Every resident desires a living space that’s comfortable all-year-round — and many want to achieve that goal without shelling out large sums of money on their energy bills. In an attempt to save a few bucks or to make the heating system more efficient, many homeowners make the mistake of closing the air vents, which are wall-mounted openings that encourage airflow, in unused rooms during chilly winter months in hopes of keeping more heat in. While the general idea may seem reasonable, surprisingly doing this can actually do more harm than good to your HVAC system.
In this article, a residential AC expert examines why it’s not a good idea to close vents in unused rooms, especially during colder weather.
Why You Shouldn’t Close Air Vents in the Winter
While there may be rooms in your house that aren’t occupied or being used at present, they still contribute to the overall thermal profile of your home. When you close off vents in those rooms, they become colder since they’re not receiving any heat. This brings the overall temperature throughout the house down. A crucial thing to remember is that most heating systems aren’t designed to recognize and interpret these variations in temperature, so they’ll continue to pump heat for the entire house despite your choice to close vents. This forces your system to work harder and longer than normal to effectively raise the interior temperature in all rooms of the house.
How It Affects Airflow & Ductwork
Many people don’t realize that adequate, healthy airflow is a significant element of a comfortable living space. It also directly affects the air pressure that’s administered in every part of the house via the ductwork system. Because the heating and air conditioning system is specifically constructed to regulate indoor temperatures, having closed ducts brings about a real dilemma.
If you decide to close off the ducts in certain rooms, this will cause air pressure to build up — and this air will have nowhere to go. This can inflict damage not only on the ductwork but on your heating and cooling equipment as well. Closed ducts will prompt your HVAC system to operate vigorously in an attempt to compensate for the reduced heating performance relative to the temperature setting on the thermostat. Your equipment and ductwork being placed under additional strain will ultimately drive up the energy usage of your household as well as your energy bills, says a local residential AC professional.
To sum up, closing your air vents may mean that:
Your HVAC system is forced to work harder.
Your HVAC system may sustain damage.
Your energy consumption will increase sharply.
How to Reduce Energy Usage Without Closing Air Vents
As discussed, closing off air vents that supply conditioned air to every room in your house isn’t an effective technique when trying to save energy and maintain indoor comfort. So what can you do to keep your home warm and toasty without negatively impacting your HVAC system? Here are five ideas:
Check for air leaks. Most residential and commercial AC companies will recommend checking your attic, ductwork and plumbing for air leaks. It’s an automatic waste of energy and money when treated air escapes from where it needs to be. Identifying small gaps, holes and cracks and patching them up can help fend off leaks and lower energy bills. Since this can be a long and draining process, hiring a professional to carry out a thorough inspection is the best way to go. They’ll also have all the necessary tools and equipment to easily locate every air leak in your home.
Install weatherstripping. Use weatherstripping to seal air leaks around movable components such as doors and window jambs. This can aid in keeping cold air out of your rooms. In fact, installing sufficient weatherstripping can reduce your heating and cooling fees by as much as 30 percent while reducing drafts that can cause discomfort. It’s simply wasteful if the heat or cold pumping from your equipment leaks outdoors. If you do have weatherstripping in place and it looks dislodged or worn out, consider replacing it in order to realize the full benefit of your investment.
Add caulk to doors and windows. Another possible route for conditioned air to escape is through cracks in your doors and windows. The area around these features should’ve been treated with caulk at some point in the past. However, caulk material can warp and crack over time due to constant exposure to the elements, producing holes where indoor air can escape. If the caulk is still in top shape, it’s possible to add a chunk of caulk wherever there are gaps. If the caulk appears to be in shabby condition, it’s better to strip it off completely and replace it with new caulk instead.
Keep your home airtight so it won’t require frequent visits from a residential and commercial AC technician.
Use thermal insulated curtains. While blackout curtains normally feature tightly woven, dense or layered fabric to block out unwanted sunlight, thermal curtains feature a layer of acrylic foam between layers of fabric to boost insulation. These curtains are perfect for the winter months or drafty windows. Plus, they’re relatively inexpensive and can last for many years to come, making them a cost-effective way to make rooms feel snug and cozy without breaking the bank.
Perform annual tune-ups and maintenance. Unfortunately, many homeowners still fail to realize the unique needs of their HVAC systems and choose to skip annual cleaning, tune-ups, repair or maintenance. This initial mistake can bring all sorts of unpleasant surprises in the future. You need to understand that your HVAC system will lose a percentage of its energy efficiency and experience a decrease in performance every passing year. Over time, your equipment will cost more to run and deliver less impressive results compared to when it was brand-new.
A well-maintained system, on the other hand, is more likely to continue running at a highly efficient rate because numerous issues can be detected while they’re still small and haven’t yet caused much damage. An HVAC repair specialist will visit your home and perform repairs and other services in order to prevent current issues from developing into severe problems that are more costly to fix.
Heating Your Home Evenly Is the Best Approach
It makes more sense to evenly distribute heat throughout your home than to shut off vents in infrequently-used rooms. This may seem counterintuitive, but even if your attic, basement or guest room isn’t in regular use, it’s a good idea to supply heat to these areas together with the rest of the house to maintain a well-balanced, comfortable living environment.
Contact Above Air Inc. for Reliable Air Conditioner Repair & Installation
Above Air Inc. is a premier source of air conditioning and indoor air purification solutions in and around Deerfield Beach, FL. From HVAC repair to equipment installation, our top-rated technicians are committed to providing the comfort and efficiency every residential or commercial client needs through industry-leading products and outstanding customer service. Call us today at (201) 257-5702 or fill out our contact form to set up an appointment. We look forward to working with you!