Static pressure in your HVAC system is an important factor in your system’s health. This is the measurement of resistance to airflow within your heating and cooling system’s ducting. When static pressure is at the perfect level, you’ll enjoy lower home energy bills and increased home comfort. Read on to learn more about static pressure and how it affects your system.
Understanding Static Pressure
When you turn your water hose on and let it flow naturally, you’ll likely get a gentle yet continuous stream. However, watch what happens as soon as you block the hose opening with your finger or thumb. You’ll see both the rate of the water’s flow and its pressure will also increase. This is how increases in static pressure impact the flow of air in your HVAC system.
Damaged ducts, blocked ducts, and many other factors impact static pressure. You may have a difficult time spotting these issues. When they occur and cause significant changes in static pressure, many noticeable symptoms will present.
Home energy bills might suddenly skyrocket even though building residents haven’t changed their schedules or behaviors. The living environment might develop hot and cold spots. Frequent repair issues may occur. Worse still, heating and cooling systems might utterly fail long before reaching the end of their expected lifespans.
There’s an Ideal Level for Static Pressure
Both too much and too little static pressure can cause problems. When this measurement is off, HVAC systems can become incredibly noisy. They’ll lose efficiency, and they won’t last as long. Many HVAC contractors agree that 0.5 inches of static pressure is ideal.
At this level, HVAC systems aren’t subjected to accelerated wear. Also, noise levels remain moderate when heating or cooling systems are on. Maintaining static pressure at 0.5 inches is also beneficial for HVAC ductwork. HVAC air ducts are less likely to develop pressure-related leaks or other forms of damage at this level.
What Happens When Static Pressure Becomes Too High or Too Low?
Static pressure in your home’s HVAC system may be too high if your heater or air conditioner constantly overheats. Excess static pressure forces heating and cooling equipment to work harder.
When static pressure is too low, it usually means that there’s continuous air loss within the system. Even when your air conditioner or heater is constantly running, indoor temperatures will remain virtually unchanged. Low static pressure prevents the cool air from making it from your ductwork into your home.
Factors That Cause Static Pressure Issues
Problems with static pressure often have to do with improper equipment sizing. Improperly sized units will always struggle with static pressure issues. Both excess and insufficient static pressure increase overall system wear. This is because it forces HVAC equipment to work harder than it normally would, and leads to shorter lifespans.
Poor filter maintenance can also cause static pressure problems. Air cannot flow freely when air filters are excessively dirty or clogged. There’s even the possibility of having the wrong filter type. Take great care to make sure that you’re replacing your HVAC filters correctly.
How Can You Correct Static Pressure?
The first step in correcting static pressure issues is identifying their source. Excessively high or excessively low static pressure is a symptom of a larger problem. Sometimes homeowners are able to identify the source of airflow problems on their own. Make sure you’ve kept up with filters, and listen for leaky ductwork.
When improperly sized HVAC equipment is the culprit, replacing it with a correctly sized unit is the only sensible choice. Furnaces or air conditioners that are too large will short-cycle throughout their lifespans. If you install an undersized AC, it will keep on running and running, racking up your bills. Avoid HVAC sizing issues by getting the help of a professional.
How to Avoid Static Pressure Issues in Your HVAC System
One easy way to avoid issues with excessively low or high static pressure is by diligently maintaining your HVAC equipment. Change your filters according to your HVAC manual. For most models, this is once every one to three months. Some factors can shorten this:
- Have indoor pets
- Live near a freeway or a busy street
- Haven’t landscaped your yard
- Live near an active construction site
You should also check HVAC air vents or grilles for debris on a regular basis.
Given that imbalances in static pressure shorten the lifespan of HVAC equipment, these are issues that are best resolved right away. Fortunately, static pressure measurements are a part of HVAC maintenance service. Regular system maintenance will prevent you from having static pressure issues.
At Gallagher’s Plumbing, Heating and Air, we offer HVAC maintenance services to residents of Sacramento, California, and the surrounding areas. If you’re having any issues with static pressure, don’t hesitate to give us a call.