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Beware of Low Air Flow in Your Furnace

low-air-flowWinter is almost here, and chances are you’ve been running your heater on a regular basis by now. That’s only going to become more frequent as 2017 draws to a close and low temperatures become a daily part of life. It’s very important to pay close attention to your heater and watch for signs of any trouble. If problems crop up, now is the ideal time to get them treated: before winter begins in earnest when you can schedule repairs at a time that is convenient to you, instead of having to run around to fix a broken heater in the middle of a cold spell later in the winter.One of the most common symptoms of a problem with your heater is the reduced flow of air from your vents. It’s also one of the most subtle, and can be difficult to spot if you don’t know to check for it. It’s easy enough to spot, however. You can simply feel the flow of air from your vents to see if the air is coming out more slowly than normal, or tie ribbons to the vents and watch to see if they flap more lazily when you turn your heating system on. When they do, you should shut the system off and call in a repair service. It may seem hard to believe, but low air flow is often the sign of a serious problem.

What Causes It?

The causes of low air flow are varied, but can be grouped into two basic categories:

  • Something Blocking the Flow. That can mean a clogged filter, or an¬†obstruction somewhere in the system (usually the ducts). In some cases, it can involve a breach of the ducts pulling hot air out of the system.
  • A Problem with the Fan Apparatus. The fan is responsible for blowing the hot air through the ducts, and if it loses power, then the air won’t flow smoothly. That can come from a problem with the electrical wiring, an issue with the fan motor, a loose fan belt, or maybe even trouble with the fan blades themselves.

Why Is It a Problem?

Low air flow is a problem for two main reasons, both of which could spell big trouble for your system.

In the first place, it slows down the rate at which your furnace warms your home. That means it will burn more fuel than it should and raise your monthly bills accordingly. It also means that other components in the system will be subjected to more strain, which increases the risk of a more serious breakdown.

Beyond that, however, low air flow almost always means that hot air will stay trapped in your furnace, which in turn increases the chances of the system overheating. In modern systems, the safety features will kick in before that happens, but it also means that your heater won’t be able to be used until the system cools down again, and will work only fitfully at best until the issue is resolved.

To fix low air flow in your Salt Lake City, UT home, call At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today!

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