If you’re looking for ways to save energy at home, don’t fall for the urban myth that it helps to close vents in any unused rooms. In reality, shutting a room isn’t an effective energy-saving strategy, and it can have many unpleasant consequences like:
- Compromised comfort. Shutting vents reduces airflow in the ductwork and increases pressure inside the HVAC system. If your air handler is a single-speed model, the fan speed slows as pressure rises, so you’ll end up with less output at all open air vents.
- Increased energy consumption. If you have a variable-speed air handler, you expect energy savings because the fan runs on low much of the time. With this technology though, the fan speeds up in response to higher pressure so it uses more energy.
- Component damage. Slower fan speed can cause problems with your air conditioner or heat pump coil too, as it makes icing more likely to occur. In turn, this can make the compressor overheat and burn out prematurely, so you’ll have to replace the system’s most expensive component.
- Conditioned air loss. When there’s higher pressure in the ducts and the air pumped by the blower can’t flow out through your closed vents, it will exit through any existing leaks in the ducting and create new ones too. This increase in conditioned air loss wastes your energy budget.
- Safety risks. If you have some vents shut when the furnace is operating, the extra pressure in the system can cause small cracks to form in the heat exchanger. Damage like this gives lethal carbon monoxide a way to seep into your air supply.
A Smarter Energy-Saving Alternative to Shutting Vents
Having a zoned heating and cooling system installed offers a better way to save energy in rooms that aren’t used often. An experienced HVAC pro creates zones by installing motorized duct dampers and individual thermostats and then connecting these controls to a centrally-located panel that you can program to match your needs.
Contact us at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions to learn more about alternatives to shutting a room to conserve energy in your Orlando home.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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