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Does Your Air Conditioner's Airflow Need A Tune-Up?

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Airflow is a crucial part of your home's HVAC system. Both your air conditioner and your furnace rely on adequate airflow to maintain a comfortable home, but the air moving through the system also keeps your equipment healthy. Airflow restrictions or leaks can reduce system efficiency, increase utility bills, and lead to premature component failures.

Unfortunately, issues with your air conditioner's airflow aren't always immediately apparent. If you haven't been scheduling routine air conditioning service visits, you may be unaware that your system is struggling to get enough air. Instead of paying more than necessary and risking costly repairs, keep an eye out for these three signs of airflow restrictions in your home's air conditioning system.

1. Long Cycles

Your air conditioning system works by waiting for your home's thermostat to call for cooling. Thermostats call when they detect temperatures above your setpoint and stop calling when the temperature reaches your desired level. Your air conditioner may run several times per hour to maintain this temperature, but it should be able to cool your home down relatively quickly each time.

If you notice your air conditioner running for much too long, you may have an airflow restriction or leakage. Even if your air conditioner's refrigerant is absorbing heat from the air, it won't do you much good if you can't distribute the cooler air to each room. As a result, your air conditioner will need to run longer to reach the same temperature, placing much more wear on critical components.

2. Frozen Evaporator Coils

As your refrigerant absorbs heat, it reduces the air temperature around your evaporator coils. Your house blower moves this cooler air to each room and pulls in warm air, allowing the cycle to continue. However, insufficient airflow near the blower will cause the air temperature to drop below design specifications, ultimately causing condensation to freeze on the coils.

Common symptoms of frozen evaporator coils are icy air from your vents, high humidity, and frequent compressor shutdowns. You may find that your AC shuts off for several hours or longer until the evaporator thaws and refrigerant can flow freely again. If you notice any of these problems, it's time to schedule a service for your AC as soon as you can.

3. Uneven Cooling

Another sign of an airflow issue is uneven cooling throughout your home, especially within a single zone. If you notice that some rooms are colder than others, it could be a sign that your blower isn't moving enough air to reach all of your vents. This problem can occur due to dirty filters, vent leaks, a faulty blower motor, or several other issues.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should schedule a service appointment for your air conditioner as soon as possible. While airflow problems might seem relatively minor, they can lead to far more expensive repairs in the future.