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Does Closing Air Vents In Unused Rooms Make Your HVAC Unit More Energy Efficient?

Does Closing Air Vents In Unused Rooms Make Your HVAC Unit More Energy Efficient?
The Internet is full of well-intended bad advice. People advise others to do things based on nothing more than the fact that personally, that’s the way they’ve always done it. One area where this is most prevalent is when trying to find information on home energy efficiency. Everyone has words of wisdom, but some of it is actually harmful. For example, you may have been told that closing the air vents in unused rooms will save you money on your heating bill. This not only doesn’t save you money but it can actually cause damage to your HVAC unit.

Why It Doesn’t Work

When your HVAC unit was installed airflow was “balanced”, meaning that the installers took the time to ensure that the correct amount of air would flow in and out of your home’s vents. When you close vents, you disrupt this balance which can actually make your unit work harder and raise your energy bill. In addition, the warm air from other rooms won’t just stay there, but will be distributed to the rooms with closed vents (even if you close the door and block it with a towel) because that’s just how heat transfer works.

The Negative Consequences
Closed vents can increase the amount of pressure in your system. This can put undue stress on your ducts causing leaks, which sends the heated air into your attic, walls, or crawlspace. The more vents you close, the more pressure will build up, the more leakage you’ll have. So rather than saving energy, your HVAC unit will continue to produce the same amount of pressure it would have anyways, except now the pressure builds up and damages your duct work.

What To Do Instead
If you’re worried about the energy efficiency of your HVAC unit, the ducts are actually a great place to start because chances are they’re already leaking. So either you or your local HVAC professional can root around your duct work to find and seal leaks. While they’re around, you can have them perform routine maintenance to your HVAC unit so that you can feel confident that it’s in tip-top shape.

Some other options include checking the seals around windows and doorstops to make sure that there isn’t damage that’s leaking hot air, and you can change the rotation of your fans so that they push warmer air down and pull cooler air up. You can do this by setting ceiling fans to a low speed in a clockwise direction.

If you’re concerned about the health and efficiency of your HVAC unit’s heating system, contact East Coast Heating & Air Conditioning to schedule service or routine maintenance.

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