Five Causes Of AC Airflow Problems

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How to Keep Your Cool When the Mercury is Rising

When the heat is rising to record-breaking levels, it can be really tough to stay cool. This summer, I found that my air conditioner had trouble keeping up with the temperatures. It wasn't that the AC wasn't working, it was just that I couldn't seem to get my house cooled down as much as I wanted. I worried that I would have to replace the whole AC system. Luckily, I have a good friend who works as an HVAC contractor. He took a look at my system and gave good news -- it didn't need to be replaced. Instead, he shared a lot of tips for helping my air conditioner work more efficiently, as well as some ideas to help supplement the AC and keep the house cooler. I'm using those tips to create this blog to share ways for all of us to keep cool on the hottest days.

Five Causes Of AC Airflow Problems

28 November 2020
 Categories: , Blog

Poor airflow through your air conditioning unit can result in hot spots in the home, as well as issues like warm airflow, noisy vents, and weak air movement. Fortunately, most causes of poor airflow can be fixed once you determine the root cause.

1. Return and Vent Blockage

Blocked vents and returns are likely the most common cause of poor airflow, as well as one of the easiest issues to fix. Begin by checking all the vent and return covers throughout the house. They should all be fully open and there shouldn't be anything blocking them. Move furniture, drapes, and other items that could block the airflow. You can also angle the vent openings so that air is pointed to better circulate out and into the room.

2. Dirt In the System

Dirt in your AC system can compromise airflow by forming a blockage. The most common place to find dirt is in the filter and filter housing. Removing and replacing the old filter with a new one helps, but you may also need to clean out any dirt that has collected inside the filter housing. The dirt inside the AC itself can also cause blockages, particularly if the dirt is inside the blower motor or impeding the fan. An annual maintenance visit, including cleaning and tuneup, prevents these issues.

3. Blocked Exterior Unit

Your AC pulls in air from two places -- from inside the home via the air returns, and from outside your home via the outdoor unit. If weeds, fallen leaves, or other debris collects around the exterior unit, then airflow is compromised and you may have poor cooling inside. Cut back landscaping and keep the area around your air conditioner cleaned up. If you have a fence around the AC, make sure it is set far enough back so that air can flow freely around the unit.

4. Duct Damages

Damage to the ductwork causes air to leak into your walls, which results in poor airflow both when it comes to delivering the air to your vents as well as drawing in air through the returns to circulate back through the AC system. A duct inspection can uncover damage and air leaks so that you can have them repaired.

5. Low Refrigerant

Most AC units have refrigerant in a closed system. If a leak occurs, the refrigerant level drops, and the AC won't cool the air as well as it should. This in turn affects the entire system so that it may not operate at peak efficiency or circulate air through as it should.

Contact an AC repair service in your area for more help.