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Will Closing Air Vents Save Energy?

When you have rooms in your home that you don’t use regularly, it’s tempting to shut the air vents in an attempt to save money. After all, why should you spend energy heating or cooling a room you aren’t using? Before you do, take the time to understand more about how your system works.

A System Based on Pressure

Your HVAC system distributes air with a blower that pulls air from your house through return ducts, heats it, then sends it back into the house through supply ducts. The blower is designed to push against a maximum pressure difference. If something, like a dirty air filter, changes this pressure, you will have problems. In a high efficiency system, this causes the motor in the system to ramp up to maintain air flow through your home. The harder the motor works, the more wear and tear occurs, and the more energy you spend. In a standard system, increased pressure causes the motor to spin at a lower speed, which leads to less air flow. This impacts your comfort level.

What Happens When You Shut the Vent?

When you shut the air vent, you create restriction on the duct system. This increases the overall pressure on your HVAC system. If you have a high-efficiency system, then the blower will ramp up. If you have a standard system, the blower will move less air.

Closing vents also causes an additional problem. Air will take the path of least resistance, which should be moving through your vents. However, when you close air vents, the air must find a new way out of the system. The easiest option is to find leaks in your ducts, which almost every home has, and escape. This costs you even more energy. The increased pressure will increase the number of duct leaks or the impact of your duct leaks further.

So either way, with a high efficiency system or a standard system, you will lose energy, not save it, when you close vents. In addition, you run the risk of a higher repair bill when a problem arises because of the increased wear and tear that this practice creates.

What’s the Alternative?

If you have areas in your home that you simply don’t need to heat or cool, you do have an alternative option. Instead of closing vents and increasing your energy use, consider investing in a zoned HVAC system. This system has separate thermostats in different areas of your home, using dampers to only heat and cool the areas you are using.

Are you curious about installing a zoned system, or are you looking for more ways to save energy in your Northern Virginia area home? Contact the team at John Nugent & Sons to learn more about steps you can take to make your home more efficient.

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