Troubleshooting Reduced Airflow In Your Home
Is optimum comfort reaching all parts of your home or are ductwork obstructions limiting proper air circulation? To maintain consistent temperatures throughout your house, your HVAC system requires free airflow: The average 1,600 square foot home needs about 1,000 cubic feet per minute of air flowing through the ducts to all rooms. If ductwork obstructions are causing reduced airflow, you’re not only feeling the effects of diminished heating and cooling, you’re also paying higher monthly energy bills and subjecting your furnace and A/C to increased wear and tear. Because most of the total span of household ductwork is installed out of sight in the attic, crawl space or inside walls, professional duct inspection and service including airflow measurements in individual rooms is required to evaluate the system and pinpoint trouble spots. Here are some common examples of ductwork obstructions that cause reduced airflow:
- Dirty air filter. This one’s a no-brainer as well as an easy fix. A clogged air filter can almost totally obstruct system airflow. Most HVAC experts recommend monthly air filter replacement during cooling season and every other month during heating season. It’s a simple DIY task you can do in just minutes.
- Internal deterioration. Ducts typically routed through unconditioned zones like the attic may incorporate an insulating liner to reduce thermal gain or loss. Over time, this inner liner may deteriorate, collapse and substantially impede internal airflow. A visual inspection of duct spans is required to identify this problem.
- Kinked flex duct. Where common flexible plastic ductwork is installed, longer spans may sag due to age, gradually kinking and obstructing airflow. Additional supports may be needed to correct sagging segments. Flex duct running through the attic may also be inadvertently crushed by heavy objects such as boxes placed there for storage.
- Loose dampers. Air dampers are small doors installed inside duct branches to adjust airflow into individual rooms. Lock screws securing these adjustments may loosen over the years and gradually allow the damper to close entirely, obstructing airflow through that branch of ductwork.