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Can Closing Vents Save Energy?

Heating and cooling account for about half of your total at-home energy usage. No wonder you’re on the lookout for energy saving tips! Perhaps you’ve heard that closing air vents in unused rooms saves energy. It seems logical that with the door shut and the vent closed, your HVAC system would be free to heat and cool the rest of your home more efficiently.

Unfortunately, closing vents actually wastes energy. Discover the unintended consequences of closing vents, and you’ll realize how ineffective it is for lowering your utility bills.

Increased Ductwork Leaks

Ideally, duct systems should have low air leakage rates. However, even well-designed ductwork isn’t completely leak-proof. And if you close several air vents, the increased pressure within the duct system causes more leaks. This forces air from unconditioned spaces to circulate around your home, reducing the efficiency of your air conditioner and furnace.

Increased Energy Use from Variable-Speed Blower Motors

The high pressure within the duct system causes variable-speed blower motors to work harder as they attempt to maintain adequate airflow. This defeats your efforts to save energy.

Lower Airflow from Single-Speed Blower Motors

Most HVAC systems have a single-speed blower motor that operates at only two settings: on and off. It can’t combat the high pressure within the duct system, resulting in lower airflow. This means less heated and cooled air circulates around your home, making it less comfortable. Low airflow can also cause the AC evaporator coil to freeze, which makes the air conditioner unable to cool your home.

Greater Wear & Tear on the System

Low airflow over the AC evaporator coil causes some refrigerant to make it back to the compressor as a liquid, damaging this equipment over time. There’s also a higher chance for a cracked furnace heat exchanger, which requires immediate repair.

Better Energy Saving Tips to Try

If you’re discouraged after learning that closing vents doesn’t save energy, try these other more effective energy saving tips:

  • Partially close vents to help direct hot and cold air around the way you want.
  • Install a zoning system to heat and cool certain areas of your home efficiently. Multiple thermostats, air handlers, and dampers in the ductwork direct air right where you want it without any unintended consequences.
  • Upgrade your aging HVAC equipment to a new, energy-efficient model.

For help implementing these and other energy saving tips, please contact Arctic Air Conditioning today.

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