The Nine Most Common Airflow Issues: When Should You Call A Professional?

It’s not unusual to have problems with a furnace or air conditioner from time to time. When temperatures rise, you may find that the air from your vents is warm rather than cool. In winter weather, your furnace might not provide the heat that you need.

If you’re having issues with your HVAC unit, your problems might fall into the categories below:

  • Hot and Cool Areas: Certain portions in your home may be cold when they should be hot, or hot when it’s supposed to be cold.
  • Imbalances In Pressure: Have you felt a draft in certain parts of your home? Have doors slammed shut on their own? If so, your house isn’t haunted! There’s likely an issue with your airflow.
  • Minimal Airflow: If you’re unable to feel the air blowing out of your registers, you likely have a problem.
  • Warm Air: If you’re running your AC during the summer, and warm air is coming out of the register, you have a problem.

In some cases, there may be an easy way for you to resolve these problems. In other situations, you may have to work with a local HVAC technician.

Icon Mechanical tech working on AC unit fixing HVAC airflow problems

These are the frequently encountered HVAC airflow problems and how you can deal with them.

Blocked Registers and Vents

If you’re dealing with this issue, you should make sure that nothing is covering up your registers. If furniture, toys, laundry, or other items are blocking your vents, you should move them out of the way. It’s also possible that your vents have been closed. If that’s the case, you should open them up.

You don’t need to bring in an expert in this situation.

Filter Clogs

How long has it been since you switched out the filter in your furnace? Ideally, filters should be switched out regularly. Depending on the instructions that came with the unit or how frequently it is used, it may need to be changed every month or every quarter. Read the manual to see how often the filter should be changed. Make sure you follow the directions. Over time, dust and grime can cause your filter to be blocked. This means it will be more difficult for your furnace to function, which could eventually damage your unit.

Thankfully, this is a problem that’s easy to resolve as long as you spot the issue quickly.

Unit Obstruction

It’s very common for the condensing unit in an air conditioner to experience a blockage. Typically, condenser units are outside the home. This means debris such as branches or leaves can accumulate around the unit, leading to an obstruction. It’s also possible for units to be blocked when they’re indoors if items are stored around it. When a unit is obstructed, it won’t have proper air access, which means it can overheat.

If you spotted this issue before it was damaged, the only thing you need to do is clear away debris or move any items away from your unit. That was, it will have access to the air again. This is another problem you can easily resolve on your own.

Leaking or Blocked Ducts

When air flows out of your furnace’s fan, it travels through your home’s duct system and exits through register vents. If the filter doesn’t catch all of the dust, some of it will wind up in your ducts. It’s possible for the dust to build up over time. This can cause ducts to become more narrow. Eventually, your ductwork may not be large enough to meet the needs of your furnace or air conditioner.

It’s also possible that your ductwork could be cracked or damaged. If air is leaking, the airflow will naturally be reduced.

If you believe that there’s a build-up of dust or a leak, the smartest thing to do is contact a local HVAC technician. They’ll be able to inspect the system and get to the bottom of the problem. In many cases, they’ll resolve the issue by repairing any damage or giving your ductwork a proper cleaning.

Issues With Your Thermostat

In some cases, your thermostat may be the source of your airflow problems. You may have a faulty device, or it might be time to replace your device’s batteries.

If this happens, you can easily fix the issue on your own by replacing its batteries. If you feel up to the job, you can even install a new thermostat. If there are no issues with the batteries, and you’d rather have a professional install your thermostat for you, you should contact a local HVAC technician.

Grimy Air Conditioner Coils

The condenser coils in your air conditioner are responsible for releasing the heat from your home. The coils are located in the condenser unit. If your AC unit is stored outdoors, your coils can easily be dirtied, which means they’ll no longer be able to release heat.

If this happens to you, you’ll need to make a call to a local HVAC technician. It’s generally recommended that AC units should be cleaned and inspected annually. This can prevent coils from becoming too dirty.

Refrigerant Leaks

If you’ve experienced a reduction in airflow, and you’ve seen that the AC isn’t keeping your home as cool as it should be, you may have a refrigerant leak. If a leak is slow, you’ll notice your performance decline gradually. This is yet another reason to have a unit inspected annually.

Contact a local HVAC technician so that they can examine your refrigerant levels. If there is a leak, they will be able to provide repairs.

The AC Unit Is Too Large

In the past, people believed that the larger an air conditioner was, the better it functioned. Now, however, we’re aware that if a unit isn’t the right size for a space, it won’t provide efficient cooling. It will frequently cycle on and then off again. This means the humidity won’t be removed from an area, which can cause a space to feel uncomfortable.

If you suspect your unit is too large, you should reach out to a local HVAC technician and examine your unit.

The Wrong Unit For Your Home

If you’ve made upgrades to your home, and you didn’t upgrade your HVAC system, your unit may be no longer suitable for your home. It’s possible that the unit isn’t the right size or that your ducts aren’t in the proper position. If your floorplan saw significant changes, your HVAC system may no longer be working for you.

If you’re planning on remodeling your home or recently completed an upgrade, you should reach out to a local HVAC tech. Ask them to examine your unit a provide adjustments as needed.