HVAC Airflow Circulation: How to Keep Your Ducts Clean and Your Home Comfortable

July 16th, 2015 by admin

As we enter the peak of the summer, keeping your home adequately cool can be a challenge, especially if your HVAC unit isn’t functioning at maximum efficiency. You must be sure that your unit is receiving adequate airflow so that it can, in turn, produce air to heat or cool your home. A balance is necessary. If this balance is disturbed and you notice that your unit is not performing the way that it should, you could have an issue of airflow restriction or leakage. 

 

The Cost of a Limited Airflow

If an airflow leakage or restriction reduces the amount of air circulating throughout your home, you spend more money as you struggle to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Energy Star claims that on average, almost 20% of the air in a given duct system escapes through leaks, holes, and broken duct seams. This isn’t just air leaking out of your unit — it’s your money. Correcting the airflow is a must if you want to stay comfortable without raising your utility bills.

Creating a Balanced Airflow

In order for your unit to function correctly, sufficient airflow must be provided, as internal mechanisms of the HVAC system suffer greatly from a lack of airflow. If air is not adequately passed over a system’s inner heat exchanger and coils, its performance — and your wallet — suffers. This more internal aspect of airflow, however, can be difficult to diagnose and correct without proper equipment and monitoring; air may be leaking from any area of your system, or the air may not be getting to your unit at all.

If your unit is not receiving enough air, it is likely not producing enough air, either. This is the second aspect of an airflow limitation. Depending on the season, you may notice that certain rooms or areas of your home feel much too cold or excessively hot — this is a result of a lack of heated or cooled air coming through your vents and is an indication that you’re dealing with an imbalanced airflow.

If the problem is a leak in your ducts, you may also notice an increase of dust in the rooms being heated or cooled by your system. Leaks could be sucking dust from more remote areas of your house in which the ducts are located and blowing it out through your vents.

The air that flows into your unit affects the air that flows out of your unit through your vents, and both are crucial to the health of your system. If you notice the above signs of a limited airflow or see an unexplained spike in your utility bills, you need to address the possible lack of air in your heating and air conditioning system.

How to Clean and Prevent Airflow Issues

The following suggestions will help keep air moving efficiently through your unit and your home.

  • Make sure your vents are uncovered so that air is able to enter the room. Curtains, furniture, or any household items could be blocking the vents and restricting airflow.
  • Change the unit’s air filter at least once a month. This filter keeps dirt and dust from entering the system, but, once full, the filter can block airflow to the unit.
  • Check for leaks in the visible parts of your system, especially in broken or roughly sealed seams on the air handler.
  • Flex ducts should be pulled tight and straight and supported with straps. This reduces friction in the air passing through the ducts and decreases the likelihood that airflow will be hindered — better yet, use rigid ducts made of smooth metal.
  • Opt for curved duct elbows. These reduce turbulence as air travels around corners and will increase the pressure of airflow into your living space.

These tips will keep your unit functioning more effectively, but a professional diagnostic is necessary in order to determine the specific airflow issues in your system. To find out more about measuring the air pressure in your vents, locating leaks, and correcting blockages, call JK Mechanical at 800-JKM-0028. Our professionals can make sure that your unit is functioning at its highest capacity and keep you from overpaying for your utilities all year round.

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