What Causes Poor Air Flow in a Home's Duct System?

Particles that pass through the ducts and stick to them due to moisture or static pressure can cause problems with air flow and quality over time. To prevent this, it is important to have your ducts cleaned by a professional. One of the most common causes of poor air flow is ventilation obstruction. To ensure proper heating or cooling of your home, it is essential to make sure that the air is not obstructed.

Look near the baseboards or on the ceiling for any blocked vents. Furniture, bedding, and ventilation dampers can all be potential obstacles to ventilation. If you find any ventilation grilles closed or obstructed, you can clear them and check for airflow. However, if the vents are open and still not blowing enough air, there could be a problem with the fan motor. The Department of Energy states that a typical duct system leaks between 35 and 50%.

This means that between 35% and 50% of the air intended to travel from the air control unit to a certain area of the house does not reach its destination. The air conditioning filter is responsible for removing dust and other allergens from the air, but it can become clogged over time, reducing indoor air flow if it isn't changed regularly. If the air filter is relatively new and still clean, make sure that you are using an air filter with the correct minimum efficiency rating (MERV) for your unit. While air filters with a higher MERV rating can filter more pollutants from the air, they also reduce airflow through the unit. Most leaks occur where two ducts meet; you can place your hand near those joints to feel the air.

When your air conditioning unit distributes cold air to your home, an equal amount of air must return to be reconditioned and redistributed. Narrow ducts or ducts that haven't been cleaned for a long time can quickly become clogged and reduce airflow. Air balancing is a method for testing the air conditioning unit and determining what is causing irregular airflow or negative atmospheric pressure. If your home's return vents aren't enough, the air conditioning process won't work efficiently. If airflow problems are left untreated, they can lead to costly compressor failure. From dirty air filters to leaking ducts, there are many reasons why air conditioner airflow is weak.

As Dave Richardson of the National Comfort Institute explains in his blog article “The Building Side of the Duct System”, air leaks and insulation levels in the home can play just as important a role in poor air circulation as the ducts themselves. Each duct in a house must be designed and installed to carry a certain amount of air to a given space. Once all the air that the air controller is trying to produce has been accounted for, it's important to balance the duct system to ensure that each room gets the right amount of air.

Miranda Culverson
Miranda Culverson

Award-winning baconaholic. Unapologetic internet fanatic. Evil food aficionado. Total social media advocate. Typical twitter geek.

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