As an energy-conscious homeowner, you’ve probably formed the good habit of turning off lights and ceiling fans when you leave a room. So, on balance, it would seem to make equally good sense to close air vents in unoccupied rooms in your home, such as spare bedrooms. After all, why pay to cool empty rooms?
Despite your good intentions, a recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California shows that closing air vents actually leads to greater energy use — and higher utility bills.
Uh-oh. What’s going on here?
Basically, closing air vents creates a buildup in pressure, causing the return duct to draw air from cracks in windows and doors. At the same time, the air that is trying to funnel through the air vents will either leak out into ducts that are improperly sealed or be forced back into your home’s floor cavities. So you’re still paying for cold air; it’s just going to obscure places and you’re getting no benefit.
Worse, you could actually damage your air conditioner by closing too many vents in your home. After all, your air conditioner should be sized specifically for your home — based on its square footage, elevation and exposure to the sun, among other factors. When you close off a vent, with your air conditioner’s fans running at top speed, you’re creating a blockage that causes it to work harder. And when your air conditioner works harder, it runs harder, too, which costs you more money in the long run. In many ways, closing air vents is like putting your foot on the brake of your car to slow the gas running through your engine. This seems like a good, economical idea, too — unless you have your other foot on the gas at the same time.
But don’t get the wrong idea. Closing air vents to save money has merit, but it’s a job that is best left to the professionals, like those at Scott’s Heating & Air Conditioning. Call us for an appointment and we’ll make safe, smart alterations to your HVAC system that will produce the energy savings you’re after.
Image via Shutterstock.com
By ScottsAir |
Posted in Energy Savings
Tags: air flow, air leaks, ductwork, hvac system, orlando florida, ventilation