big, contact an expert to check it out and advise you accordingly.

10. Outdated Design

When you’re doing your home renovation, you may want to upgrade your HVAC system. Otherwise, you could have issues that include an undersized or oversized HVAC unit, faulty duct placement, and so on. 

Whereas you’ve done any significant changes to the floorplan of your home, chances are your HVAC unit is no longer able to cool or heat your living space properly.

Before making any major renovations in your home, it’s beneficial to check with your local HVAC technician, so you make any necessary adjustments to your current unit and the ductwork.

Solve Your AC Troubles Now

While your heating and cooling system can experience many HVAC air flow problems, the good news is that you can mitigate them with proper preventative maintenance. One of the best things you can do is to partner with a reliable HVAC technician to help take care of your HVAC every time the need arises.

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