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What is Air Balancing?

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If you pay top dollar for your air conditioning system, you shouldn't have to deal with uneven airflows.

An unbalanced airflow unequally distributes heating and cooling throughout your home, destabilizing your home's indoor temperature.

We don't encourage a hierarchy system at home. The rightful air should be everyone living at home, and a balanced airflow is your household's crowning glory.

If you're feeling a little hot but notice higher energy costs, you should check the rest of the areas in your house. Cool air might only reach some parts of your home while others are stuck with warm air.

Annually air balancing ensures your air conditioner is not dealing with any underlying issues and allows you to modify your existing HVAC system.

What is Air Balancing?

Air balancing is the process of ensuring your air conditioner's entire system is well-balanced and reaches the certified optimal amount of air circulation.

It includes an examination of your system's performance. A professional inspection will include a qualified HVAC contractor placing an air balancing hood atop air supply registers to accurately measure how much air is coming through your HVAC system.

How to Test the Airflow of Your HVAC System

There are two diagnostic tests for air balancing to measure the airflow of an air conditioning system: Sequential Balancing or Proportional Balancing.

While it's better to leave it to the pros, there is a Do It Yourself technique you can do at home.

Sequential Balancing doesn't require professional HVAC equipment or much expertise, and you can conduct it on your own. However, the more accurate and reliable method used by HVAC professionals is Proportional Balancing.

Sequential Balancing

If a DIY is your only option, this may be the way to go.

Setting zones and branch dampers in sequence per zone on your own can be intimidating, but it is doable.

First, you should know what comprises your air conditioning. Does it have a ductless or duct system?

Single Zoning

If you have a ductless air conditioner, you might have to check each zone (a.k.a. one room)

Typically, air supply vents have a metal lever that directs one or multiple diverter fins. You can close diverters to lessen airflow in certain rooms and heighten them in others.

Ducted System

Air balancing an HVAC system with air ducts is a little different.

Depending on how many are attached to one supply duct, there may be more dampers you will have to adjust. There are simple levers outside ducts that open and shut metal disks within supply lines, and adjusting levers to lay those disks flat maximizes airflow into each room linked to it.

You can lessen or completely close airflow into those rooms by shifting the lever to turn the metal disk upright.

Proportional Balancing

If you want to avoid any mistakes or inaccuracies, you should leave it to the pros.

Air balancing conducted by HVAC technicians includes:

  • Air balancing inspections.
  • Technical alterations (which will require special tools and techniques.)
  • Similar damper adjustments (the same performed in DIY methods.)

HVAC professionals can also conduct air balancing per your comfort. Your options for professional services include Comfort Balance and Complete Redesign.

Comfort Balance

It is a quick fix to heighten overall comfort. It involves the same DIY techniques, with more attention dedicated to all HVAC components. Increasing comfort levels may include an air duct cleaning and adjusting loose duct joints to minimize any possible air loss.

Air loss affects air circulation causing uneven airflow, which leads to negative air pressure.

An annual professional air balancing solely for comfort is recommended by the National Comfort Institute (NCI) for all structures to help even out an entire building's airflow.

Complete Redesign

A more extensive and holistic procedure will cost you a little more. Still, a certified air balance service will likely help you achieve your desired airflow with more modifications geared toward energy efficiency and lower energy bills monthly.

While a complete overhaul of air conditioning systems isn't a yearly recommendation, it is highly recommended for systems with faulty installations.

Faulty Ducting

If your AC unit has undersized ducts, HVAC technicians might suggest additional costs for adjusting ductwork or integrating a supplemental return duct to facilitate air better.

Still, it will depend on your overall indoor air quality, which your home's airflow is highly influenced by.


It's been mentioned a lot, so let's break it down and discuss it in depth.


Air Flow are both operative words that link the movement between outside air, conditioned air, and more air that's blowing through one enclosed structure.

Inconsistent temperatures, static pressure, and improper ventilation negatively affect proper airflow and lead to isolated cold spots and undesirable heating everywhere else.


It is considered harmful when the air pressure outside is higher than indoors.

It is considered hazardous for buildings because it prevents any indoor air contaminants from getting out and remaining within enclosed spaces.


