Let your system Blow!

3 12 2012

Your heating and cooling system is all about air flow.  The systems efficiency, its lifespan, and your homes comfort are dependent on it.  Your heating and cooling system relies on air flow to effectively transfer heat either into your home during winter our out of your home during summer.  If you restrict the air flow then the system can not work correctly.  Here are some common mistakes that homeowners make:

1) Shutting off vents – Do not shut off vents.  Many homeowners will shut vents off to areas of the home that are not commonly used thinking that they are redirecting conditioned air to where it is needed.  In all actuality they are just restricting how much air the system can produce and putting the system under stress.  In addition, those areas that are now not conditioned become additional sources of heat loss and heat gain making the system work even harder to maintain temperature in the home.

2) Forgetting to change the air filter – This is by far the number one cause of system failure.  Every heating and cooling system has an air filter.  Most filters need to be changed every month.  Keeping your air filter clean will extend your system’s life and improve its efficiency.

3) Installing filters in the supply air vents – The only place a filter should be located is in the return air ductwork or on the return air side of the system.  The return side of a system is where the air leaves the home and flows towards the system.  Do not install filter material in the supply air vents (where the warm and cool air comes out).  Here again, these added restrictions make the system work harder.

4) Letting shrubs or debris build up around the outdoor unit – if you are talking about a heat pump or an air conditioning unit then air flow is just as important outside as it is inside.  Just like the indoor portion of your system, the outdoor portion needs proper air flow through it as well.  Make sure to keep all shrubs and debris away from your outdoor unit.  Also make sure not to build fences or walls too close to your outdoor unit.  And finally, it is a good idea to wash your outdoor unit with a hose.  Do not use high pressure water.  A simple garden hose will do.  The object is to rinse off the coil of the outdoor unit.

The easiest way to understand the importance of proper air flow is to think of your furnace or air conditioning system as your heart and your ductwork and vents as your veins.  If your veins clog then you will have a heart attack.  Same principle with your heating and cooling system, if you block air flow then the system will be under stress and eventually will give out.

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