Closing Air Vents to Reduce Energy Costs – Not All It’s Cracked up to Be!

It’s so obvious, right? You’re not using a bedroom because Jason or Carli is off at college, so you close the vent to save some money on your heating or cooling bills.
Actually, that’s not a good move at all. That’s because your heating and cooling systems were carefully designed to deliver a certain amount of conditioned air, and they’re going to deliver that amount whether you close those vents or not. That, in turn, can lead to a number of problems. Let’s have a look:

Close up horizontal photo of female hand giving thumbs up after cleaning and installing bathroom fan vent cover from ceiling

Increased Duct Leakage

Most air duct systems leak as much as 20% of the conditioned air running through them, and that’s on a good day. When you close one or more air vents, you end up applying more pressure to the ducts, and that causes them to leak even more. That means lost conditioned air, and higher utility costs.

Negative Pressure Issues

Okay, follow us on this one. Through supply and return vents, your furnace and AC systems deliver and remove equal amounts of air. So, let’s say you shut off the vent in a bedroom in the winter. That creates negative pressure in that room that your heating system attempts to rectify by sending warm air to it. But since the vent is blocked, it has to find another way, such as through structural gaps and cracks. In the meantime, your heating system is running longer cycles to make up for the heat imbalance.

Furnace Damage

When one or more air vents are closed, system airflow declines. Proper airflow is important to keep critical furnace components like the heat exchanger from overheating. An overheated heat exchanger may crack and create a potential carbon monoxide hazard.
Here at Comfort Air, we’re not trying to discourage you from heating or cooling your home more economically. In fact, quite the opposite. We’ll give you all the help you need to achieve greater energy efficiency year-round. Just give us a call and we’ll get the process underway.

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