Whether air gets heated or cooled, HVAC fans help circulate air into the home. Like water traveling through a hose, there needs to be a conduit to deliver the heated and cooled air. Air ducts provide the passageway, and the passage leads to vents. Air exits the vents and then enter the interior of your home. You may adjust your thermostat if you wish to alter the temperature. The way an HVAC system works seems somewhat simple.
The “simple” process involves several components working together to deliver the desired outcome. Things don’t always work correctly, though. If the evaporator or condenser coils suffer problems, a ripple effect occurs through the system. When the blower stops working, the air won’t circulate.
You might not always know what the source of a problem is. You may not even know a problem exists when the effects are somewhat subtle. Issues with the air ducts, for example, might be obvious or only marginally noticeable. Clogs could be the source of specific problems. What happens when clogs occur, and what can you do to address the troubles? Here is a look at the answers.
Clogs and Airflow
Clogs are akin to obstructions. Air blowing through an unobstructed duct won’t likely experience any problems. If clogs exist in the ducts, then the air won’t flow unimpeded. Imagine if several bricks remained in the ducts. Air can’t travel through bricks, and the flow would suffer disruptions. The clogs inside the ducts would doubtfully be as pronounced as brick barriers. However, issues with dirt, dust and debris could create undesirable clogs even though they might not be as solid as bricks.
Inside a home, dirt, dust, dander and debris may fly through the air. HVAC systems require filters to catch the debris. Unfortunately, capturing all the dirt might never be possible, and debris may accumulate inside the ducts. After piling up to a certain level, clogs may occur inside the system. Airflow suffers restrictions as a result. Also, debris particles may find their way into the circulating air and in the home. The effect on air quality won’t be desirable.
The Dirty Filter Dilemma
A dirty filter could create all kinds of havoc in an HVAC system. Besides undermining efficiency, a clogged filter also reduces airflow. As airflow slows, dirt and dust may collect inside the ducts. If more time goes by with the dirty filter remaining in place, expect an even more significant buildup of dirt inside the ducts. Needless to say, there could be some air quality issues that arise from all that unwanted dirt in the ducts.
Obstructions Inside the Ducts
Dirt and dust might be the most common things to create blockages inside the ducts. However, objects might find their way inside, too. Perhaps an air filter came loose and travels into the duct. Now, there’s an object inside presenting a partial barrier to airflow.
Was construction or remodeling work performed at any time? Debris from the job may land inside the ducts. Plaster, fibers and more would remain inside the ducts creating blockages.
Is every issue with airflow problems associated with clogs, though? No, there can be problems that mimic clogs but are entirely unrelated to duct obstructions.
Dampers and Concerns for Zone-Control HVAC Systems
A zone-controlled version of an HVAC system supports energy conservation and waste reduction. With this setup, multiple thermostats work with dampers to provide different temperatures in various rooms. If a particular room isn’t used much, the temperature can stay at 60 degrees while the rest of the home is 65.
The dampers open and close to allow hot or cold air to flow through, regulating the temperature. If a damper remains mostly closed, then a limited amount of air enters a room.
Several different issues could cause dampers to malfunction. Perhaps a dirt buildup did contribute to the dampers malfunctioning. If grime and debris undermine the dampers’ operation, then a thorough cleaning might address the problem. The issue could be mechanical, as dampers might become stuck or suffer from the control system’s problems. Troubles with a spring could be the cause. No matter the issue, an HVAC technician could inspect the dampers to determine the solution.
If you live in or near Salem, OR, request heating and cooling services from Woodward Heating. Our team handles repair, installation and other HVAC jobs.
Obstructions With the Vents
Is there something in front of the vents that might be causing the problem? That “something” could be the couch or a bookcase. Sometimes, homeowners don’t always consider the duct vents when placing furniture at preferred points in the home. When something blocks the vents, airflow may suffer.
The blockage, however, could be inside the vent. Perhaps some objects found their way inside the vent. These items could cause the blockages that restrict airflow. Removing these things could restore airflow to normal.
And yes, dirt can build up on the vents. A dirty vent becomes like a dirty filter. The opening ends up clogged due to debris. Cleaning the debris off may restore the proper harmony of airflow. Dirt might accumulate faster than most people realize, so keeping an eye on the vents seems prudent. Don’t let them become too dirty, or else problems may result.
Leaks in the Ducts
Holes or other perforations inside the ducts will let air escape. Damage can occur inside the ducts from many causes, but age alone might contribute to the problem. Once damage and leaks appear, only a professional HVAC technician could perform the necessary repairs. Unfortunately, many homeowners have no idea their ducts suffer from leaks. A thorough annual inspection might uncover these and other problems. Once discovered, a fix could take place. Of course, the specific fix depends on the problem.
If the problem is loose seams, then the fix might be an easy one. However, seriously damaged ducts may require a full replacement. Homeowners won’t likely know the extent of the issue until a technician checks things out.
Cleaning Out the Ducts
A comprehensive cleaning could eliminate a tremendous amount of debris inside the duct system. Homeowners who never requested duct cleaning work before may find it wise to ask a top HVAC company to send someone over to perform the job.
Note that mold and bacteria could grow inside the ducts. Take that information as another reason why it may be valuable to request consistent cleaning services.
Perhaps now is also the time for a full inspection of the HVAC system. A decent inspection, cleaning and tune-up could reduce worries and many possible problems.
At Woodward Heating, we await your call for any HVAC service in Salem. Call today to ask about a service visit and estimate. Besides HVAC work, our team handles heat pump, fireplace, gas piping and other work requests. Our 2nd-generation family-owned business strives to assist homeowners with many HVAC and related needs.