Restricted airflow is a massive problem for both heating and cooling systems. If your system doesn’t have proper airflow, it can create overheating, excessive component stress and even increased energy consumption that can all contribute to a compromise equipment lifespan. So, here we’ll explore some tips to improve your HVAC system airflow.
Check Your Air Filter
A clogged filter is the leading cause of poor airflow HVAC issues. Most manufacturers recommend changing HVAC air filters every three months, but in periods of heavy use, it can become clogged more quickly and thereby require more frequent replacement. Each month, check your air filter and if you can see a layer of gray dust and contaminants, clean or replace your filter.
Check Your MERV Rating
Homeowners looking to improve indoor air quality often try to install an air filter with a higher MERV rating. Unfortunately, more powerful filters can restrict airflow in your system and create problems. For residential application, up to a MERV rating of 12 should provide superior contaminant removal. You should avoid ratings of 13 or higher.
Check Your Grilles and Vents
During spring and fall, when your HVAC system is not being regularly used it is easy to allow furniture, toys, rugs and other items to encroach on your grilles and vents. Unfortunately, this creates immediate airflow problems as soon as you start using your HVAC system. Check that all your grilles and vents are free of any obstructions and that vent louvers are open. Many homeowners assume that closing off vents in unused areas can save energy, but this can compromise system performance. Closed vents can cause air to back up and damage your ducting and equipment components. A more effective way to save energy is to install a zoning system, which will allow you to control the temperature in different areas of your home.
Clean Your Condenser or Heat Pump
Outdoor components of your HVAC system are vulnerable to debris accumulation. It is very easy for grass clippings, leaves and other garden debris to build up against and inside the unit, restricting air flow. Before the cooling period begins, clean your condenser to ensure that it is free of debris and trim back any vegetation that may have started growing around the unit. Ideally, you should allow at least 2 feet of space around the unit to allow adequate air flow.
Have Your Ducts Inspected
If you’re still experiencing problems with your HVAC system, it may be worth having your ducts inspected. There are a number of duct system issues that can create problems and prevent the system from receiving adequate airflow. For example, a bird’s nest or rodents can cause a blockage in the ducts that will create airflow problems. An experienced HVAC professional will be able to fully inspect your ductwork to diagnose any airflow issues and perform any necessary repairs or maintenance.
If you have concerns about your HVAC airflow, it is worth speaking to an experienced HVAC professional, who will be able to assess your system and determine any underlying issues.