Proper airflow in an HVAC system ensures that conditioned air reaches every corner of a home. If the airflow is disturbed for some reason, parts or all of a house may become less than comfortable due to a lack of heated or cooled air.
Conditioned air flows through ducts throughout a home. When these ducts become blocked by dust or are improperly installed, it can lead to drastically decreased airflow. This is not the only source of airflow problems, but it is the most important one.
Friction and Turbulence in Ducts
When air flows through ducts, two forces act upon it, which can reduce airflow. These forces are friction and turbulence. Too much of either one can decrease the amount of air that makes it through the ductwork to reach the home, especially areas of the structure that are farther from the beginning of the duct system.
The rubbing of air against the sides of the duct causes friction. The most common type of duct used in heating and air conditioning systems is the flex duct. This type of duct has many folds to allow it to be stretched and bent into any needed shape. However, if these ducts are not stretched out tightly, they can generate a lot of friction and reduce airflow.
Turbulence is generated when air is forced to turn. Essentially, it pushes against itself, reducing its forward momentum. Turbulence becomes a problem if the corners in a duct system are not properly set up. Too many corners, or corners which use an elbow with a square edge inside the turn instead of a curved edge, generate a lot of turbulence and result in less airflow.
Other Causes of Weak Air Flow
While too much turbulence or friction within the ductwork of an HVAC system is the primary cause of insufficient airflow, there are other explanations as well. One simple reason for reduced airflow is that air registers, or vents, are closed.
Clean Filters and Fans
Before you worry, check the air vents. One may have inadvertently closed. Another common problem that results in weakened airflow is a clogged air filter. Heating and air conditioning systems incorporate one or more filters to catch particulates as air flows through them, improving air quality in the home. As an air filter traps dust and other small particles, it becomes clogged. Too much dirt buildup on a filter can prevent proper airflow.
If the fans responsible for blowing air through the system are broken, then air will not be passing through the system. Even a dirty fan will reduce efficiency, decreasing airflow.
Maintenance Is Key to Proper Air Flow
Like most mechanisms, efficiency may be decreased by several factors. To keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter, inspect your filters, fans, and vents. Maintaining your HVAC this way can mean a much longer lifespan.
If you need assistance with yearly maintenance, contact the HVAC experts at Emergency Air Heating Cooling & Plumbing. Ask us about how you can save money on monthly energy costs with regularly scheduled maintenance.