If you have any experience with homeownership, you probably already know: comfort isn’t always cheap. Staying cool during the summer can take quite a toll on your monthly electricity bills, but when the alternative is sweating through your shirt all day, you’re left with little choice.
Homeowners in Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro that are looking to save money on energy bills sometimes ask us whether it would help to keep some of the HVAC vents in their home closed. After all, they reason, some rooms get used far less frequently than others, so why should they be paying to keep them cool if that energy is largely being wasted?
Actually, that’s not a great idea, and it’s possible that you could end up doing more damage than good to your residential cooling system if you close the vents in unused rooms—here’s why.
How Your HVAC System Is Designed to Work
Air moves through your ductwork with the help of a blower fan that pulls air out of the rooms in your house and back through return ducts, and then after it’s been cooled (or heated) it pushes the it back out into your home. Blower fans work against a specific amount of air pressure in the system, and that air pressure is maintained in part by the vents in your home.
When you close certain vents, you increase air pressure. If your blower fan can run at different speeds, the blower will increase its speed to compensate and keep air circulating through your home, keeping you comfortable but costing you more. If your blower fan is a fixed speed (this is what most homeowners have), the motor will struggle against the increased pressure, and the air flow in your system will drop, leading to a drop in comfort and increased energy bills, as your system will have to run for longer to meet your comfort settings.
Under either scenario, this is bad for your system, but increased pressure can another negative consequence for your HVAC system.
Closed Vents = Increased Duct Leakage
Leaking ductwork is a problem that every homeowner wants to avoid. When your ducts leak, expensive conditioned air is sent out from your AC or furnace, but it escapes before it can be delivered out of your home’s vents and into your living space. Not only do leaking ducts waste money, but they force your HVAC unit to run for longer to keep your house comfortable, which can lead to increased repair calls and a shortened lifespan for your equipment.
How You Can REALLY Save on AC Bills
While closing the vents in your home won’t help you save money while cooling your home, there are other ways to fight back against cooling bills that are too high.
Upgrading to a new air conditioner, especially if your current unit is more than 10 years old, will help you take advantage of higher energy efficiency, and you’ll see the savings immediately in your monthly energy bills. Adding ductless mini splits to your home offer even greater efficiency ratings, and whether you’re replacing your HVAC system entirely or just supplementing it, you’ll be taking pressure off your current system, which will result in substantial energy savings over time.
Consistent maintenance on your HVAC systems can help you avoid expensive breakdowns and help ensure that your system is working as efficiently as possible. For peace of mind and convenience, enroll in Excel’s Comfort Club maintenance program. No matter which of our 4 protection plans you choose, you’ll receive pre-season scheduling and 24 hour emergency service, in addition to regular inspecting and system testing by NATE-certified HVAC professionals.