Trying to heat or cool your home in Grand Bay, AL, depends on keeping air flowing freely. Why is airflow so important, and what can you do to improve it in your home and HVAC system?

Why Airflow Matters

Your system depends on its ability to circulate air through both the HVAC system and your home. The circulating fan draws air in through the return vents, creating low pressure at those points. It then conditions it and pushes it back out, creating high pressure at the output vents.

It’s this difference in pressure that creates air movement around your home while the system runs. This helps the entire home get properly heated or cooled and keeps the air from stagnating.

Inside your system, the air must be able to move without restriction to create these pressure differences. Any restriction reduces your system’s efficiency, resulting in longer run cycles. It also adds strain to your system, causing preventable heating and AC repairs and a shorter service life.

Open and Unblock Vents

The first step to making sure you have good airflow through your home is to make sure all vents are open and unblocked. Closed or blocked vents prevent the pressure difference from creating circulation.

In terms of unblocking your vents, there should be both space above and around each floor vent and if ceiling vents are used, they should not be blocked by curtains or furniture. The idea is to leave at least a couple inches clearance around each of your vents.

Check Your Air Filter

Next, check and replace your air filters regularly. As air flows into your system, airborne contaminants collect on the filter, eventually restricting the moving air through it.

Most filters need a replacement about every 90 days, though your air quality and filter type may be different. Checking your filter monthly ensures you catch the filter before it restricts airflow too much and strains your system.

While inspecting your filters, gently vacuum the intake side to remove loose debris and extend its service life. Be sure you only vacuum the intake side, as trying to pull the contaminants through the filter will damage it.

Check Your Ducts

Your ducts are another possible problem with getting the right pressure and circulation through your home. Not only do you need to think about contaminants collecting in your ducts, but also the integrity of the ducts themselves.

As your system runs, it creates vibrations that loosen parts like the duct mounting straps. Once these loosen, that same vibration may cause wear on the ducts that lead to leaks.

These leaks allow air to flow out from the ducts, reducing the pressure are the output vents. Consider having your ducts inspected and professionally sealed periodically to ensure there are no leaks, reducing your system’s efficiency.

Keep Up on Routine Maintenance

Every HVAC system needs maintenance to continue operating at the rated efficiency. Most manufacturers consider this so important they require it as a term of maintaining their warranty.

This maintenance ideally happens twice a year—in the spring for the AC unit and in the fall for the heating unit. The goal is to prevent airflow restrictions and catch minor problems before they grow.

During this visit, a technician will carefully clean the evaporator and condensing coils in the spring. In the fall, the primary cleaning focuses on the heat exchanger in the furnace. They also clean the circulating fan to ensure it draws the right amount of air through the system.

They’ll also tighten mounting bolts, lubricate the fan bearings, and check electrical connections. During the spring, the technician will check the refrigerant level to ensure there is enough for the system to cool properly.

Poor airflow completely ruins the comfort your system brings through both the hot and cold months. Call to schedule your HVAC maintenance with the expert technicians at Air Specialty to keep your air flowing freely.

Image provided by iStock

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