What’s Causing Poor Airflow Through My HVAC System?

Proper airflow is very important to the operation of your HVAC system. When airflow is lacking, you won’t feel the comfortable temperatures you’re expecting inside your home. Aside from wrecking your comfort, poor airflow can be damaging to your system, as the issues causing airflow problems can increase stress to your system and potentially cause breakdowns.

Poor airflow could be caused by a number of system issues. Below are some of the possible culprits behind poor airflow in your home.

dirty_air_filtersPossible Cause: A clogged air filter

If your air filter is clogged with dust, pet dander, and other debris, air will not flow through your HVAC system correctly. Once you notice poor airflow, the first thing you should check is your air filter, as it’s an easy fix to correct – if you find your filter is clogged, simply remove it and replace with a new one, or give it a good cleaning if you have a reusable filter.

Possible Cause: Blocked vents

If vents have been covered or closed, airflow will be restricted in the surrounding areas. If you notice poor airflow, check the vents and return air grills throughout your home to make sure all register dampers are open and that no vents have been blocked with items such as furniture or rugs.

Possible Cause: Blower motor malfunction

The blower motor is a component of your HVAC system that moves conditioned air from the heating and cooling units into your living areas. If it isn’t working properly, you’ll suffer from low or lack of airflow. Issues that can affect the blower motor include worn down bearings, a dirty blower wheel, and loose belts, among other problems. If your system has power and your thermostat is set correctly to trigger the system to come on yet your blower motor doesn’t engage, it’s likely the problem behind your airflow issue, and you should call your HVAC professional for repairs.

Possible Cause: Limit switch malfunction

The limit switch is a component which controls your blower motor; it signals the blower motor to turn on or off as needed to circulate the conditioned air generated by your HVAC systems. If the limit switch is damaged, it will not properly control your blower motor and you’ll be left with poor airflow. An HVAC professional will be able to effectively diagnose limit switch malfunctions and replace it if needed.

Possible Cause: Ductwork problems

When ductwork problems are present, you’ll likely suffer from poor airflow throughout the home, or even no airflow in certain areas. Duct leaks allow conditioned air to exit the duct system before reaching your living areas. Not only will you have poor airflow, but your HVAC systems will overwork to compensate for the energy loss. When duct sections become loose and detach, areas within your home may have no airflow because all the conditioned air which should be moving to those areas is not spilling into unconditioned spots. If you can access your home’s ductwork easily, you may be able to spot duct problems, though it’s best to work with an HVAC professional who can improve the functionality and efficiency of your duct system.