As seasons change and your monthly utility bills increase with heating and cooling costs, you might be looking for ways to save money. Many homeowners resort to closing vents in rooms where they don’t spend much time to cut costs. Learn why closing the vents isn’t a viable option and how this practice can actually raise your home’s energy costs.
High-Efficiency Systems Are More Common
Newer furnaces have higher efficiency ratings than their older counterparts. When a high-efficiency system operates, the system produces suction from the return air duct. With closed vents, this pressure can pull cold air from outside through exterior doors, small cracks around the windows, or electrical boxes on exterior walls. Warmed air can be pushed out of those leaky spots in the home, leading to as much as 15 percent of energy being lost and wasted.
Closing Vents Can Damage the Unit
Image via Flickr by Justin Baeder
Closing vents in rooms of your home can actually cause damage to your furnace. When the unit has to work too hard to distribute air, problems can occur within the furnace, leading to costly repairs. In some cases, irreparable damage might require you to replace the unit altogether.
Restricted Air Flow Can Lead to Home Safety Concerns
If you close more than half of the vents in your home, other safety concerns, such as frozen coils or furnaces operating on the high-limit switch, can develop. In these cases, air flow can become restricted as that air attempts to move through the ducts.
If you have frozen coils within your unit, shut off the system completely to allow the coils to defrost. When your furnace operates on the high-limit setting, the overuse can not only increase your energy bills, but also decrease the system’s efficiency and even cause damage to the system itself.
Closing Vents Increases the Pressure
When you shut the vents in various rooms, you’ll have an increase in pressure, forcing the system to work harder to heat and cool than if all the vents were open. These higher pressure levels can push heated or cooled air through any leaks in ducts, causing energy loss. Closing air vents closest to the handler increase the pressure the most, so always keep these register locations open.
Bring in an Expert for an Efficiency Audit
Instead of trying to close your registers to cut heating and cooling costs, consider bringing in an HVAC professional to check your system and look for reasons behind system inefficiencies. Even a simple vent cleaning or filter replacement could reduce your energy bills, so you won’t have to worry about damaging the furnace. In fact, these options can actually lengthen the lifespan of your unit while improving the efficiency and money savings for your household’s budget each month.
To conserve energy and lower your utility bills, start with properly maintaining your home’s HVAC system. However, closing the air vents isn’t a smart option. Follow the tips provided here to help you maximize your HVAC system’s operating efficiency.