Sometimes what appears to be a good idea for saving energy may not work so well. That’s the case when closing forced air heating and air conditioning vents (registers) in unused rooms in your house or commercial building. Instead of helping, this practice may increase utility bills and damage heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
A home HVAC system generally has one register and one fresh air return per room. If you close the register but leave the return open, the return’s duct creates a suction. It draws in outside air through leaks surrounding exterior doors, windows and electrical outlets. In winter, this means extra cold air to heat. In the summer, the infiltration of extra air increases cooling costs.
Balanced HVAC Systems
Most newer HVAC systems are designed to work in a balanced way. Closing a number of registers can unbalance the system and lead to the need for HVAC repair. This may happen because closed vents put extra pressure on other parts of the ductwork and its seams. This is especially the case if you close a number of these vents. Any leaks in these ducts cause some heated or cooled air to be forced into floor cavities, crawl spaces and parts of the basement where it isn’t needed.
Closing a lot of registers may overwork the furnace or A/C unit by making either work too much to distribute warmed or cooled air. It can harm a furnace or cause A/C coils to freeze. Now that smartphone-controlled vents are on the market, this unfortunate strain on HVAC systems may increase.
So what can a homeowner do to save heating and cooling energy? The federal government’s Energy Department has numerous suggestions, such as installing programmable thermostats to change temperatures to energy-saving levels when you aren’t at home.
Warm Season Tips Include:
- Turning off the A/C at night and opening windows in cooler climates.
- Closing window coverings during the day.
- Adding ceiling fans in bedrooms and shared spaces, then turning them off when not in the room.
Cold Season Tips Include:
- Keeping the house cooler while you’re gone and warmer while at home.
- Opening curtains on south-facing windows during the day for passive solar gain.
One last tip: The money you spend on seasonal or annual HVAC services by Cox Heating & Air Conditioning comes back to you in energy savings. Our regular maintenance keeps your home and life running smoothly. Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced staff members on hold we can help you.