Under Pressure – Why Clean Air Filters Matter

Just like the iconic rock band Queen, your HVAC system is always “Under Pressure.” As air moves throughout a building, different factors have an effect on the flow of that air. These factors affect the air flow temperature, speed, and pressure. Issues within your HVAC system can cause the air pressure to change, which could negatively affect you and others attempting to work or live in those spaces. If you have ever walked into a room and immediately noticed something “off” about the way the air felt in the space, then you may have been experiencing high air pressure. High air pressure can lead to temperature fluctuations and general discomfort for people operating in that room. Even if you have already stocked your building with Comfort First’s premier air conditioner deflectors and air vent diffusers, an issue with your HVAC system could be causing static pressure issues.


How Does Air Flow Through An HVAC System?

In order to understand how your building can be negatively affected by high air pressure, you must first grasp how air is brought in to a space and distributed by an HVAC system. HVAC systems work by in-taking outside air, putting it through an air purification process, and then distributing that air throughout the building at the desired temperature. This entire system is controlled by a thermostat – the HVAC unit self-adjusts the pressure and heat levels to produce the desired effect. The air that reaches the occupants of the building can not only vary in temperature level, but in pressure levels as well.


What Is Static Pressure?

Static pressure can be a real drag. In fact, drag is a great way of framing one’s thinking about static pressure. When air is free to move throughout a space without being impeded or experiencing drag, the static pressure will remain at comfortable levels. When air is trying to move through a system where it experiences drag, the static pressure of that air will rise. High static pressure can not only make the air in a space uncomfortable, but it can also place stress on components of your HVAC system that could lead to maintenance issues and even system failure. Having a certified HVAC professional evaluate your system will definitely determine if there is in fact a static pressure issue.


How Is Static Pressure Measured?

If you suspect your system has a high or low static pressure issue, or if you just want to do a general wellness-check on your HVAC system, contact a certified technician. A maintenance technician will visit your location and perform a test on your system. He or she determines if there is an air pressure issue by measuring static pressure at several places along your system and by checking the air handler filter pressure sensor. This sensor is a permanent installation in your HVAC system that is designed to protect the system from a catastrophic failure. Low static air pressure issues will typically cause this type of catastrophic failure, but high static pressure issues are much more common and need to be measured by an on-site technician.


Problems Bad Static Pressure Can Cause

If your unit is experiencing static pressure issues, it can manifest in your system in a number of ways.

  • Noise: if your system is experiencing high static pressure, you may hear loud sounds coming from the unit and ducting. The higher the static pressure, the more physical pressure and strain is placed on your HVAC unit.
  • Lackluster Airflow: if you can feel distinct hot or cold spots in a space, or the air just being generally uncomfortable, static pressure could be the culprit.
  • Component Failure: as previously mentioned, high static air pressure causes intense strain on your unit. Components may cease to function or drastically lose efficiency.
  • Complete Unit Failure: if not caught in time, high static pressure can cause the catastrophic failure of your entire unit.


How To Fix Static Pressure Issues

Regular wellness checks from a qualified HVAC maintenance technician is your best bet to ensure the longevity of your HVAC system. There are steps you can take to prevent static pressure issues and safeguard the health of your unit. The biggest thing that can be done to prevent high static pressure is providing clean filters for your unit. Think back to drag – the easier air can move through a space the better quality that air will maintain. Drag causes air molecules to slow down and work harder to reach you, which means that they may change temperature and no longer match the temperature that the HVAC unit is trying to produce. A dirty filter blocks the flow of air and makes the entire unit work harder to push air through.

The proper filtration system can make all the difference to the health of your HVAC unit. Luckily, Comfort First makes it easy to filter air through our commercial diffusers and vent diverters. We also provide convenient replacement filter sets to keep your air flowing and at optimum static pressure levels. Shop our online store today!