Trying to save on heating and cooling costs is normal. With this, many wonder if they should keep wall vents open or closed. Some homeowners close vents to unoccupied rooms with the hope of reducing their energy costs. The logic behind this way of thinking is pretty simple.
Homeowners think that when vents are closed, the cooled or heated air will redirect to an area where it’s needed. As a result, they think they are maximizing the use of conditioned air. However, although this may seem pretty straightforward, it costs the homeowner more money in the long run. Furthermore, closing vents actually causes damage to the HVAC system.
Reasons To Avoid Closing Registers For Temperature Control
- 1 Reasons To Avoid Closing Registers For Temperature Control
- 2 Why We Do Not Recommend Closing Your Air Registers
- 3 What To Do To Save On Your Home Heating & Cooling Costs
- 4 Call Townsend Energy For All Of HVAC Requirements
In this article, we discuss the importance of keeping the HVAC registers open. We’ll also share some tips on how to save energy with HVAC zoning solutions.
Understanding How HVAC Ventilation Works
Most homes have a closed HVAC system (also called a forced-air HVAC system), which means that the air tends to be motionless unless an external force moves it around. For this reason, the air in a closed system needs to be filtered continuously, so it stays clean and safe to breathe.
In HVAC systems, there’s a part called a blower fan that distributes the air indoors. It also helps the air move to condenser coils to cool it or move towards the heating component, so it’s heated. After that, the air is distributed in different parts of the home.
Depending on the type of HVAC system the home uses, a fan motor is either fixed or variable, wherein a fixed motor generally maintains a steady rate no matter what the air pressure is. A variable motor automatically adjusts depending on the detected pressure.
Between these two, a fixed motor is generally cheaper because it utilizes few components to run. However, systems with this kind of motor have to work harder to distribute the air all around the house.
Why We Do Not Recommend Closing Your Air Registers
Now that you know, to some degree, how HVAC systems work, here are some reasons why closing the vents is not recommended (and why it doesn’t save you money):
Your Home HVAC System Does Not Work the Way You Might Think
First, HVAC systems don’t come with a sensor to detect whether the air registers are closed or open. This means that even if you close the vent, the unit will continue to run using the same energy level to produce the same air volume.
All the HVAC systems can do is maintain the temperature set on the thermostat. As long as it’s the same, the unit will not minimize the energy it uses. Therefore, you’re generally paying the same energy costs.
Imbalance In Pressure Will Be Created
Opposite from what many believe, closing vents doesn’t save energy. What you’re doing is closing the supply register.
Return registers are the ones responsible for drawing air in the room. With the supply register closed, the continuous drawing of air creates lower pressure, forcing outdoor air to infiltrate through holes, gaps, or cracks.
As a result, the indoor air temperatures destabilize and will increase or decrease depending on the temperature outside. On top of that, the quality of indoor air also drops.
Uneven Room Temperature
Closing the vents can also lead to uneven room temperature.
HVAC systems have internal dampers that adjust to control the amount of air supplied in each room. This action ensures that there’s always a sufficient volume of airflow to help maintain temperatures, regardless of the distance of the room to the blower.
However, when someone closes one or several registers, temperature and airflow balance are disrupted throughout the house. Because of this, rooms closer to the blower will experience more airflow than the rooms located farther away.
Increased Risk Of Wear-And-Tear To The System
Closed vents can increase static pressure within the supply HVAC ductwork. As a consequence, the system blower will also experience an increase in pressure which will strain the component.
The system blower can’t continue operating under this stress as it will most likely give in to wear and tear. On top of that, the heating system would have a shorter lifespan, requiring premature heating system replacement.
What To Do To Save On Your Home Heating & Cooling Costs
There are several ways on how to save on heating and cooling costs without closing air vents.
First of all, one should get the correct HVAC system size, based on the home’s square footage and other factors. Getting an HVAC system that is neither too large nor too small will help the system cool or warm a home efficiently.
However, if the purpose of closing the vents is to prevent conditioned air from going into unused spaces, there are systems that offer zone temperature control.
Zoning generally allows homeowners to divide their homes into several zones. For example, one zone would be for the rooms upstairs, another zone would be for the room downstairs, and another zone for the basement. By doing this, you’ll be able to maintain different temperatures for each zone.
Another thing that can be done is to adjust the thermostat to a temperature that would allow the HVAC unit to operate at the minimum. On top of that, help the system distribute the conditioned air evenly by using fans, applying window treatments, or even leaving doors open.
It would also help to use a ductless HVAC system on top of the central HVAC unit. The former offers zoned control and can be installed only in rooms used more frequently. This way, the thermostat settings on the central HVAC can be adjusted, so it operates less, but at the same time, you can customize the level of comfort in each room.
If you wish to know more about how you can control temperatures and reduce energy costs the right way, call a professional HVAC contractor like Townsend Energy to find out more.
Call Townsend Energy For All Of HVAC Requirements
Townsend Energy offers superior heating and cooling services in Northeastern Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, and Maine.
We make sure to hire certified technicians who can provide you with excellent services, including tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. Each technician has outstanding knowledge and experience to serve your HVAC system needs correctly.
Townsend Energy guarantees to provide the most competitive heating and cooling service costs in the area. Our maintenance services ensure to improve your comfort, increase your system’s energy efficiency, and reduce your home’s heating and cooling costs.
Need your system repaired or replaced? We’ll recommend the best one for your home and is within your budget. The best part is, all our work is backed with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction.
If you wish to schedule a service appointment, give us a call today! We also offer in-home estimates at no cost at all.