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Troubleshooting Poor Furnace Air Flow

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Staying warm requires more than just a furnace that heats up; it must also adequately blow that warm air into the rooms of your home. Weak air flow out of the vents can lead to an uncomfortable chill. The following guide can help you diagnose the problem so you can get warm again.

Check for filter clogs

A clogged filter is the most common cause of poor airflow. Remove the filter and make sure that it is free of dust and debris. If it's dirty, replace it with a new filter. It's also important to make sure the filter is installed correctly. Most furnaces require filter changes every one to three months—frequent changes are especially necessary in dusty locales or if you have pets that shed. Sometimes something as simple as installing a filter backwards can limit air flow.

Inspect your vents and registers

Blocked or closed registers can also lead to poor airflow. Check each of the floor registers and make sure they are fully open and that they aren't blocked by furniture or curtains. Also, check the vents at the top of the room. These suck in the air to pass it back through the system. If they are blocked, such as by a tall bookcase, your furnace won't receive proper air flow to circulate through the system.

Service the air handler

The air handler system consists of the blower fan and motor. This is what actually blows the heated air through your ducts. If the motor or fan isn't working properly, you won't get sufficient warm air. You can sometimes diagnose fan issues by listening—if you hear rattling or squealing from the fan, it may need lubricated, or you may need to replace the bearings. An HVAC technician can also check the motor and fan for issues, perform a tuneup or repair, or replace the failing part as necessary.

Look for duct leaks

If poor airflow has been an ongoing problem, then your ductwork could be to blame. Gaps or leaks in the ducts mean that the hot air is lost long before it reaches the room. It's difficult to inspect the ducts yourself for leaks, unless they are exposed in the basement or accessible via a crawlspace. An HVAC tech can use a special camera to look for leaks. They will then seal any leaks that are found.

Contact an HVAC repair company like Dick  Kearsley Service Center for more help.


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