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Your HVAC’s ability to keep your Dallas, TX, home comfortable is impacted by several things. For example, rooms within your house with a lot of electrical equipment may require additional cooling, just like rooms with many windows facing west. Air balancing is an integral part of any heating and AC repair. It is meant to minimize uneven temperatures, thus saving heating and cooling costs and maintaining your home’s comfort.
An In-Depth Look at Air Balancing
Ideally, your architect should have provided you with a blueprint of your home’s HVAC requirements. The document shows how the internal ductwork needs to be laid, the register sizes for each room, and other information such as the most appropriate HVAC system. The architect also assigns each room a Cubic Foot per Minute (CFM) number. This number is the cubic feet of air your unit needs to let out to maintain an even temperature in each room.
On the other hand, your air conditioner has two ductwork branches: the inlet and outlet ductwork. The inlet ducts draw in air from your home and convey it to the air conditioner, where it is cooled and discharged and distributed back to your rooms through the outlets. Ideally, the warm or cooled air discharged by your unit should meet the desired CFM, hence there will not be different temperatures within your home.
An Example of a Unit That Needs Balancing
Imagine the HVAC in your four-roomed house has a single duct coming from the blower. The duct splits in two, one carrying conditioned air downstairs and the other one upstairs. Both of these ducts are also divided into two.
The downstairs ducts serve a kitchen that is 10 feet away and a foyer that is only five feet away. The air from the blower experiences little resistance when flowing into the foyer because of the short distance. On the other hand, the air flowing into the kitchen has to travel a longer distance and perhaps through corners.
In this case, the air balancing issue can be solved by adding dampers to the ductwork leading to the foyer. The dampers can either be fully open or fully closed, depending on the amount of resistance required. The heating and AC repair technician then manipulates these dampers, thus encouraging conditioned air to flow to the kitchen. The same will to the rooms upstairs.
What Causes Air Imbalance?
Some of the factors that could result in inconsistent temperatures include the HVAC size, the condition and size of the ductwork, and how far specific rooms are from the unit. Setting all the rooms in your house to the same temperature would mean that some will be too hot while others too cold, depending on their proximity to the HVAC. For this reason, you need a heating and AC repair to adjust the relative output so that the temperatures in all your rooms are consistent. The heating and AC repair technician will test your heating and cooling system and identify issues that could be causing uneven air flow and negative pressure in a process referred to as air balancing.
Instances Where You Might Need Air Balancing Services
- If there have been any modifications to your HVAC.
- After any HVAC installation service.
- When a few years have elapsed since the last air balance service.
- If there have been any additions or modifications to the rooms served by your HVAC.
- If you start experiencing cold or hot spots in your home. Although you will naturally be inclined to crank up your unit’s temperature settings, doing so could lead to bigger and costly problems or even the premature death of your HVAC.
- Suppose you start receiving unusually high energy bills. These bills show your unit is struggling to keep up with your home’s demand for conditioned air.
- Insufficient airflow. This is likely to happen in rooms that are the farthest from your unit.
Why Does Air Balancing Matter?
Every room in your house has different heating and cooling needs. The heating and AC repair technician uses the air balancing tests to make adjustments in each room based on their results. Some of the advantages of carrying out an air balancing exercise in your home include:
- Increased energy efficiency – Your heating and cooling system’s efficiency is directly related to the airflow. When the airflow is imbalanced, your unit works extra hard. By fixing issues that could be hindering balanced airflow, you will be ensuring that your unit does not consume and waste a lot of energy.
- Better comfort – The main aim of carrying out an air balancing exercise is to distribute the optimal amount of cooled or heated air to each room, thus eliminating hot or cold spots.
- Longer lifespan for your heating and cooling unit – Good airflow minimizes the buildup of dirt, dust, and mold that collects inside your unit over time. This, coupled with enhanced performance, gives your unit a longer lifespan.
- Better indoor air quality – An efficient flow of air improves your home’s indoor air quality by lowering the levels of dust, mold spores, and pollen suspended in the air within your home.
What Does Air Balancing Entail?
Often, the reason certain rooms or areas in your Dallas, TX home are not getting enough cool or warm air is due to leaks in the ductwork. Before embarking on the air balancing process, the heating and AC repair technician will inspect the ductwork. They will also test and inspect the heat pump and return registers and consider environmental factors such as the temperature and humidity levels.
The heating and AC repair technician uses all these details to analyze your unit’s airflow. This will help them know whether it needs air balancing and, if not, recommend alternative corrective action. Some of the problems that might be identified during the inspection include:
- Loose joints in the ductwork
- Blocked ducts
- Undersized ducts
- Sharp turns in the ductwork
- Cracked or damaged ducts
- Ductwork that’s too long
What to Expect During an Air Balancing Exercise
Before the air balancing process, the heating and AC repair technician will:
- Ask for documentation
Your heating and AC repair technician will ask for such documentation as the duct layout, duct design calculations, and your unit’s specifications. If these documents are not available, they will probably sketch your system’s ductwork.
