If your home or office isn’t being cooled or heated properly, it could be a problem with your HVAC air flow. Before you call a professional, there are a few things you can check and possibly fix yourself.
You can fix HVAC airflow by cleaning the filter and removing any obstructions in front of the vents. You may also need to clean the registers and coils and straighten the fins if they’re bent. Still, you should ensure the refrigerant levels are correct and that there’s no duct leakage.
Read on for a rundown of how to fix HVAC air flow, so you can keep your space comfortable all year long.
1. Check and Clean Your Filter Every 90 Days
As any homeowner knows, keeping your home in good working order requires regular maintenance. Your HVAC system is no exception.
One of the most important things you can do to keep your system running smoothly is to check and clean your filter every 90 days. As the Office of Energy Saver reports, a dirty filter not only reduces air flow but can also damage your system. By taking a few minutes every few months to check your filter, you can save yourself time and money in the long run.
To clean your filter:
- Open your system’s access panel. This is usually located on the side of the unit.
- Remove the filter and hold it up to the light. If you can’t see through it, it’s time to replace it.
- Install a new filter by reversing the process you used to remove the old one.
2. Check Your Registers Regularly
Another way to fix your HVAC system is to check your registers regularly. Registers refer to the vents in your home that release air from your HVAC system. If any of them are not fully open, it can restrict air flow and make your system work harder than it needs to.
In addition, be sure to dust or vacuum around the registers regularly. That will help ensure that air can freely flow into your home.
3. Check for Obstructions
Before you call for a professional repair, there are a few things you can check on your own to rule out simple issues. One potential problem is obstruction of airflow. That can be caused by:
- Any other items blocking the vents or registers
If you suspect this may be the issue, look around the area of your furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner to see if anything is blocking the flow of air. Once you’ve cleared any obstructions, you should notice improved performance. If not, then it’s time to call in the professionals.
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4. Clean Your Coils Annually
Another important thing you can do to keep your HVAC system running efficiently is to clean your coils annually. Dirty coils impede air flow and reduce efficiency, resulting in higher energy bills and decreased comfort. While it’s important to have your coils professionally cleaned regularly, you can also extend their life by taking a few simple steps to keep them clean.
To clean your coils:
- Begin by vacuum cleaning the area around the coils to remove any dust or debris that has settled there.
- Next, use a soft brush to gently remove any buildup on the coils.
- Finally, rinse the coils with water to remove any leftover dirt or grime. By taking these simple steps, you can keep your coils clean and help your HVAC system run more efficiently.
5. Straighten Your Bent Fins
One easy way to increase the airflow in your HVAC system is to straighten any bent fins on the condenser or evaporator coil. Over time, these fins can become bent or damaged, which reduces the amount of air that can flow through the coils.
By taking a few minutes to straighten the fins, you can improve airflow and help your HVAC system to run more efficiently. If you’re unsure how to straighten the fins, you can consult an HVAC technician for help.
6. Seal Leaks Immediately
Leaks in your ductwork are another common culprit when it comes to reduced airflow. Even a small hole can cause a significant decrease in airflow, making your system less efficient and costing you money in higher energy bills.
To avoid such a problem, it’s important to seal any leaks as soon as they are discovered. That can be a simple process if the leak is small and accessible. However, larger or more difficult-to-reach leaks may require the help of a professional.
Whatever the case, it’s important to address the problem as soon as possible to avoid further loss of airflow and potential damage to your system.
7. Replace Dampers if Necessary
The function of a damper is to control the airflow in a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. By opening or closing, dampers regulate the amount of air that flows into a particular space.
When a damper is closed, it blocks off the flow of air; when it is open, airflow is unobstructed. Therefore, dampers are an important part of any HVAC system, as they help to ensure that the right amount of air is being circulated at all times. If a damper is not functioning properly, it can cause many problems, including:
- Making the space too hot or too cold
- Increasing energy bills
- Reducing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system
As such, it is important to replace dampers if they are not working properly. Fortunately, this is a relatively straightforward task that most homeowners can complete.
Note: If your HVAC dampers keep getting stuck closed, check out this article we wrote describing how to fix it.
8. Check the Blower Fans
The blower fans in your HVAC system play an important role in the overall efficiency of the system. These fans are responsible for circulating air throughout your home, and if they are not working properly, it can lead to several problems, including:
- Reduced airflow
- Higher energy bills
- Decreased comfort
If you suspect that your blower fans are not working properly, the first step is to check the belts. If the belts are loose or broken, they need to be replaced. In some cases, the problem may be more serious and require the help of a professional.
9. Check Your Refrigerant Levels
The refrigerant is a crucial component of any HVAC system and is responsible for absorbing heat from the air. If refrigerant levels are low, it can cause several problems, including reduced airflow and less efficient cooling.
Furthermore, low refrigerant levels can lead to ice buildup on the evaporator coils, eventually damaging the compressor.
If you suspect that your HVAC system is not cooling properly, it is important to check the refrigerant levels and add more if necessary. Doing so will help to ensure that your HVAC system continues to run smoothly and efficiently.
Note: Refrigerant is a volatile substance, and attempting to add it yourself can be dangerous. As such, it’s best to leave this task to a professional. A technician can properly diagnose the problem and add the correct amount of refrigerant, restoring your system to proper working order.
10. Schedule Regular Maintenance Checks
One of the best ways to keep your HVAC system running smoothly and efficiently is to schedule regular maintenance checks. These checks will help identify any potential problems with your system before they become serious and allow you to keep your system running smoothly and efficiently.
During a regular maintenance check, a technician will inspect all of the major components of your HVAC system and perform any necessary repairs or replacements. Furthermore, they will clean the system and make necessary adjustments to ensure it runs properly.
For insider tips on HVAC maintenance, check out Six-Step HVAC Maintenance Recovery (available on Amazon.com). The author describes how to properly maintain your system to avoid future problems, making the guide an essential read for any homeowner.
That said, here’s a quick video demo that may come in handy when inspecting your HVAC system:
There are many things that you can do to fix HVAC airflow. Some of these solutions, such as scheduling regular maintenance checks, are easy fixes you can do yourself. Others, such as adding more refrigerant, should be left to a professional.
No matter the problem, it is important to address it as soon as possible. Doing so will help to ensure that your HVAC system continues to run smoothly and efficiently, and it will help keep your energy bills down.