Should I Close the Vents in My Home to Save Energy?

Saving energy is a great way to help protect the environment and lower your utility bills. With so many benefits, it makes sense to seek out energy savings in as many ways as possible. One way that is often suggested to save energy is to close the vents in unused rooms in your Palm Desert home. While this concept initially makes sense, it’s important to think through it to see if these good intentions have any basis in reality. To help you take better care of your home, we would like to offer some insights into this situation.

The Thought Behind the Action

The basic thought behind the action of closing vents is simple. By closing vents in unused rooms, you divert that cooling or heating capacity to other rooms in your home, thereby allowing them to reach the desired temperature more quickly. Since they reach the desired temperature more quickly, your HVAC system won’t have to run as long, meaning that you will use less energy and save on your utility bill. The truth is, though, that although you may notice this effect to some extent, you could end up doing more harm than good in the process.

Higher Pressure

Unlike water, which quickly makes its presence known if there is a leak in the pipes that deliver it, air delivery systems can leak without many negative consequences aside from the lost air. This reality means that most HVAC ducts leak to a certain extent since most homeowners aren’t aware of the leaks to have an HVAC technician repair them.

Unfortunately, these duct leaks create problems when you close vents around your home. That’s because closing vents results in higher air pressure in your ducts. Instead of sending more air to the rooms with open vents, though, this higher air pressure typically results in worse leaks in your ducts. Thus, you’ll be wasting even more air than before and exacerbating a problem that could be expensive to fix.

Same Capacity

Another issue with closing vents in your home is that this action doesn’t change your HVAC system’s cooling or heating capacity. HVAC systems operate by running long enough at a set temperature to change your home’s temperature. The temperature and volume of the air that’s released from the HVAC system never change no matter which temperature you select on your thermostat.

Given that your HVAC system is designed specifically for your home, this can lead to problems when you effectively shrink your home by closing vents. For example, if you run your air conditioner with certain vents closed, it may cause overcooling of your system’s evaporator coil, leading to less-efficient dehumidification and potential icing of your coil.

Mold and Mildew Growth

The rooms in your home depend on airflow from your HVAC system to stay properly refreshed. For example, the constant exchange of air throughout your home helps to keep humidity levels in check. If humidity levels aren’t kept in check by your air conditioner, you run the risk of mold and mildew growth in the rooms where the vents are closed. Therefore, in addition to causing problems with your HVAC system by keeping vents closed, you could also face the expense of mold removal if this problem continues for extended periods of time.

Poor Airflow

Although closing the vents in unused rooms is intended to increase airflow in other rooms, it may actually have the opposite effect. Depending on your HVAC system’s location, a room with a closed vent may slow down the natural circulation of air in your home to the point that it takes longer for frequently used rooms to reach the desired temperature.

This is especially true if the rooms with closed vents are closer to the HVAC equipment than the rooms with open vents as the circulation from these rooms is quite important to the overall circulation in your home. At Breeze Air Conditioning, we recommend having a diagram of your HVAC system handy at all times in case you want to make changes.

Challenging Conventional Wisdom

At Breeze Air Conditioning, we want our customers to be savvy when it comes to their HVAC systems in Palm Desert. That’s why we offer fact-based advice in addition to our air conditioner and furnace maintenance, installation and repair services. You’ll find that our more than 35 years in business make us able to tackle any problem you might have while providing service that will leave you with a smile. We’d love for you to join our long list of satisfied customers, so call us today.