When your furnace kicks on, you expect comforting heat and warmth to reach every room in your home. Therefore, if some areas feel colder than others, it can be both frustrating and concerning. Uneven temperatures within your home can indicate the heating system is experiencing an airflow problem, which can increase wear on the unit and raise your energy costs. Here are some common culprits behind this problem.
What Hinders Airflow From the Furnace?
1. Dirty or Inefficient Filter
Your furnace has an air filter that traps airborne particles, preventing them from circulating throughout the home. However, dust, pollen, textile fibers, pet dander, and other allergens will accumulate on it over time. This buildup will further restrict airflow, forcing the furnace to work harder to warm each room. For this reason, you should replace the filter according to manufacturer recommendations, at a minimum.
Airflow restriction also occurs if the filter isn’t suitable for your specific heating system. If it’s too thick, it can lead to uneven distribution. Most filters have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating between seven and 12. The higher the number, the smaller the filter’s pores, which creates additional restrictions to air flow. If you desire to use a higher-rated Merv filter, we suggest installing a 4″ or 5″ media filtration system rather than trying to finely filter your system with a 1″ thick filter. Media filtration systems permit finer filtration of the air without significantly restricting air flow.
2. Air Duct Blockages
If you regularly change your furnace filter before it experiences a heavy buildup and still experience a lack of sufficient air blowing through the vents, the problem could be due to an obstruction in the ducts or blocked vents.
Ensure that the vents aren’t partially closed or blocked by things such as furniture, rugs or curtains. Additionally, resist the urge to use additional filtration on the vents. All filtration should be handled by the filter system on the furnace itself, and ductwork and vents should be completely unobstructed.
Also, look to see if anything has fallen down into the ductwork system. Many a toddler has discovered what great fun it is to drop toys inside the vents. It’s not so fun for Mom and Dad to pay an HVAC technician to disassemble the duct system and retrieve the stash of playthings.
3. Holes in the Ductwork
Lastly, examine your ductwork system for air leaks caused by tears, holes, and gaps. Older ductwork systems are more prone to issues like these, but improperly installed new systems can leak, too. Check for big leaks in the ductwork supplying heated and cooled air to your home, and consult with an HVAC professional as to the options to fix them. Remediation options include the use of caulking, foil tape and liquid mastic.
Be aware that insulated, flexible ductwork (often used in attics and crawl spaces) is susceptible to tearing damage from animals such as mice, raccoons and squirrels. If this problem occurs, the first step needs to be the removal of the critters and sealing off their entry points. Then, the ductwork will need to be repaired or replaced.
If gaps and openings are the result of age or improper installation, it would be wise to have a qualified HVAC technician evaluate the situation and develop a repair plan. Properly installed AND properly sized ducts are critical to your furnace’s ability to evenly heat and cool your home. So, seek a professional’s advice to ensure ductwork repairs and changes are appropriate.
If air leakage problems are not corrected in ductwork systems, heating and cooling bills will be unnecessarily elevated due to the escape of conditioned air. Consider taking the time to evaluate your duct system and seek advice from an HVAC professional regarding repair options. The only thing you have to lose is uneven heating and high energy bills.
If your furnace can’t properly heat your home, contact Jon’s Plumbing & Heating. Based in Mount Vernon, OH, our company offers unmatched HVAC services for residents and businesses throughout the area. We have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau® and are recognized Mitsubishi® Diamond Preferred contractors. As for our services, we offer everything from AC repair to furnace replacement. Call (740) 520-2312 to request an appointment, or visit us online to learn more about our offerings.