When you turn on the air conditioning, you no doubt expect the cold air to come out of the vents at full force, cooling your home as quickly as possible. But over time you may start to notice that the airflow is not as strong as it used to be, that the system has to run for longer periods of time in order to cool your home, or that it kicks on more frequently than it used to. As a result, you’ll probably also notice your utility bills going up. Or perhaps the airflow with your AC unit has never been satisfactory and you’re looking for ways to improve it. Whatever the case may be, if your air conditioning system seems to be underperforming, it might be time to find out what the problem is so that you can address it and get your system running more effectively and efficiently.
The place to start is by pinpointing the source of your airflow woes. Perhaps your AC unit is outdated or it’s the wrong size for your structure. In this case your best option may be to upgrade to a newer, more energy-efficient model that is properly sized for your home. Or it could be that your ductwork has been poorly placed, is in a state of disrepair, or is not suitable for your home and your climate, in which case you might need to beef it up or even replace it. These are the worst-case scenarios, though, and your airflow issues are most likely due to causes that will be easier and less expensive to fix.
For example, it may be that you simply have to replace air filters more than once a year when you have your annual HVAC inspection and maintenance performed. If there is a lot of dust in your area and your house is not airtight, your filters could be filling up with dust, dirt, and debris more quickly than normal, stifling airflow in the process. Of course, you might also want to consider conducting a home energy audit so that you can seal up leaks in your home and stop the incursion of outdoor dust, but replacing filters more often is certainly the more economical choice, at least in the short-term.
You should also look into the prospect of adjusting dampers in your ductwork or adding them if you don’t have any in place. You may notice that some rooms in your home quickly reach a frigid temperature when you turn on the AC, while others remain warm no matter how much you crank the AC. In this case, a system of dampers, when adjusted accordingly, can reduce the airflow to certain areas, helping to increase the air that reaches other parts of your home. If you seem to be having an upstairs/downstairs kind of issue, you can even think about implementing a zoning system so that each floor can be controlled independently.
If you’re looking for troubleshooting tips for your aging furnace, AC unit, and HVAC system in general, replacement may end up being the best solution. But if your system is relatively new, the problem could be much easier and less expensive to address. You simply need to consider what the symptoms are, pinpoint the source of the problem, and come up with a solution that will equalize and/or strengthen the airflow throughout your home. And if you can’t do it alone, you’ll find that a qualified HVAC technician can likely tell you exactly what’s wrong and recommend a course of action.