- Check whether the unit is running as designed
The heating and AC repair technician will check whether the unit is running as close to the desired parameters as possible. They will open all splitter dampers and ensure that the fan’s speed is correct. They will then take records of the static pressure to establish whether the pressure and CFM are within the desired limits. At this stage, they will ensure that all accessories are in place.
They will also inspect the unit for any damages or defects that could be causing the imbalance and check the filters for cleanliness.
- Record the airflow inlets and outlets
The heating and AC repair technician will then use an airflow measuring tool to establish the airflow at every inlet and outlet and write them down. At this point, they will also account for grille factors and register in the unit.
- Balance the airflow
Once done, the heating and AC repair technician compares the recorded airflows and compares them to the design airflows. To correct any air imbalances, the heating and AC repair professional may perform any of the following activities:
- Repair any leaky joints or cracks in the ductwork. They will also attend to any insulation issues.
- Adjust the speed of the blower fan or even reposition the dampers. In some cases, the heating and AC repair technician may find it necessary to install a few more dampers.
- The heating and AC repair technician may replace or clean clogged filters.
- If the return ducts are completely blocked or damaged, the heating and AC repair technician may install an extra return duct.
Once the contractor is done, they will test the air repeatedly to establish whether an appropriate air balance has been achieved.
How Much Does Air Balancing in Dallas, TX Cost?
Air balancing is a lot more complicated compared to other HVAC practices such as scheduled maintenance. Also, it requires the use of more specialized equipment.
The total cost of your air balancing service will depend on such factors as the size of your duct openings and their accessibility. The cost of each opening ranges from $75 to $150. This cost is exclusive of services such as removing, sealing, insulating ducts, and any other repair services.
How Is Air Balancing Different from Air Conditioner Maintenance?
As you can see from the above steps, air balancing is a lot more involved than routine maintenance. Routine maintenance is usually performed twice per year, and it entails repair of worn or damaged parts, filter replacement, upkeep of mechanical components, and assessment of the indoor air quality. Routine maintenance is mainly done to preserve your system and prevent it from breaking down when you need it most.
On the other hand, air balancing mostly happens only after the initial installation; it might need to be performed again if there have been changes in room layouts and if the unit has aged.
Can I Balance My System Without the Help of an HVAC Professional?
Like most other practices that involve huge investments, such as your HVAC, air balancing is best left to professional heating and AC repair technicians. Having dealt with multiple systems, a professional is adept at pinpointing issues they have come across before.
Their vast experience and knowledge mean more fast service delivery, not to mention a more reliable outcome. A professional will also have the equipment needed to carry out the task efficiently and accurately. They could also identify and remedy other issues with your unit that are not necessarily related to air balancing.
What Can I Do to Maintain My Dallas, TX, Home’s Air Balance?
Sometimes, you can counter air imbalance by adding more vents to the rooms that you think are predisposed to air imbalance. However, this will fix the air imbalance issue without addressing the problems within your HVAC. For example, if you add vents to a room with air imbalance, your unit is going to have to work extra hard to satisfy the specific room’s temperature requirements.
Some of the ways through which you can handle future air imbalance issues are:
- Address any insulation issues.
- If need be, the HVAC technician may recommend that you replace any windows that are not energy efficient.
- Check whether you might need to upgrade the windows in the rooms with imbalanced air. Alternatively, you might want to install or replace window coverings.
- Add appropriately sized vents, especially in rooms where electronic equipment such as computers, lamps, and large TV screens are being used.
- Keep appliances that generate heat away from the thermostat.
- If you have a two-zone unit, keep the temperatures upstairs a few degrees lower than downstairs. This practice is because the heat rises, and the rooms upstairs will naturally benefit from the heat from downstairs.
Contact the Experts at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating for Air Balancing and Other HVAC Needs
If you are in Dallas, TX, One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating of Dallas is your trusted air balancing expert and all HVAC-related matters. We aim to provide you with exceptional service when it comes to air conditioner installation, repair and maintenance, and air balancing. We have a straightforward pricing guide that ensures there aren’t any unexpected costs.
We offer maintenance plans which allow our customers to automatically set maintenance visits. Through our emergency HVAC services that are available round the clock, we’ll have your unit up and running in no time. We also guarantee our craftsmanship, labor, and materials for up to two years after service. Get in touch with our heating and AC repair experts in Dallas, TX today for more information about our services.