Closing an Unused Room to Save Energy: Maybe Not Such a Good Idea After All

Closing an Unused Room to Save Energy: Maybe Not Such a Good Idea After AllMany homeowners think that closing a room to save energy is a smart move on their part to cut heating costs. On one level, it makes sense because you’re increasing the airflow going to the rooms left open plus giving your heating equipment a smaller house to warm up. In reality, however, this doesn’t happen in most cases, and can actually create more problems than it solves.

A well-planned forced-air HVAC system is calibrated to have a certain amount of airflow going through the ducts. Whenever that airflow rises as a result of shutting registers and closing doors in some rooms, the pressure increases in the ducts. If your ductwork is already compromised by air leaks, you’ll lose the conditioned air through the leaks before it ever reaches the rooms you’ve left open. If the ducts have weak connections, the increased air pressure will force them open.

Another aspect of closing a room to save energy involves the return cold-air register. If it’s left open in the closed-off room, which is usually the default for these registers, there will be negative pressure in that room. When the furnace turns on, the return register will pull the air out of that room, and to make up for the lost air pressure, cooler air from the outdoors will rush in through gaps and openings in windows, doors and walls.

Finally, if your heating system has a smaller area to heat, as a result of rooms being closed off, it will become oversized for the area that’s left to heat, creating all of the problems of an oversized HVAC system – wasted energy, uneven heating and cooling, and added stress to equipment.

One of the best solutions for avoiding these problems associated with closing off rooms for energy savings is to consider a zoning system. These use dampers that open and close based on individual thermostat settings for each particular zone in your home.

When HVAC contractors install these systems, they calibrate your home’s forced-air equipment to handle the changes in airflow through the blower, helping you avoid the issues associated with closed rooms.

To learn more about alternatives to closing a room to save energy, please contact us at Powers Heating & Air. We provide outstanding HVAC services for Peachtree City area homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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