If you’ve ever had an HVAC system or ventilation problem, you probably know that it can be hard to diagnose and fix. But even when you identify these issues, there may still be several other things that need fixing before a repairperson can come out and do the work.
This is especially true if your home isn’t new and has developed some significant issues (like leaks). In this article, you’ll find some solutions to common HVAC problems that require immediate troubleshooting. You can also click on https://fourelementservice.com/ to learn more about professional HVAC repair services in Lake Zurich, Illinois.
Solving HVAC Ventilation Issues
Several symptoms show that your HVAC system is developing an airflow problem. Some of them include:
- Pressure imbalance: Poor airflow can cause pressure imbalance within your system. If you notice whistling noises, drafty areas, or doors slamming on their own, you should consider troubleshooting.
- Low or weak air flow: In this case, you’d notice that your system is no longer giving off air as it should. There are several causes of this problem, including blocked vents. However, early identification of the problem can help.
- Cold and hot spots: Sometimes, you notice an uneven airflow distribution within your building. Some areas will be cool and others hot. When this happens, you are likely facing a ventilation issue.
Early troubleshooting can save you from damaging your compressor unless you are ready to buy a new unit. So, below are a few maintenance tips for these common ventilation problems.
Do a Blower Door Test
A blower door test is a way to measure the air leakage in your home. It’s also known as an air-tightness test.
A blower door (also called a pressure balance) measures how much air flows out of your house through each room. You can do this task manually or automatically with an electronic device called a blower door tester. Or better still, call a professional.
Adjust the Indoor Blower Speed
Adjust your outdoor air conditioner’s blower speed to match the indoor unit’s set point temperature and humidity levels. You can find these in your home’s thermostat or check the manual.
To do this:
- Open your outdoor unit’s front panel and locate a dial labeled “Blow” or “Speed”.
- Rotate this dial until it matches what is shown on either side of it (usually higher numbers).
- Repeat for each zone you want to adjust if needed.
- Close up all panels again.
Measure Air Leakage from a Vent
Air leakage is a common issue in homes and offices but can be hard to detect. So, you should know how much air is leaving your system. This way, you can fix it before any damage occurs.
The following steps will help you determine if there are any problems with your HVAC vent system:
- Find out what type of ventilation system (ductless mini-split or ducted) you have installed at home or workplace.
- Inspect each box within your home’s HVAC system using a flashlight – look for cracks around edges where wires connect.
- Check outside walls where they meet up with other structures such as fences etc.
- Also, check under floors where pipes run through them. These areas resist pressure better than others which sometimes create more chances of a leak.
If you are using a ducted ventilation system, perform a duct test. Find how to do this in the section below.
Conduct a Duct Test
A duct system is the air distribution system in your home. It comprises pipes, ducts, and vents that help deliver conditioned air throughout your home.
Duct testing requires more professional technical know-how and tools. However, you can take some steps to test for leaks in your duct system.
To conduct duct testing:
- Turn off power to all appliances, including heating/cooling units
- Inspect your ducts and areas that have seals.
- Inspect the connection wires for tears or disconnections.
- Turn on the HVAC system.
- Place your hand against duct connections like joints. If you feel the air, it means your duct is leaking.
- You can also move a smoke pencil along the connection and check for movements. This will help you identify areas with leaks.
- Mark the leaking areas with grease and seal them to avoid further leaks.
Found a leak in your duct and don’t know what next to do? You can watch this video to learn more about sealing a leaking ductwork
Check for Blocked Supply or Return Vents
If you have a blocked supply or return vent, the HVAC system will not be able to circulate air throughout your home. You’ll notice that it feels cooler inside than usual.
To check for a blocked vent:
- Open all windows in the home and allow fresh air inside before checking vents or fans. This will ensure that there isn’t any trapped moisture in one of them, preventing proper ventilation through them (a common problem when someone leaves their doors open).
- If possible, turn off all power sources at both ends of the house so you do not accidentally damage anything else.
- Check inside all vent sections. You might find dust clogs or other particles there.
- Clean thoroughly using a vacuum cleaner.
Inspect the Chimney and Fireplace Flues
Check the chimney for cracks or leaks. If there are signs of damage, this may indicate an issue with the chimney; replace it immediately.
You should also check to see if there are any cracks or holes in your fireplace damper. If so, this could make it easier for smoke to enter your home through these openings (and potentially cause other problems).
Check for a buildup of creosote on either one or both sides of your heating appliance’s flue system (this sounds like something out of a horror movie?). If so, remove it by scraping away at it with something like sandpaper; wear gloves while doing so.
Ventilation issues can be complex to fix, so it’s best to leave that job to a professional HVAC technician. A professional can ensure the problem doesn’t happen again by scheduling regular maintenance visits and working on your unit as well.