Often people call us to find out whether closing off HVAC vents in unused rooms will help them save more money on energy bills. They tell us that their friends or neighbors recommend this practice. Right off the bat – Closing off HVAC vents will not render any monetary savings. All it will do is put your heating and cooling system under pressure, and that is one thing every HVAC contractor will ask you to avoid.
Why People Think Closing HVAC Vents Will Save Money
One common misconception or myth regarding the HVAC system is that – by closing the vents in unused rooms, you are reducing the power consumption of your HVAC system. This is a blatant lie and nothing else. The truth is that it leads to the wastage of more energy in comparison to leaving it running as-is because now the excess air has to be pushed in other rooms where it is already being done in adequate quantity. It is a situation similar to using an over-sized system and causes frequent short-cycling.
What Closing Off HVAC Vents Actually Does?
The reality is completely different from what one assumes it to be. Listed below are the actual consequences of closing off HVAC vents, and none of them are desirable.
1. Added Pressure May Cause Air Leaks – Closing off air vents in unused rooms makes the duct system in your home more constricting. As a result, the pressure of the air inside it increases. In most homes, the ducts are not completely sealed. So, when the pressure inside the ductwork increases, it leads to duct leakage. Too much pressure can also cause new holes and cracks to appear in old ducts. It may also rip open cracks that were sealed earlier. All in all, the ductwork becomes unreliable.
2. Will Lead To Mold Formation – Closing off the HVAC vents leads to condensation in the ducts of the unused rooms. Where there is moisture, mold and mildew tend to reign havoc. They will not only make the unused rooms and subsequently, your home smell bad but also cause health complications if the spores find their way into the circulating air. When the mold has found its place in the ductwork, you will need professional cleaners to get rid of it, which in itself is an added expense. Keeping the HVAC vents open will keep moisture at bay and prohibit the growth of mold and mildew by keeping things dry.
3. Hamper The Efficiency Of Your HVAC Unit -After much deliberation and research, you purchased the perfect HVAC for your home. It did not come cheap and yet suited your needs the most. Closing off the vents puts its efficiency at risk. If you think that the closed vents make the system work less, you are highly mistaken. It still works the same and produces the same amount of warm or cool air with the added task of pushing the air through the vents that remain open. This extra work builds pressure in the unit, thereby forcing it to work harder to disseminate air wherever it is required. You don’t save any money when your heating and cooling unit works under pressure. The truth is that you are shortening the life expectancy of your system and prepping it for frequent repairs, all of which will cost a pretty penny.
4. Increases Your Energy Bills – Closing the HVAC vents makes the system work harder and longer. When the heating and cooling unit works harder and longer, it consumes more power. The more the power it consumes, the higher are your energy bills. So, the truth be told, closing down the vents is not doing anyone any favors, neither you nor your HVAC unit. All that you are actively doing is paying a greater price and still ruining your perfect system.
5. Affects Your HVAC Unit – Closing the HVAC vents can damage your HVAC unit in many ways. Here are a couple of things that can happen:
1. It can freeze the coils, which in turn will damage the compressor.
2. The damaged compressor will either need to be repaired or replaced, both of which will cost you dearly.
3. It may cause the heat exchanger to crack. However, the bigger problem with that is that it may cause carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas, to enter your home and put everybody at risk.
4. Closing the vents will make the unit short cycle frequently. This will not only create air pressure problems in your home but will also create hot and cold areas. So, your home will not be as comfortable as before.
What Is The Solution?
There are two solutions to your problem. If you don’t want to waste money, cooling or heating the unsued rooms, here are your options:
1. Programmable Thermostats For Each Floor – If your home has a ground floor and an upper floor or multistorey, you can have independent thermostats for each floor. A programmable thermostat will allow you to set the temperature of the floor that you use to the desired level. While the floor that is not in use, you can program its thermostat to run at the minimum setting so that it does not put the heating and cooling system under any strain.
2. Mini-Split Systems – The mini-split systems are an equally good solution. There is one compressor unit that is attached to multiple air handlers in each room. The rooms that are not in use, their air handlers can be switched off, and the rooms closed. Doing so will not cause any strain or pressure on the compressor.
The main take away of this discussion is that if you hear someone say you can save money by closing off the HVAC vents, please don’t listen to them. They don’t know the facts. It is best that you tell them why their advice is not correct.
In case of any queries and concerns, you can contact the trained and experienced team of Aztil AC at +1-888-729-8452. We provide 24/7 emergency services in West Palm Beach, Florida. We are looking forward to helping you solve your heating and cooling problems.