Home Problems Caused by Negative or Positive Air Pressure

Most homeowners expect their heating and cooling system to be pretty simple. You adjust the thermostat and either hot or cold air comes out of the vents. That’s all there is to it, right?

Actually, it’s bit more complicated. As air is being moved around your home, it’s important to maintain a balance in air pressure. If not, then the system is not working properly and issues can arise in your home.

Negative versus positive air pressure

If there’s a difference in pressure between the inside and outside of your home, then there is an imbalance.

  • Negative air pressure means the air pressure inside is lower than outside. In this situation, your furnace or air conditioner will have to work harder and use more energy to push air through your space.
  • Positive air pressure means the pressure inside is higher than outside, and air is trying to escape. So you’re losing some of the hot or cold air your system is producing.

What happens when there’s an air pressure imbalance?

When there’s negative or positive air pressure, you’ll notice strange sights, sounds, and feeling around your home. Typical signs include:

  • Doors that open or close on their own
  • Doors that become difficult to open
  • Whistling or other strange noises
  • Extreme air drafts
  • Differences in room temperatures (some are too hot while others are too cold)

Reasons for negative or positive air pressure

There are a few common culprits for air pressure imbalances within your home.

  • Exhaust fans – If a fan moves too much air in one direction and it’s not replaced from elsewhere, an imbalance can occur.
  • Leaky air ducts – Poorly designed or damaged ductwork can force air where it’s not supposed to go.
  • Combustion appliances – When furnaces or fireplaces produce heat, the hot air rises and may cause negative air pressure on lower floors of your home.
  • Too much air being forced by the system – If the fan motor of your AC is set too high, it can force too much air into a room.

Fixing an air pressure imbalance is usually fairly simple and inexpensive. A qualified heating and cooling professional will be able to find the cause of the positive or negative air pressure, then make recommendations to better control the flow of air in your home. Once the air pressure is balanced, your HVAC system will work more efficiently and you won’t experience the same unexplained issues.

If you’re tired of dealing with slamming doors or drafty rooms in your home, give Robert B. Payne, Inc. a call at (540) 373-5876. We have a team of heating and cooling experts ready to help you with your home’s air pressure problem.