Why Airflow Can Make or Break Your Air Conditioner’s Performance

Why Airflow Can Make or Break Your Air Conditioner’s Performance

Air ducts direct your air flow.With March beginning, summer will be in Arizona before you know it. So we are shifting our focus to your air conditioning systems.

Have you ever felt like it takes forever to cool your home or that some rooms in your home never get cool at all?

The problem may not be with your air conditioner, but with improper airflow.

Airflow is essential to your air conditioner’s performance and your home’s comfort.

What is airflow?
Airflow is a measure of the amount of air that enters and exits your air conditioning and heating system. In order to work properly, your system’s airflow must be properly balanced (the amount of air it takes in is equal to the amount of air it supplies to your home.)

Balanced airflow is important because it:

  • Ensures that your whole home is cooled equally
  • Decreases your energy bill by maximizing your air conditioner’s efficiency
  • Improves comfort around your home
  • Increases the useful life of your air conditioner (you paid good money for it, might as well get your money’s worth!)

Problems that disrupt the balance of airflow are usually related to your:

  • Internal ductwork (how the air travels around your home)
  • Supply air vents (where cold air blows out)
  • Return air vents (where the warm air returns to be cooled)

Let’s discuss these in more detail.

Internal ductwork
One of the biggest problems that affect airflow is problems with your home’s ductwork.

Imagine your internal ducts are like the blood vessels in your body’s circulatory system. Your ducts transport air just like your blood vessels transport blood around your body. So if your blood vessels were leaking, your body wouldn’t function properly since it couldn’t properly transport the blood.

Similarly, if your supply or return ducts have a leak, your home can’t properly transport air where you need it.

How this affects you:

Leaky air ducts cause you numerous problems including:

  • Hot spots around your home– Major leaks decrease air delivery to certain parts of your home.
  • Dusty rooms after you turn on your air conditioner – Leaks in your air ducts suck up dust and other contaminants in your attic and crawl space and blow them out the supply vents. This not only decreases your air quality, but quickly dirties your air conditioner’s air filter.
  • High utility bills – If your air ducts can’t transport air properly around your home, your air conditioner has to run longer to cool your home to the temperature you set on your thermostat. This requires more energy and therefore more money.

If you can reach your ducts, you may be able to seal the small leaks in your air ducts by yourself using a mastic sealer. But many leaks occur where you can’t easily access them. In that case, it’s best if you call a professional.

Supply air vents
Your supply vents are where cold air is blown into your home. The three most common supply air vent problems that affect airflow are:

  • Undersized ducts – If your supply vents and ducts are undersized, your A/C has to work harder to blow out an adequate amount of air.
  • Blocked vents – Vents blocked by furniture or drapes reduce the amount of air delivered to your home.
  • Dirty grill – Dirt blocks how much air your A/C can deliver.

How this affects you:
Whether your vents are undersized, blocked or dirty, all of them cause your air conditioner to run longer, which wastes electricity and increases your utility bill.

You can unblock and clean your supply vents. But if they’re undersized, you need a contractor to come out and fix them.

Return air vent
Your return air vents are where air is sucked up into your ductwork and returned to your air conditioner. Return air vents have similar problems to supply air vents, including being:

  • Undersized – Similar to the supply air vent, imagine trying to breathe through a drinking straw. More stress on your A/C equals more energy required.
  • Dirty grill – Dirt blocks how much air your A/C can receive.
  • Dirty air filter – Dirty air filters impede air movement.

How this affects you:
It affects you the same as the problems with your supply air vents. You can clean the grill and replace the air filter, but if the vent is undersized, you need a professional to fix it.

Balanced is Best
Your air conditioning system will be more energy efficient and provide better comfort this summer if its airflow is properly balanced.

Do you need help sealing your air ducts or installing properly sized air vents? Contact Fountain Hill Air for help. We serve the the Fountain Hills and the entire East Valley.

We serve Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, Rio Verde, Paradise Valley, Cave Creek, Carefree, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert and the Phoenix area with expert air conditioning and heating services.