Closing Air Vents: Airflow and Energy-Saving Myths Busted
Many homeowners have been led to believe that closing air vents saves energy and makes the home more comfortable. Unfortunately, this “tip” is anything but — closing air vents does not save energy and actually does more harm than good. Learn the truth behind common myths regarding your home’s air vents from the best HVAC contractors in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area.
Does Closing Vents Redirect Air?
Rooms throughout your home have vents, which allow conditioned air from your heating system and air conditioner system to enter the space. It’s a common misconception that closing vents in one area of your home redirects airflow to other areas. For example, closing vents in an unused area of the home sends more hot or cold air to areas in use.
Closing vents does redirect air — just not to where you want. When registers are closed, air backs up into the home’s ductwork, which increases pressure within. This pressure is exerted onto ductwork, which leads to duct leaks. The air you wanted to redirect is lost through duct leaks into unconditioned areas. Closing supply vents increases air pressure inside the ducts, forcing an even greater volume of heated air out through leaks into unconditioned zones of the house. To compensate for lost heating, the furnace runs longer cycles, increasing heating costs.
Does Closing Vents Save Energy?
It has been said that closing air vents saves energy in a home, but this is not the case — closing vents can actually increase energy consumption and costs. HVAC systems are designed to heat homes based on their size, and your equipment does not know you have closed vents. Closing air vents forces your heating system to overwork to heat the space it is designed for, which increases energy consumption.
Does Closing Vents in Unused Rooms Help Airflow?
Vital furnace components require a minimum return airflow volume to maintain a safe internal temperature. Closing supply air vents in rooms reduces return airflow, potentially overheating the heat exchanger — the most expensive component in the system — and causing cracks to develop. A defective heat exchanger can even pose a safety hazard due to carbon monoxide infiltration.
In cooling systems, closed vents lead to frozen coils, which causes damage to the system’s compressor. In both heating and air conditioner equipment, closing air vents causes damage to system components, which increases your costs in the form of system repairs and early replacement.
Does Closing Vents Help Other Areas of the House?
Closing air vents in one area of the home does not help other rooms receive better airflow. Instead, conditioned air is lost through duct leaks and the other areas of your home do not receive additional heating or cooling.
Cold rooms in a warm house act like a heat sink. It’s a fact of physics: Heat is naturally drawn out of warm areas into colder zones. Keeping one or more rooms unheated inside an otherwise warm house tends to suck heat energy out of the heated areas and into the cold rooms through interior walls that aren’t insulated. The furnace cycles on and off more frequently to compensate for the heat loss, actually raising energy costs and diminishing indoor comfort. What you thought was helping improve home comfort actually detracts from it.
Should I Partially Close Vents?
While you should never fully close air vents, you may increase energy savings by partially closing one or two outlets in your home that are farthest away from your furnace. Partially closed vents still allow air to flow properly through the HVAC system, which prevents overheating and added pressure to the ductwork.
Should I Close Basement Vents?
If you have outlets in your finished basement, you do not want to close these. Your home’s HVAC system is designed to handle the climate control needs of this space — if you close vents in these areas, it has the same negative effects as closing vents in aboveground areas of the home.
Save Energy the Right Way — With Apollo Home
Schedule Thermostat & HVAC Zoning Services
To control the flow of air and improve energy efficiency, the best solution is to schedule smart/Wi-Fi thermostat installation and consider a zoned heating and cooling system. Central HVAC systems may be able to be retrofit with zoning. Dampers are used within the ducts to restrict airflow in certain areas without negatively affecting the HVAC equipment.
Apollo Home helps our customers in the Cincinnati area save money on their energy bills and create a more comfortable and energy-efficient home environment using appropriate equipment and settings. If you want better control of heating and cooling throughout your home, book an appointment with us today.
"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
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- Randy B.
"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
"Apollo is an excellent company. I always receive great service. Alex A. was professional and friendly. He kept me informed during the process of checking my furnace and heat pump to make sure they were working properly. The company makes sure you are notified who is coming and when they are on the way. All my interactions with the company have been wonderful."
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