Does it Save Money to Close Vents in Rooms You Don’t Use?
Many homeowners have been told closing air vents in rooms you don’t use often saves money and is more energy-efficient. The truth is that closing air vents does more harm than good. It makes an HVAC system run more, is inefficient, makes other parts of your house uncomfortable and, especially in the long run, is more expensive. Learn the truth behind usual misconceptions concerning your home’s air vents from professional HVAC service providers.
Does Closing Air Vents Help Your System?
Rooms in your house have air vents that send heated or cooled air from your furnace or air conditioning system all over the house. It’s a common mistake to think shutting these vents in one location of your home reroutes airflow to other areas. If you have a room, or even a whole floor, of a house you rarely use, why not close the vents and supposedly save the heating or air from covering those spaces?
Shutting the vents redirects the airflow, but not to where you want it to go. When some vents are closed, air backs up into the house’s ductwork, which raises the pressure within. This pressure is exerted onto ductwork, which results in duct leaks. The air you intended to redirect is lost with duct leaks, right into unconditioned locations. Closing supply vents builds atmospheric pressure inside the ducts, this inadvertently sends warm air (when you’re wanting cool air, or vice-versa depending on the season) out via leakages into unconditioned areas of your house. To make up for what’s lost, compared to the temperature setting on your thermostat, now your system runs more.
I Thought Closing Vents Saved Energy
It’s often thought that closing air vents conserves power in a property. This isn’t the case. In fact, closing vents can actually raise power usage as well as costs. Heating and cooling systems are designed to efficiently warm or cool the home they’re installed in. Your systems won’t run differently because of closed vents. It doesn’t know what you’re attempting to do. Closing vents change the intended airflow of the whole HVAC system. With only some vents open, it’s making the system inefficient. The system is still going to heat or cool the entire house. You’re quite likely increasing energy usage and utility bills. In the long run, it could be very expensive if you’re shortening the life of your HVAC parts or system.
Am I Helping Other Rooms Be Warmer or Cooler?
The common myth about closing vents in rooms that aren’t used much is it’s going to help the floors or areas of the house which are used all the time. Instead, air that has gone through the system and should leave through the vents leaks. The difference in the airflow doesn’t get efficiently sent to where you want it to go.
There’s also science here. Heat is naturally going to leave warmer areas and go into colder areas. This is true if the vents are open or closed. Part of the reason vents should stay open is because the HVAC system is designed to take rising, warmer air into circulation.
Keeping one or more rooms unheated inside an otherwise warm house tends to suck heat energy out of the heated areas and into the cold rooms through interior walls that aren’t insulated. The furnace or AC cycles on and off more frequently to compensate for the loss, actually raising energy costs and diminishing indoor comfort. What you thought was helping improve home comfort is taking away from it.
Bigger Issues about Air Flow
Important parts of an HVAC system are designed to work best with a minimum return air circulation volume. This impacts the temperature, energy usage, and the life of the machinery, and even may impact the health of everyone in the house.
Closing vents cut down air circulation. This can damage parts. It can create faster wear and repairs or replacements. It can cause leaks and corrosion. In a furnace system, a broken heat exchanger can lead to high carbon monoxide (CO) levels and be a major safety hazard. And in an air conditioning system, closed vents can damage coils and compressors. In these situations, closing vents accidentally leads to premature problems.
What about Partly Closing Vents?
you should never fully close air vents, you may get beneficial energy savings by partially closing one or two outlets in your home that are farthest away from your furnace. Partially closed vents still allow air to flow properly through the HVAC system, which prevents overheating and added pressure to the ductwork.
What about Basement Vents?
No, if you have vents in a finished basement, you do not want to close them. Your heating and cooling system is built to handle the climate control needs of this space. If you close vents in these areas, it has the same negative effects as closing vents in any other room of the home.
More Comfort, Less Energy
If you’re thinking your home and HVAC system should be more comfortable and efficient, the best solution is to contact an expert. Central HVAC systems may be able to be retrofitted with new zone systems. Dampers control airflow within the ducts in a precise way so it’s not negatively impacting the HVAC system or the comfort of you and your family. Ductless systems are another option, which control each section of a home independently. You can probably save money on energy bills and create a more comfortable environment using the best equipment and easy settings. If you want better control of heating and cooling throughout your home, contact us today.
At South End Heating and Air, we specialize in HVAC and furnace repair, call us for a free consult. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your heating needs. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? give us a call at 704-684-5339
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