Causes for Weak or Limited HVAC Air Flow & Their Solutions

One of the most frustrating things for building managers in commercial settings is weak or limited airflow through vents. This problem can cause several issues, such as uncomfortable temperatures, increased energy costs, uneven heat distribution, and indoor air quality issues. To increase airflow through vents in commercial buildings, it is crucial to understand the underlying causes of this problem so that you can take measures to address it.

Causes of HVAC Airflow Problems & Their Solutions

Clogged Air Filters

Because these filters tend to become clogged with dirt and debris over time, they must be replaced regularly. If you don’t replace the filters as needed, the airflow can become restricted, making it more difficult for the system to operate efficiently. In addition, unfiltered air can be less comfortable for those working in the setting, as it will feel stuffy and stale. Failing to replace filters can lead to various negative consequences for both the system itself and employees and customers. Fortunately, dealing with this problem is easy – all that is needed is to frequently replace filters as required to maintain healthy airflow through the HVAC system. With regular filter replacement, everyone can breathe easier knowing that they will enjoy clean, fresh air without compromising their HVAC system’s performance!

Oversized & Undersized HVAC Unit

When it comes to HVAC units, size matters. If your unit is too small, it won’t be able to heat or cool your space effectively. This issue can lead to discomfort for you and your employees and reduced productivity. On the other hand, if your unit is too large, it will cycle on and off frequently, reducing efficiency and lifespan. The solution is to have your HVAC unit properly sized for your space in both cases. A professional HVAC contractor can help you determine the ideal size for your unit based on the square footage of your building and the climate in your area. With a properly sized unit, you can enjoy increased comfort and efficiency, as well as peace of mind knowing that your HVAC system will last for years to come.

Accumulation of Debris in the Outdoor Unit

Over time, leaves, twigs, and other organic matter can build up on the air conditioning unit’s coils and fan blades, restricting airflow and causing the unit to work harder than it needs to. The good news is that this problem is relatively easy to fix. Simply remove the debris from the coils and blades on a regular basis – most units have a removable grill that makes this task easy – and be sure to trim back any trees or bushes located near the unit. By taking these simple steps, you can help to ensure that your air conditioner runs smoothly and efficiently all year long.

Low Refrigerant Levels in Your Unit

If you notice that your air conditioner is struggling to keep your workplace cool, there could be a problem with your refrigerant levels. When the refrigerant level is low, the compressor has to work harder to circulate the coolant through the system, reducing airflow in the building. In addition, low refrigerant levels can cause the evaporator coils to freeze, further decreasing airflow and causing moisture to build up.

The best way to address this problem is to have a licensed technician add more refrigerants to your unit. They will also check for any leaks in your system and repair them if necessary.

Blocked or Leaking Ducts

Ducts can sometimes become damaged or disconnected, leading to a significant drop in air pressure, causing reduced airflow and increased utility bills. In addition, blockages of debris in the ductwork can cause airflow problems. You can remedy this issue by having the HVAC system professionally cleaned regularly, which will remove any dirt and contaminants that may be clogging the ducts and causing airflow problems.

Vents Blockage

Vents can become blocked for several reasons, such as when furniture is too close to them or when the vents themselves become covered in dust and debris. In addition, some types of HVAC systems are more prone to blockages than others. For example, central air systems typically have two different kinds of vents – supply and return – which can become blocked independently of each other. As a result, it’s essential to check both types of vents regularly to ensure they are clear. Otherwise, you may find that your HVAC system can’t circulate air properly, leading to a decrease in performance and an increase in your energy bills. The good news is that there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent vent blockages from occurring in the first place. For instance, keep furniture at least a few inches away from vents and vacuum the vents regularly to remove any contaminant build-up.

Oversized & Undersized Ductwork

If the ducts are too small, the air will be restricted and won’t flow properly. Conversely, if the ducts are too large, the air will move too quickly and won’t have time to heat or cool the space properly. In either case, the result will be an uncomfortable room temperature. Thankfully, there are a few solutions to this problem. One is to replace the existing ductwork with an appropriately sized system. Another option is to use flow plates or baffles to throttle the airflow and ensure it moves at the right speed. Finally, you can install a variable speed motor to adjust the airflow speed based on your needs.

