Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

A Wheezing AC: Why Its Airflow Is Low


Think of the ventilation system in your house like it’s a set of lungs. It’s not a clean comparison, but it has enough similarities for us to make a point. You want the air to flow through the ventilation system with as few obstructions as possible: air from inside the house flows through the return vents, passes through a filter, then moves through the AC to receive cooling, and then branches out along the supply vents to reach the room. If this airflow drops, it means the ventilation system is “wheezing”—something is keeping the flow through the ducts, filter, or AC from moving cleanly.

When you have a wheezing AC, it can mean several problems: a drop in cooling, a rise in bills, undue strain on components. You may need to call us for AC repair in Frederick, MD to solve the problem, although sometimes a simple explanation can account for the trouble. Below we’ll look at reasons for a decline in airflow in your AC.

The Clogged Air Filter

This is the most common problem for a wheezing air conditioner. In fact, it can create an actual “wheezing” sound: a whistling noise coming from the AC cabinet as the blower tries to pull air through a heavily congested filter. The filter keeps dust and other debris from the air coming through the return vents from infiltrating the cabinet and damaging components. It isn’t self-cleaning, so after one to three months it will become choked up enough to restrict airflow. All you need to do to fix this is replace the filter. Set a regular schedule so you won’t run into this problem in the future.

Blower Fan Trouble 

The blower fan manages air movement for the ventilation system, and it can run into various mechanical and electrical problems. These include bent fan blades, a misaligned fan, or a dying blower motor. The motor may also become coated with grime, which will cause the fan to slow down. You may hear odd clanking and clanging sounds from the AC cabinet warning of these problems—have a professional check out the blower assembly to see if anything needs to be fixed. 

Blocked Vents in the House

A drop in airflow may be due to obstructed room vents. Check all of the vents in the house to make sure they aren’t blocked by furnishing or carpets. Also, look to see if any of the vents are closed. Closing the vents is not an effective way to control which rooms receive cooling, and it will end up raising pressure inside the ventilation system, causing the blower motor to power down and airflow to drop. 

The Ventilation System Is Declining

Finally, you may have a ventilation system that’s starting to deteriorate from age and wear. This means leaking air ducts and gaps and a general drop in airflow. Many ventilation systems weren’t well-installed in the first place, which makes this process occur even faster. You’ll need updates to the HVAC system (and probably a new AC as well) to fix this. 

At Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, we pledge to exceed expectations at every turn. Schedule service now for your air conditioning.