Air Conditioning

Why is Airflow Important to Heating and Cooling Units?

Published on: January 22, 2019
Air filter clogged with dust | Importance of Airflow in Heating and Cooling Units | AC Southeast®

Whether it’s in a home or business, most heating and cooling units don’t have the best airflow. Why does this matter? Let’s answer this frequently-asked question in this blog, as well as what to do about it.

The Role of Airflow in Heating and Cooling Units

Think of air as the medium by which heat travels. When you’re cold, air warms when it passes over the heat exchanger in your furnace. If you use an electric heat pump, heat is extracted or not, to provide heating or air conditioning.


The warm or cool air travels from your heating and cooling units to the ductwork. From there, the conditioned air moves into the various rooms of your house.

Why Airflow Obstruction is Bad

When your heating and cooling units don’t get the proper amount of airflow, a number of things can happen.


Obstruction Strains Your Heating and Cooling Units

When your HVAC system has to push through obstructions in the air filter, it creates excess wear and tear. Your heating and cooling units work harder to move the air through the system. This strain eventually leads to repair needs and in some cases, breakdowns.


Your Heating and Cooling Units May Short Cycle

When your furnace, for example, works harder to push air through a clogged filter, the heat exchanger may overheat. The heat exchanger is kind of like the engine inside your furnace.


As air passes over it, it’s warmed and moved on to heat your home. An overheated heat exchanger may crack. This creates safety risks and necessitates a replacement. To prevent cracks, a “limit switch” in your furnace oftens shuts the furnace down if it detects overheat risk.


“Short cycling” refers to a furnace that stops working before its heating cycle is complete. This behavior leads to uneven temperatures in your house, higher utility bills and is a red flag for a repair.


Clogged Filters Cannot Stop Contaminants

The filters in your heating and cooling units are meant to capture as many indoor pollutants as they can. These include pollen, dust, pet dander and other debris. If the filter is clogged, the indoor pollution stays in your home and in the air you breathe.

Protect Airflow in Your Heating and Cooling Units with These Simple Steps

Home Decor

Simply, be mindful of your air vents when you place your furniture and drapes in your home. Do not cover them with large pieces like sofas and beds. Do not place rugs on top of them.


Sometimes curtains catch the current and billow as the warmed or cooled air fills the space between the curtains and the window or wall. This keeps the conditioned air from warming or cooling the room. Find a way to secure the curtains so the airflow stays in the room instead of ballooning the curtains.


Also, take care to keep clutter from accumulating. Magazines, books and clothes have a way of piling up in busy homes. We’re not saying you have to go all “Marie Kondo” and limit yourself to 30 books, but do find your vents making sure that household items don’t impose on airflow to and from your heating and cooling units.


Finally, sweep and dust regularly. You can also use the attachments from your vacuum to dust the vents you can reach around your home.


Routine Maintenance

First, change your air filter regularly. For most households, every two to three months is sufficient.


Second, schedule regular service for your heating and cooling units. A professional HVAC technician performs a thorough inspection to look for any signs of a problem. You can avoid most big repairs and even breakdowns with regular maintenance. The HVAC technician also tests, cleans and lubricates all relevant components in your heating and cooling units.


Many HVAC contractors offer duct cleaning services. This is a great idea for many homeowners. People most likely to benefit would be those who’ve lived in their homes for years and have never done it, households with multiple pets or members who live with respiratory illness and if you’ve had major renovations in the home.


Heating and Cooling Units Pros Available Now

Need an HVAC expert technician to tune-up your heating and cooling units and offer suggestions for optimal operation? AC Southeast® can help match you with a friendly local professional to perform a simple check of your system. This will ensure you stay comfortable all year long.


We only work with trained and certified professionals who provide outstanding customer service. When you use AC Southeast®, you are guaranteed a certified, trained professional will work on your heat pump. So visit our site today to find your heating and cooling partner!