The days are short, the temperature is dropping, and even in Austin, Texas people are forced to abandon outdoor activities for the comforts of the heated indoors. However, it’s hard to enjoy your heating system when it’s not doing its job. Uneven air flow can diminish your heater’s effectiveness, leave your house insufficiently heated, and is even detrimental to your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system if left untreated. These symptoms will help you diagnose if your home suffers from uneven airflow and provide some tips to treat it.
To better understand some of the causes of uneven air flow, let’s take a basic look at how your HVAC system operates. Your HVAC system consists of four parts: the thermostat, the indoor furnace or air handler, the outdoor condensing unit and the ductwork. Your thermostat takes a temperature reading of your house, and depending on what it is set to, will send a message to your system to either start or stop producing heat. This heat is then distributed throughout your house via the duct system. Uneven air flow, and subsequently uneven heating in your home, can be caused when one or more components of the heating and air conditioning system are not working properly. It’s important to make sure air flows evenly through your house, as uneven air flow makes for higher energy bills and puts extra strain on your AC system. Here is a checklist to narrow down what problems are causing your air flow issues:
1.) Change your filter regularly. A dirty filter will block air flow.
2.) Have a professional inspect your heater. Your furnace could be in need of a little tune up or maintenance to make sure it’s heating your house properly. For example, a dirty evaporator coil can block air flow.
3.) Check your ductwork system. The leading cause of uneven air flow is either a leaking or blocked air duct.
4.) Make sure your air ducts are properly sized. Air ducts that are too big or too small will allow for uneven airflow and even damage your HVAC system in the long run.
5.) Check the vents in each of your rooms to make sure they are open and allowing airflow. Closing vents will cut off air circulation to the room and creates uneven air flow throughout your house.
6.) Leave doors open. For your system to work as designed air needs to be able to flow from the vents in each room to a return air grill. Teenagers may not like it but for their rooms to remain comfortable they need to open the door!
Follow these simple tips and you’ll be prepared to enjoy the winter season!