Proper airflow in your home helps to create a comfortable and safe living space by regulating temperature and removing airborne pollutants.
But if you are dealing with poor airflow, how do you increase the airflow in a room? There are two ways of effectively increasing the airflow. One is making sure your HVAC system and its components like vents, ductwork and filters runs at its best condition and the other is to use the natural airflow, or natural ventilation itself to make sure fresh air can come in. Addressing both the HVAC system and natural ventilation is guaranteed to increase your airflow.
While these methods seem pretty straightforward, understanding them better will help you to efficiently pull them off and not end up doing more harm than good.
Airflow And Your HVAC System
The airflow in your home depends a lot on your HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system. A good understanding of it will help you with problems like a poor airflow. Boosting the airflow of the HVAC system will ultimately lead to an increase in the airflow of every room.
An HVAC system’s primary goal is to provide heating and cooling as necessary. To do this, it pumps air in and out of your room according to the required condition. Because of this, your HVAC system governs the airflow in a room.
Even though we refer to the HVAC system as a whole, it actually is comprised of different parts. As the name suggests, it carries out three primary functions which are Heating, Air Conditioning and Ventilation. All three functions need different parts and equipment, and each one of these parts affects the airflow.
Heating is usually done by a furnace or a boiler, which are most often than not placed in the basement. They heat the airflow of a home using oil or natural gas. Conversely, Air conditioners cool the airflow and are connected to the outside. They exchange the hot air found inside with cold air. Some HVAC systems also use heat pumps, which helps to transfer both heat and cool air.
Once the air is cooled or heated, it’s directed to the ductwork which caries it to different rooms of your home.
A few more equipment that supports most HVAC systems are air filters, blowers, and air handlers. Air filters trap airborne particles such as dust and pollen from entering the other equipment, while blowers and air handlers are installed when the conditioned air needs to be moved by force.
It is clear that every part of your HVAC system affects the airflow. Like a machine that splutters because of a defective cog, a fault in just one part of your HVAC system can hurt your airflow.
A Few Steps To Boost Airflow
Making sure that your HVAC system is running smoothly is a great way to increase and improve airflow. While a thorough analysis of the system can pose a challenge, there are a few details you can look into.
It’s always recommended to bring in a professional for the steps you find difficult.
The following are a few things you need to look out for and fix to increase your airflow.
1) Check Vents And Registers
The best place to start analyzing your HVAC system is the vents and registers. This is where the conditioned air will flow into your room. Make sure they are not blocked, especially by furniture. If they are, rearranging the furniture will help increase airflow. Also, keep the registers open to maximize airflow.
Increasing the number of vents can also help boost airflow. A few vents mean that the amount of air received by a room is limited. But this has to be done with caution. Too many vents might affect the pressure build-up in the ducts and cause other rooms to have poor airflow.
2) Examine Ductwork
The ducts distribute conditioned air. So, a fault here is definitely going to hinder the airflow. You need to keep an eye out for the following faults while examining ductwork.
Clogged Ducts -Even though an air filter traps most of the debris, ducts can accumulate dirt and dust over time. This will drop the rate of airflow. So cleaning the ducts occasionally is a good way of increasing the airflow.
Leaking Ducts – A leaking duct is going to reduce the pressure in the duct system, which will then cause the airflow to drop. It also lets conditioned air escape. This leads to energy waste because the cooling and heating systems need to work harder to meet the required demand.
Duct Size – Both undersized and oversized ducts are bad for the airflow. An undersized duct will not be able to push the required volume of air while an oversized duct will lose its airflow due to the lack of pressure.
3) Clean The Filters
Most of the equipment used in the HVAC system has inbuilt filters. The air conditioner, furnace, and air filter are a few. The air that circulates your rooms passes through these filters. Eventually, the filters are going to collect dust and other airborne particles which will limit the amount of air that goes through them. Cleaning or replacing these filters will bring back the airflow to its usual volume and also increase the rate of airflow.
But be careful here –
Even though the specialized and the more expensive air filters tend to be able to filter more pollutants to help you with allergies and indoor air quality, you have to make sure your HVAC unit is equipped for those kinds of filters. You’ll have to find the right balance between finding a filter that will filter the most pollutants without compromising your HVAC’s airflow or making it overwork.
We talk about those air filters in this post and how they’re rated.
4) Adjusting Blower Speed
Another way of increasing the airflow is by changing the speed setting of your blower or air handler. The process can be pretty technical according to how your blower is set up. Some room thermostats allow you to change the speeds through it.
But sometimes, you might have to manually do it by changing the wiring of the fan motor itself. We highly recommend hiring a technician for the job because there is a risk of damaging the device if the connections are not set up properly.
5) Changing The HVAC Design
If you have changed the layout of your home or done any major renovations, you need to change the design of your HVAC system. This is because the current HVAC design will not be able to factor in the need for excess conditioned air for any additional room you might have built. This will decrease the rate of airflow in the other rooms as well.
Thus changing the structure of your HVAC system is something to consider if you are having airflow issues.
Use The Natural Airflow To Your Advantage
While tweaking your HVAC system is a great way to increase airflow, you shouldn’t neglect the natural air coming in from the outside. It’s the best resource – it’s free and won’t cost you any electricity.
Why not use it if you live in an area with healthy outdoor air?
The following are a few methods of using the natural airflow to your advantage.
1) Open The Doors and Windows
This is probably the simplest steps of them all.
Just open your doors and windows. It sounds so simple, it’s almost embarrassing to even list it here.
This is something every home should do once in a while. In theory, your HVAC system recycles the same volume of air. Therefore, opening the doors and windows will introduce a fresh batch of air into the circulation. It will also increase the airflow, although we cannot regulate it, unlike a HVACs air circulation.
2) Invest In Fans
Fans are a great way to supplement natural airflow. While there are many fans available, strategically positioning them in a room is the key to increasing the airflow. Two types of fans worth investing in are ceiling fans and window fans.
A ceiling fan in the middle of a room will create an air current that would greatly increase the airflow. Window fans will quicken the rate outside air enters a room.
Furthermore, you can create cross ventilation by installing window fans at the opposite ends of the room. Place one to direct air into the room and the other to direct air out of it. Make sure the windows are closed when doing this.
3) Install Attic Vents
Attic vents help to improve airflow as well. Because warm air tends to rise, attic vents will naturally remove warm air from a room. Using attic vents along with fans will speed up the process. An attic vent in the winter might become a problem because it will remove the much needed heated air. Therefore, it is better to install it with a cover system.
4) Fix Insulation
Last but not least, you need to fix any damaged insulation in your room. Gaps or openings in your insulation will cause a draft. A draft will affect the airflow, especially if you have your HVAC system running.
How to improve air circulation in a room without windows?
Naturally, the HVAC system of a house ventilates windowless rooms as well. But if you feel that the room needs extra air circulation, your best bet is to invest in a fan. While the fan is running, make sure to open the doors and windows of other rooms as well. This will increase and improve the air circulation of the room as its air is exchanged with the rest of the house.
How to increase airflow in a furnace?
The airflow in a furnace decreases mostly because of debris, dirt and dust blocking the airways. You can increase the overall airflow by cleaning and removing them. The best places to look for accumulated dirt are the filters, vents, ductwork and the motor of your blower.
How strongly should the air come out of vents?
Generally, you should be able to feel the air coming out of your vents. But it doesn’t have to be a blast. Having a strong airflow means that your HVAC equipment will consume more energy, therefore make sure that the airflow is up to the required strength.