Your air conditioning system is one of those appliances that gets put to the test year after year—even more so than your water heater, an appliance that gets used every day!
With the stifling summers we experience each year, in addition to high humidity, we need AC systems to work as efficiently as possible. So, when we experience low airflow coming into our homes, it’s clearly a problem and frustration. But what’s the cause?
To put it simply, there are two possible reasons for this:
- There is something blocking the flow of air.
- There is something wrong with the mechanism driving the air—the blower fan.
Read on for more of an explanation.
The Underlying Causes of Low Airflow
First off, the problem with low airflow is that your air conditioner has to work harder to do its job, accumulating wear and tear at a faster rate than it otherwise would have.
And the frustrating part of this for homeowners is that there is no single cause of low airflow. Therefore, you should never try to diagnose or repair a problem with your air conditioner on your own (other than checking, and changing, the air filter if it is clogged up, as this will cause low airflow).
What Are Blockages Caused By?
Air filters are designed to protect the inside components of the HVAC system, and should be changed every 1–3 months, depending on the level of contaminants in your home and what type of filter you have in place.
But what if the air filter is not to blame?
Your air filter might be just fine, but something else seems to be blocking airflow.
Blockages tend to build up from dirt, dust, and other debris that can be within your air ducts or surrounding your AC system’s outdoor unit. Low airflow can also come from damage to the ductwork such as crimps, leaks, or breaches—all of which can pull hot air into the system (trapping cooler air in the system itself, which can cause a whole host of related problems).
What Can Go Wrong with the Blower Fan?
The component tasked with driving the cooled air to your vents is the blower fan. You might be dealing with one that is bent or broken, and therefore causing your airflow problem. If not that, then you might be suffering from a fan motor issue—either the motor is failing or there is a problem with the power supply to the motor, like frayed electrical wiring.
Low Airflow Means Increased Cooling Bills
A decline in AC airflow might seem like a minor annoyance rather than a full-on repair need. So if you’re not too uncomfortable, you might put off calling for repairs. We urge you to reconsider.
Whatever the problem is that’s causing the low airflow, it can get worse as your air conditioner works harder and harder to reach the desired temperature on your thermostat. Essentially, low airflow increases operational problems, and as a result you’ll see a spike in your energy bills.