Homeowners are always searching for ways to help cut down on energy costs. In the case of home air conditioners, homeowners know that lower cooling costs are dependent upon having an AC unit that is energy efficient and working correctly. If you want to ensure that the air conditioning to your home runs as efficiently as possible, contact Townsend Energy today.
Our HVAC services can help your AC use less energy so that you can save money. We can ensure that your heating and air conditioning unit operates at its peak performance. Whether you are in need of repairs, maintenance, or AC tune-ups, we have the services you need. We can also recommend effective strategies that can help lower your summer cooling costs. Call us today. We will be happy to schedule an appointment.
A frequent question that we receive from homeowners involves whether shutting vents to unused rooms is helpful. Here, we will answer this common question, while also providing some handy summer energy tips.
Closing HVAC Vents In Unused Rooms – Does It Save Money?
It is a common misconception that closing HVAC vents in unused rooms are an excellent way to save on energy costs. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as your system will still need to work just as hard. In fact, closing vents can increase pressure within the air ducts, which could lead to maintenance issues and costly repairs. Depending on your air conditioner’s motor type, closing vents could cause duct leakage, air conditioner coil freeze-up, compressor issues, decreased air flow within the ducts, and increased energy usage and costs. The following information will also help answer your questions concerning whether or not closing ducts is useful — or harmful.
Blower Motor Types
When it comes to how air conditioning works, your unit’s blower motor is responsible for distributing cooled air throughout your home. It pulls warm air from the home, via the system’s return ducts. Additionally, cooled air is pushed into the house, using the supply ducts. These are the principles of air conditioning basics. Primarily, blower motors are either permanent split capacity (PSC), or electronically commutated motor (ECM) blowers.
The ECM blower motor can access the workload and then vary its speed accordingly. In the case of a PSC motor, it will always blow at a fixed rate. Systems utilizing PSC motors tend to be lower in efficiency, while ECM motors are generally in high-efficiency systems.
Closing HVAC Vents -How is Blower Motor Performance Affected?
In the case of both PSC and ECM motors, each type of motor pushes air against a maximum pressure difference. As a general rule, the pressure difference is 0.5 inches of water column (iwc). However, the maximum pressure difference can significantly increase, depending on specific factors. Narrow supply ducts, dirty air filters, or closing HVAC vents in rooms not being used are some of the most common elements. In these cases, extra pressure builds up within the ducts, and an ECM blower motor tries to work harder. This additional pressure results in higher energy usage, which of course translates to higher cooling costs.
In the case of a PSC motor, the blowing speed runs at a fixed rate. When a PSC motor encounters a build-up of pressure within the ducts, it slows down, due to the extra load. The result is an uncomfortable home since there will be less cooled air emitted from the open vents. The decreased air flow could also cause evaporator coil freeze-up. Over time, this can cause severe compressor damage, resulting in an expensive repair to replace the compressor
Increased Duct Leakage
According to Energy Star, an average U.S. home loses between 20% and 30% of conditioned air, because of leaks within the ducts. This claim means that your home is possibly already losing a substantial amount of cooled air through duct leaks. If the pressure within the ducts increases, the problem of air leakage will worsen. It will require more energy to cool your home, your cooling costs will skyrocket, and your HVAC system will need to work harder.
Get Your Air Conditioning Working At Peak Efficiency
Closing HVAC vents located in rooms you are not using will not help lower your cooling costs. Closed vents will not alter how your system’s blower is supposed to operate.
It will cause a pressure build-up to occur within your home’s ducts. This growing pressure will produce a variety of issues, depending on the system’s blower type. In addition to indoor comfort issues, you could experience less air flow, air conditioner coil freeze-up, a dead compressor, or a cracked furnace heat exchanger. As such, closing vents is not the solution to use when trying to save on energy costs.
The professionals HVAC contractors at Townsend Energy can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. Our heating and cooling technicians have the skills and training to keep your air conditioner operating at peak efficiency. As a result, your energy bills will be low, your home will feel comfortable, and your AC unit will run as it should. We understand the ins and outs of different types of air conditioning systems. Trust our technicians to understand your needs and provide the best solutions. Call us today to schedule an appointment. We offer free estimates.