Should You Shut a Room to Save Energy?

Should You Shut a Room to Save Energy?Many homeowners fall for the urban myth that closing air vents in infrequently-used rooms can save energy. In reality, shutting a room can increase your energy bills, and cause a number of other issues in your home, including:

  • Diminished comfort. In a system with a single-speed blower fan, shutting vents can make it difficult to maintain comfort. That’s because closing vents restricts airflow in the ductwork, which causes a pressure increase in the HVAC system. The fan speed drops as pressure rises, so less conditioned air arrives at your open registers.
  • Component failure. Inadequate airflow can also make the coil ice up in your heat pump or air conditioner. If the situation isn’t addressed, the compressor can overheat and fail prematurely. So instead of saving energy, you can end up replacing a costly component.
  • Ducting leaks. Even when some vents are closed, the blower fan pushes air through the ductwork. Because of the higher pressure, that air is forced to exit through weak points and existing leaks, which results in extra conditioned air loss and energy waste.
  • Safety hazards. If you run the furnace with closed vents, the increase in pressure can cause cracks to form in the heat exchanger. This can let exhaust fumes containing carbon monoxide to seep into the air that gets circulated through your home, so you’re at greater risk of CO poisoning.
  • Higher energy usage. If you purchased a system with a variable-speed blower to boost efficiency, higher pressure caused by airflow restrictions can erase any potential energy savings because the blower has to ramp up its speed to compensate.

Zoning: A Wiser Alternative to Shutting Vents

If you have rooms that only need heating or cooling infrequently, installing a zoning system may be the best solution. To set up independent zones, your HVAC pro installs dedicated thermostats and motorized dampers in the ductwork. These individual controls are then wired to a central panel that you can program for optimal efficiency.

To learn more about zoning as an energy-saving alternative to shutting a room in your Peachtree City home, contact us Powers Heating & Air.

 

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). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

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