What Causes High Static Pressure In HVAC?

John Martinez

John Martinez

With his MBA, Master HVAC Mechanical license, and nearly a decade of HVAC experience, John Martinez is the founder and strategic leader of Polar Bear Mechanical LTD.
high static pressure

Understanding the ins and outs of your HVAC system is key to making sure you’re able to properly maintain it. Heating and cooling systems are a large investment, so it’s important to understand proper HVAC maintenance and the steps to take if your system malfunctions. It’s unsettling when your heating and cooling system begin to function abnormally, and you’re not quite sure what the problem is or how to fix it. If your system is suddenly making loud, unusual sounds and you don’t know why contact one of our HVAC technicians immediately to check for high static pressure.

The image shows an HVAC technician testing the static pressure of a commercial HVAC system.

One of our technicians will thoroughly inspect your system to identify any problem areas. Other indicators for airflow issues can be whistling and dust build-up on door jams. Luckily, at Polar Bear Mechanical, our HVAC technicians have the proper training and licensing to test and balance your system for proper airflow and static pressure.

Most older residential HVAC systems are operating outside of the manufacturer’s specified static pressure requirements. Static pressure problems can be serious, so it’s important to deal with the issue as soon as possible. If your HVAC system seems to be malfunctioning in any way, such as making loud noises or failing to reach desired temperatures, call our HVAC technicians immediately before the problem snowballs into a bigger issue. If you suspect your system has high static pressure, we’ll conduct readings to see if it’s suffering from restrictive airflow.

The image shows a commercial HVAC system with static pressure readings.

What is HVAC Static Pressure?

Static pressure occurs when there’s poor circulation inside your ducts and, therefore, air isn’t able to reach all the spaces inside your home or business. The airflow inside your ducts has to be greater than the resistance, otherwise, the ductwork becomes overheated and it greatly affects your HVAC system’s performance.

So, when the resistance inside the ducts increases, the static pressure increases as well, making it extremely difficult to achieve efficient airflow.

The image shows a commercial HVAC system on a rooftop.

Consequences of High Pressure

Even if you’re not a trained HVAC technician who knows how to conduct static pressure readings, there are clues you can look for to help you determine if your HVAC system may be struggling with this problem. Some consequences of high static pressure include:

  1. Excessive Noise
    • If your system seems abnormally loud when it’s on, it may be a sign of high static pressure. The more pressure inside your duct system, in other words, the higher your system’s static pressure, the louder it becomes.
  2. Hot and Cold Spots
    • Another sign of possible high static pressure is uneven indoor temperatures. When your HVAC’s airflow is compromised, your system is no longer able to heat up or cool down spaces as it should. As a result, you may experience hot or cold spots in your space.
  3. Increased Energy Bills
    • HVAC equipment with high static pressure is unable to function efficiently. When a part of your HVAC system is working harder than it should, it causes your energy bills to increase. So, monitor your energy bills and note if they suddenly spike for no reason.
  4. System Failure
    • One of the most dangerous results of high static pressure in your HVAC system is total equipment failure. There may be an internal complication causing the increase in static pressure, such as an old blower or faulty compressor. When HVAC systems function with faulty components and high static pressure, the combination could lead to your equipment failing completely. This becomes extremely dangerous during the winter and summer when it’s vital that you’re able to control your indoor temperatures.

The image shows an HVAC technician conducting a static pressure reading on a commercial HVAC unit.

What Causes High Static Pressure?

There are many possibilities as to why your heating and cooling system is suddenly dealing with high static pressure, including:

  1. Improper Air Filter
    • Air filters play an important role in your heating and cooling system, and if you have a thicker than needed filter on your vents, it could cause a decrease in airflow. Plus, if it’s been a while since you’ve changed your air filter and it’s extremely dirty, it’s most likely clogged, isn’t offering a lot of space, and is too restrictive for proper airflow.
  2. Dirty Ductwork
    • Similar to dirty air filters, if your ductwork is clogged with dust and debris, it causes an increase in resistance. The increase in resistance leads to high static pressure and air can’t flow optimally.
  3. Poor Ductwork Design
    • If your ductwork is poorly designed or improperly installed, it can cause high static pressure. For example, if your ducts are too narrow or dip too much, it creates airflow resistance.
  4. Undersized Return Air Intake
    • One of the first areas that can experience air resistance in your ducts is the return air intake. If your compressor is faulty in any way, it could force your system to work harder, decreasing the lifespan of your system and its functionality. So, make sure it always has the degree of pressure it needs.

The image shows a close-up of an HVAC technician conducting a static pressure reading.

What About Low Static Pressure?

Just like it’s bad when your static pressure is high, it’s bad when static pressure is low. Although rare, low static pressure in HVAC systems is possible. Low static pressure is usually caused by one of two things: home upgrades or oversized equipment.

If you upgrad your home’s system without updating the ductwork, your HVAC system might have a difficult time maintaining indoor temperatures. Another culprit of low static pressure is oversized heating and cooling equipment. If either of these take place, the airflow won’t be strong enough to properly distribute cooled air.

The image shows an HVAC technician reading the static pressure of a commercial HVAC unit.

Reach HVAC Efficiency With Polar Bear Mechanical

It’s important that the static pressure in your HVAC system is balanced, and proper measuring requires professional equipment. During an air conditioning maintenance appointment with our HVAC experts, we’ll conduct static pressure readings to make sure your heating and air system is working properly.

If we find that you have high static pressure in your HVAC system, we’ll take the necessary steps to correct the problem. Our HVAC technicians will ensure your commercial and residential HVAC systems are operating within manufacturer specifications and are able to provide proper airflow throughout your space. To schedule your next service with our HVAC contractors, contact our team today!
Read: What is Static Pressure?

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It was our first time using this company, and we had an outstanding experience. They diagnosed our boiler problem and fixed it same day. Very friendly service and showed up exactly when the appointment was set. I highly recommend them.
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Very knowledgeable, friendly and want to do things right the first time. I won't go anywhere else after finding Polar Bear Mechanical. I will be a customer for life. Thank You Again.
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Best decision! They were so easy to work with, quick to respond, affordable, and super nice. The HVAC work they did on our basement finishing project looks great and was done so quickly. Will definitely be using them again for other home projects.
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John and team have been impressively knowledgeable and have been very attentive to any issues. Have come at multiple times very fast, for some emergency issues.

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