The historically cold temperatures that the Chicago area has endured this year make it even more important than ever to make sure that your air duct system is running properly to heat your home. Sometimes air duct systems may have airflow issues that could negatively affect indoor air quality and energy efficiency. These problems can be caused by several factors, some of which may be corrected quite easily while others require a more complicated solution. The following are common air flow problems with solutions on how to remedy the problem.
Air leaks within the air duct system can be repaired by the homeowner and doing so will result in an immediate and noticeable improvement in airflow. The air duct system is connected by sleeves that are screwed on to each other but sometimes these sections are not airtight, allowing air to be drawn in or escape at the joints. To fix this problem, seal the joints with a mastic or sealant that is acceptable for use on air ducts.
Distance between Components
Furnaces and air conditioners draw and push air through the air duct system with a strong force but as the airflow gets further away from the component, its strength becomes weaker. This can become a problem in poorly designed or installed air duct systems as the air coming out of the vents will be too weak to adequately heat or cool homes. Sometimes this problem can be remedied with modifications that provide greater air volume but most of the time the best way to solve this problem is by installing zones within the air duct system that can regulate airflow.
Low Volume of Return Air
For air duct systems to function properly, they must draw in air from the home through return vents to be conditioned and blown back out of the supply vents. A shortage of return vents will result in less return air which will slow the circulation of air in the home. Installing return vents in areas with low airflow will greatly improve the overall airflow of the air duct system.
Dirty Fan Blower
Furnaces and air conditioners contain a fan-blower within them that is responsible for distributing air. As dust and debris accumulate on the blades of the fan blower, its ability to effectively distribute air is compromised. Make sure to clean the fan-blower in the furnace and air conditioner each year for better airflow.
Dirty Air Conditioner Coil
In homes with central air conditioning, the air is cooled by an evaporator coil that is typically found above the furnace. This coil works by absorbing heat to cool the air but as it collects dust and debris, it becomes much less effective and leads to decreases in airflow. Evaporator coils should be cleaned yearly to maximize their effectiveness and improve airflow.
Poorly Sized HVAC System
Before an HVAC system is installed into a home, the installers perform a load calculation to determine how many BTU’s are needed to effectively heat and cool the home. If the HVAC system installed is not the right size for the home, it could lead to serious airflow issues. The load calculation of your HVAC system can be determined by an HVAC technician to ensure that your system is the right size for your home.
Crushed or Disconnected Air Ducts
If a duct in the system becomes crushed or disconnected, it could completely disrupt or severely limit the airflow. This typically occurs as a result of a bad installation job. To inspect for crushed or disconnected ducts, remove the air vent and look into the ventilation line using a flashlight. If you find a disconnection that can be reached, simply reconnect it with sheet metal screws and seal it. If you discover a crushed air duct, replace it with a new piece of ductwork. If a crushed or disconnected duct cannot be reached or seen, it may be best to get professional help.
If the airflow of your air duct system is not what you feel it should be, check for these problems and solve them if they can be easily fixed. For problems that are more difficult, contact Green T Air Duct Cleaning for help.