AC Blower Not Working

The blower is a vital part of any HVAC system, and it is responsible for circulating air throughout the property. Unfortunately, the blower can become clogged with dirt, dust, and other debris over time. This can not only reduce the amount of airflow, but it can also lead to other problems like reduced efficiency and increased wear and tear on the system. The best way to prevent this issue is to clean the blower and other system parts regularly. A professional HVAC technician can clean the blower and inspect the rest of the system to ensure it runs smoothly. Regular maintenance will help prolong the life of your HVAC system and keep your business comfortable all year long.

Dirty Coils

The coils are one of the most critical components of a HVAC system. They are responsible for transferring heat between the warm air circulating in your property and the cold refrigerant in the system, ensuring that your workplace stays at a comfortable temperature. If the coils become dirty or contaminated, they will be unable to properly transfer heat, resulting in decreased airflow and significantly higher energy consumption. Luckily, a trained technician can quickly remedy this problem by carefully cleaning and restoring the coils to optimal working condition. However, if the contamination is too severe, it may be necessary to replace the damaged coils entirely. Regardless of which option is required, keeping your cooling system well-maintained for maximum efficiency and comfort is essential.

Limited Return Air Vents

When it comes to delivering conditioned air through your setting, ducted air vents are essential. These vents allow the system to draw in the required amount of air and distribute it efficiently throughout the space while also regulating airflow and cutting energy costs. However, when there are insufficient return air vents in a given area, the system has to work harder to draw in air, which can cause numerous problems. This can include reduced airflow and increased utility costs, which can significantly impact both the comfort level of your business and your monthly bills. The best way to solve this problem is to add more ducted air vents to ensure that the system can operate efficiently.

Old HVAC Unit

As your HVAC unit ages, parts will inevitably deteriorate and break. This wear and tear can cause airflow problems and decrease the overall performance of your unit. In some cases, the only solution is to replace the whole unit. However, before you decide to replace your HVAC entirely, it’s a good idea to get a professional opinion. A licensed technician can take a close look at your system and see if there are any minor repairs that they could make to keep it running effectively. Often, these smaller fixes are much more cost-effective than installing an entirely new unit, so if your system still has some life left in it, it’s definitely worth checking out first. With a little bit of care and attention from a qualified technician, you can ensure that your system will run smoothly for many years to come.

How to Improve HVAC Airflow

Weak airflow from vents can be a frustrating problem. Fortunately, you can do a few simple things to improve airflow and get your HVAC unit back up to speed.

  • Clean your air filters regularly. Clogged filters can restrict airflow and cause your HVAC unit to work harder than necessary.
  • Check your vents to ensure nothing is obstructing them in any way. If furniture or other objects are blocking them, they won’t be able to draw air through the system correctly.
  • Repair any leaks or holes in your HVAC ductwork as soon as possible.
  • Remove dust from your fan blades regularly with a brush or vacuum cleaner.
  • Replace an older HVAC unit with a newer, more energy-efficient model.
  • Ensure you have regular cleaning and maintenance carried out on your HVAC system by professionals to prevent airflow problems from occurring in the first place.


HVAC systems are an essential part of any commercial setting, providing critical heating and cooling services to ensure that the environment remains comfortable and safe for everyone inside. However, many business owners may not realise that several factors can lead to weak or limited airflow in these systems. To effectively address this problem, it is essential to understand how HVAC systems work, what can cause them to underperform, and how to increase the airflow within the ductwork. Then, with a bit of knowledge, some preventative maintenance techniques, and regular inspections by experienced professionals, you can ensure that your system runs at peak performance for years to come. After all, when it comes to something as crucial as your company’s HVAC system, it is always better to be proactive than reactive!

Contact Us

If you have any questions or need more information about improving HVAC airflow, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to help you get your system back up and running like new.