In most homes HVAC vents have fins or metal handles that can control the air flow from the vent. Usually the fin can control the air flow to be at a maximum or cut off completely. You may be tempted to think that closing the vents in rooms that aren’t being used will save you energy, but not only can this cost you more on your utility bills, it can cost you more in repairs over the long haul.
Its actually counterproductive
Don’t feel bad if this is a strategy you have been using. Its not unreasonable to think that closing vents to un-used rooms will require less energy since less heating or cooling is needed. Unfortunately this isn’t how HVAC systems work.
An HVAC system is somewhat like the respiratory system in the human body – in order for it to work like it is supposed to you have to have adequate air flow. Cutting off air in certain rooms won’t automatically slow down the air flow so it creates unnecessary strain on the system like a blood clot would in the body.
Closing vents increases the pressure in your ductwork, and that pressure increase backs all the way up to your HVAC systems, forcing it to work harder. This causes the same types of problems as having a dirty air filter – your furnace or air conditioner uses more energy to produce the same level of treated air, which also drives up your monthly bill. Additionally it puts stress on fans, motors and other equipment increasing maintenance and repairs to your equipment.
The extra pressure can also cause leaks to grow bigger in your duct work in turn leading to air loss and higher energy bills.
There is another way using zones
With the right HVAC equipment you can use this concept of closing vents to unused areas to work for you. Up to date HVAC systems allow homeowners to set temperatures for different zones in their home. Now instead of closing vents you can use a system to determine temperature levels in different areas of your house.
This is especially handy when you want to save energy by treating a room to a higher or lower temperature without shutting off the flow of air to those rooms completely. Unlike the downside of mold or dank air in rooms where there is no HVAC, regulated zone systems give you the ability to keep the temperature at a normal level without it costing as much as full HVAC heating and cooling for your entire house.
If you are interested in learning more about updating your HVAC system give us a call! Our HVAC professionals can help you determine the right system for your home.