A positive airflow is not only a national standard but necessary.

Residents may avoid health risks by ensuring their home's airflow is a positive one. When indoor pressure is higher than the one outdoors, contaminated air may freely flow out of enclosed spaces through natural ventilation systems and helps introduce higher volumes of fresh air indoors.

How the Air Balance Method Can Help Solve Heating and Cooling System Issues

When your HVAC system consistently undergoes air balancing, you will have cleaner, smoother, and fresher smelling air.

Air conditioning with proper air balance makes any room comfortable at your desired temperature.

A pre-season air balance service helps lengthen the lifespan of your HVAC system and increases the quality of its overall air conditioning with better energy efficiency. You should have an HVAC professional conduct an inspection before summer before things are really heating up.

However, it isn't only a cooling system that requires air balancing maintenance. Ask anyone who runs a successful HVAC business, and they will tell you even a heating system can befit from an annual inspection. In colder seasons, your system's heating output means more. Any zone with a lower temperature can disrupt your entire home's airflow.

A routine air balancing of your HVAC system is beneficial to your wallet and even to your health.

Indoor Air Quality

Poor air quality does not only depend on outdoor pollution.

We generate our own pollution indoors through candles, gas stoves, perfumes, air fresheners, and incense, to name a few. Anything that produces smoke can quickly fog up an HVAC system.

If you do not abide by the state's ventilation requirements with a ventilation rate in cubic feet per minute = (.01 × total sq ft area of the structure) + [7.5 × (number of bedrooms + 1)], you risk dirty filters.

A dirty filter can clog your systems, hindering proper ventilation and pressure. A decrease in air exchange keeps contaminants in your indoor environments for you and your family to inhale.

Indoor environments with abundant pollution and insufficient ventilation are especially dangerous when mold spores are present.

Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew lingering in your indoor air pose significant health problems.

Prolonged or repeated exposure to mold can lead to something as simple as sniffles or worse respiratory diseases.

Multiple studies conducted by various organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), link high exposures to mold with lung cancer and emphysema.

Air balancing helps clear out filtration systems and keep the quality of your air conditioning in check.

Comfort Levels

Keep your HVAC and ventilation systems up to code to maintain optimal health and comfort levels.

Schedule routine maintenance that includes air balancing at least once a year. Please don't think you will be saving any money by skipping them.

You may save some now, but over time, you will see that the best preventive measure you can take that's in your home's best interest is diligently maintaining all air handlers.

When to Call an HVAC Technician for Air Balancing

When you call in for air balancing services, ensure you trust only the most reliable HVAC contractor.

If your HVAC system was improperly installed or insufficiently maintained, do not make the same mistake twice. Your home deserves better than subpar services.

Proper air balancing requires meticulous techniques and professional equipment. HVAC professionals with more advanced equipment can help adjust and improve your systems efficiently.

Sunset Heating and Cooling Electrical

We can help you with air balancing your air conditioner. We have all the necessary tools, experience, and enthusiasm to keep your systems up and running.

We have a team of professionals with varying expertise in different HVAC systems.

Whether adjusting your AC unit's existing ductwork, installing innovative integrations, or measuring their individual and collaborative performances, we're there!

Working with Oregon Residents Since 1922

We have been bringing comfort and efficiency to residents all over Oregon for one hundred years.

Our expertise, transparency, and competitively-priced solutions remain at the core of our century-long success.

Call (503) 500-5866

Visit our website to book an appointment online or see how we could be of service to you.

For your more urgent concerns, call our hotline anytime, 24/7.

What Our Clients Say

Many thanks for a great job of diagnosing, explaining and fixing our problem. We are very appreciative and will be happy to tell others.

-Greg G.

Jeremy was knowledgeable, personable, and took the time to explain things. Highly recommend his service.

-Scott B.

Ryan from Sunset Heating & Cooling was friendly, efficient, helpful and so pleasant to have in our home. A great company and wonderful service.

-Kathi P.

Caring, professional and helpful. Thanks for making things happen quickly and getting my Dear friend's heating back up and running in such a quick manner. You went above and beyond for a family in need and that is very much appreciated. Thanks from the whole group!

-Kristina K.

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