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How a Lack of Airflow Leads to Heating Repair

Air flow is obviously a very big part of forced air systems. Without air flow, the entire system doesn’t work. It’s just producing heat and not sending it anywhere. It is precisely that issue that can cause a great deal of damage to your heating system. There are a couple of different ways that your heating system can be prevented from circulating air, but we’re going to focus on one: the air filter. Let’s take a look at what the air filter does, and how it can create air flow issues that lead to heating repair.

The Air Filter

All forced air heating systems have an air filter installed in their air handlers, to protect the system from any dust and debris that might be carried through the ducts. The air filter itself is a woven fiber mesh, stretched over a frame and inserted into the air return. It is designed to capture any harmful particulates that come into contact with it, while allowing air to continue flowing into the system.

The problem occurs when the filter is not cleaned or replaced every couple of months. If not regularly cleaned or replaced, the filter becomes so clogged with debris that it actually restricts the air flow into the system. This leads to a dangerous issue called “short-cycling”


When a clogged air filter is restricting air flow into the system, it deprives the system of the air it needs to maintain a safe temperature. The air moving through the system is being warmed by the heater, but the heater is also being cooled by the air. Without that airflow, the heat the heater is producing becomes trapped in the system. Eventually, the temperature rises past a safe level and the system shuts down to prevent overheating. Once the system cools off a bit, it starts up again and overheats again, and the cycle of on/off continues indefinitely. This places enormous strain on the heater, shortening its lifespan and increasing the risk of a more immediate breakdown.

If you think your heater might be having a problem with your heater, call FB Electrical Services. We provide heating repair throughout Boston.

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