How to Increase Airflow Through Upstairs Vents

Introduction

In a perfectly air-sealed home, we would not need to vent or circulate the upstairs. Having the bedrooms above the living area is not ideal for ventilation; however, if you live in an older home and wish to keep it as such, small tweaks can be made to allow for some more airflow into your house. In this article, I will discuss how to increase airflow through upstairs vents. So let us get started.

How to Increase Airflow Through Upstairs Vents

Why Increase Airflow Through Upstairs Vents?

When you have a forced-air heating system, vents provide fresh air to the house while circulating stale air out. There is no increase in airflow in the upstairs vents, and it indicates that either the blower is not running or your ductwork has a blockage. While this does not always indicate a serious problem, it should still be inspected as soon as possible.

Your HVAC system is constantly moving contaminated air throughout the home and trying to replace it with cleaner air from outside through open windows and doors, fans, and vents. In addition, when a forced-air furnace senses higher levels of oxygen versus carbon dioxide (a dangerous condition), it will turn on an auxiliary blower specifically designed to pull in cooler outside air to dilute the carbon dioxide.

This type of system is called an air-moving, or positive-pressure, furnace because it pushes air through the ductwork by blowing in more than is taken out. The majority of homes in the United States rely on this forced-air system for heating and cooling. Unfortunately, when there is no increase in airflow in your upstairs vents, it can indicate that a serious problem exists.

Airflow from each floor registers independently at any given time, so you have to look at all registers if you want to know how much total airflow there is in your home right now.

Reasons Behind Low Airflow

There are many reasons why there may be no increase in airflow through upstairs vents, and we will address some of them below:

The first reason that may occur is that if the upstairs floor vents are blocked, they will not allow air to pass. This could be caused by leaves or debris in the opening of the vent. Another possibility is that the screens have become damaged and are no longer functioning properly. The screen needs to fit tightly over the vent for it to work properly; otherwise, bugs will be allowed into your home through this opening. If there is a cover on top of your vent, take it off to increase air passage.

Take Cover on Top of Your Vent to Increase Air Passage.

An additional cause of low ventilation flow could be due to having multiple splits on different levels throughout your home entering into one main duct system. Air must travel down each branch duct, and at every split, it is divided between multiple vents.

This reduces airflow and causes the downstairs vents to have a higher pressure than the upstairs floor vent. The solution here is to install an additional return air supply register on each level of your home in addition to the split on the main duct that feeds into all of them.

If there are recessed lights located near your registers, they can be a cause for low ventilation flow as well. If you notice that there’s no increase in airflow through upstairs floor vents despite having everything else properly set up, take out any nearby light fixtures and see if the problem persists. Keep in mind. However, this may not solve every case since some homes are restricted with a low ceiling height.

Step-wise Guide on How to Increase Airflow Through Upstairs Vents

Remove Vent Covers:

Removing a vent cover is simple and can be done with just your hands. Just pull it out from the wall and remove it using both hands for safety precautions. You can also use the back of your hand to push down on the center metal bar so you can remove it easier.

Clean Outside Vent:

Take a vacuum cleaner, brush, or cloth to clean around the outside of vent covers and vents themselves that are usually coated with years’ worth of dust or pet hair that clogs up airways inside vents which reduces their airflow rate. 

Clean Outside Vent:

Take a vacuum cleaner, brush, or cloth to clean around the outside of vent covers and vents themselves that are usually coated with years’ worth of dust or pet hair that clogs up airways inside vents which reduces their airflow rate. 

Clean Outside Vent:

Take a vacuum cleaner, brush, or cloth to clean around the outside of vent covers and vents themselves that are usually coated with years’ worth of dust or pet hair that clogs up airways inside vents which reduces their airflow rate. 

Clean Outside Vent:

Take a vacuum cleaner, brush, or cloth to clean around the outside of vent covers and vents themselves that are usually coated with years’ worth of dust or pet hair that clogs up airways inside vents which reduces their airflow rate. 

Take a vacuum cleaner, brush, or cloth to clean around the outside of vent

Clean Outside Vent:

Take a vacuum cleaner, brush, or cloth to clean around the outside of vent covers and vents themselves that are usually coated with years’ worth of dust or pet hair that clogs up airways inside vents which reduces their airflow rate. 

Clean Outside Vent:

Take a vacuum cleaner, brush, or cloth to clean around the outside of vent covers and vents themselves that are usually coated with years’ worth of dust or pet hair that clogs up airways inside vents which reduces their airflow rate. 

Clean Outside Vent:

Take a vacuum cleaner, brush, or cloth to clean around the outside of vent covers and vents themselves that are usually coated with years’ worth of dust or pet hair that clogs up airways inside vents which reduces their airflow rate. 

Precautions While Performing How to Increase Airflow Through Upstairs Vents

Airflow can be increased through the upstairs vents, with some safety tips:

A service technician is always recommended to remove the cover and clean the fans in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Be sure there are no flames before opening a damper – open it slowly to avoid slamming it shut if you have a fire. Be careful when stacking wood because sparks can fly out of an opening in front of an upstairs vent.

Do not obstruct the air intake of an existing fireplace or wood-burning stove as this will reduce airflow; also, combustibles should be kept at least one foot away from all sides of the device. Finally, do not damage any part of your furnace when adding combustion air openings; use caution when working near hot surfaces and never use a gas-fired appliance without the proper ventilation.

The Benefits of Balance

A well-balanced house supports healthy indoor air quality. The benefits of balancing the airflow in your home can be summarized in three words: Healthy, Efficient, and Comfortable. A balanced HVAC system is actually better at delivering comfort on cold days than a traditional system that’s been forced to operate at a higher capacity for months or even years. Of course, it just makes sense to balance out the airflow when you’re not using all your supply ducts anyway.

And while it’s certainly possible to balance your airflow by increasing the size of each register, adding registers (while desirable) isn’t always an option. Fortunately, there’s another way: Increase the size of several registers at once – ideally, those on opposite sides of your home.

Effect of Local Weather on Upstairs Vents

When it’s cold outside, the air pressure is relatively low. So when you open an upstairs vent during colder months, the hot air exits through ducts and vents into the attic space, but because of lower air pressure in the house from warm air escaping into the cold exterior.

The exterior (cold) air mixes with heated interior air to reach equilibrium, resulting in down-flowing room temperature (but cleaned) exhaust/returned air from upstairs rooms through downstairs vents into living spaces in the basement or first floor.

The opposite occurs when it’s hot outside: Hotter than expected return/exhaust airflow causes a partial vacuum in the pipe between the vent and exterior wall, causing condensation moisture to form on all inside surfaces of the black iron pipe.

It’s important to note that surrounding weather conditions can affect the performance of your HVAC system over time. To increase airflow through upstairs vents, you can install a dedicated attic fan with automatic thermostat control in an unheated attic space above your master bedroom and run down-flowing ducting from this attic fan into all downstairs bedrooms and laundry area.

Conclusion

I hope you have obtained a clear conception of how to increase airflow through upstairs vents. Also, ensure all the safety protocols while performing the process. Thank you and have a nice day!

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