It’s officially the middle of summer, and by now it feels like the 90 degree temperatures have been here forever and will never leave. Your home should be your last refuge against the stifling heat outside – unless you’re not getting any of the cooled air from your air conditioner! There are many factors that can affect your air conditioner’s airflow, some of which are simple to fix, while some of which are more complicated. One thing is sure, however: if you improve your AC airflow, you will significantly improve your home’s comfort!
Ways to Improve AC Airflow
Replace your filters every month – we’ve harped on this subject time and time again, but only because it is so important! As air blows through your filters and into your home, dust and debris collect on the fibers so that the air is clean when it moves into your rooms. Over time, the collected dust and debris can start to clog the filter, blocking the airflow. That’s how they’re supposed to work. If they’re not getting clogged, they’re cleaning debris out of your air.
Replacing your air filters every month serves a dual purpose – not only does it improve your AC airflow, but it also protects your unit from breaking down, keeping you from needing Maryland AC repair!
Check your dampers: if weak AC airflow is limited to one or two rooms, it might just be that one of your AC dampers has been closed. To open the dampers, go to your air handler and look for the plenum (it looks like a big metal box). You should see a bunch of ducts connected to the plenum, all with levers that should be in the ON position – these levers are called dampers. If any are switched to the OFF position, opening them up should instantly improve your AC airflow.
Get different air filters: if you’ve ever gone out to the hardware store looking for air filters, you’ve probably noticed that there are about 10,000 different sizes and brands to choose from. Each filter has a MERV rating that indicates how strong the filtration is, with different filtration levels best suited for different environments:
- MERV 1 – 4: typical ratings for residential air filters. These do an acceptable job of filtering most particles out of the air, stopping dust and debris as small as 10 microns.
- MERV 5 – 8: most commonly used in commercial applications, but sometimes found in homes. These air filters will block particles as small as 3 microns in size, but they can slightly reduce airflow.
- MERV 9 – 12: filters rated this high are not very common in most homes, unless homeowners want as much dust control as possible. When ratings start to get this high, it becomes extremely important to replace the filters frequently – it’ll already be somewhat difficult for air to pass through them, and since they block so many particles they will fill up much more quickly than standard air filters.
- MERV 13 – 16: you probably won’t ever see filters rated this high in someone’s home. Air filters that are this powerful will stop particles as small as .3 microns but are mainly used in sterile environments like hospitals since they make airflow extremely difficult.
Seal up your ducts: leaky ducts are more common than you might think and can cost you significantly, both in money and comfort. If you suspect your ductwork is leaking, call an HVAC contractor to come out and inspect it – duct sealing will improve your AC airflow, making you more comfortable and saving you as much as 30% on your air conditioning bills!
Resize your ducts: if you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to be improving your air conditioner airflow, the problem might just be that your ductwork is too small. The best way to solve this problem is to have a professional HVAC company come out and install new ducts in your home. If your ductwork is too small, installing new ductwork in your home will go a long way toward improving your AC airflow, and will make your home much more comfortable.
If weak airflow from your air conditioner is making your summer miserable, call Michael Bonsby HVAC & Plumbing! We can examine your AC system and improve your AC airflow in no time!