Can I Lower My Energy Bills by Closing Upstairs Vents?
With continually rising energy prices, keeping your home heated and cooled can be a costly proposition. This often results in homeowners looking for any ways they can reduce these costs. One option that many people consider is closing all of the upstairs vents and only heating or cooling the main level of the home. While this may sound like a good way to save some money, the truth is that it won’t lead to any reduction in energy usage. In fact, keeping some of your vents closed will almost always end up costing you more money in the long run. Let’s go into the reasons.
It Unbalances Your HVAC System
HVAC systems are finely tuned, and they only work properly when everything is in balance. Specifically, the air handler and ductwork are designed to work with a set amount of air pressure. Closing some of your vents increases the air pressure and unbalances the system. This puts added stress on the equipment and makes the air handler work much harder to circulate heated or cooled air throughout the home. The high pressure increases resistance inside the system, and this leads to reduced airflow.
The increased pressure usually results in hot and cold spots in the home. That’s because more of the air will be forced out of the vents closest to the air handler, which means there won’t be enough hot or cold air left for those rooms further along in the duct system.
High pressure can also damage your ductwork and cause it to leak. When this happens, it makes it even more difficult for the air to properly circulate throughout the home. Much of the heated or cooled air will escape before it can reach every room. This leads to energy waste and causes your furnace or AC to have to run more frequently. According to the EPA, duct leaks can increase your annual heating and cooling costs by 20% to 30% on average.
It Increases the Wear and Tear on Your Equipment
Since the system will have to work harder and run more frequently to keep the home properly heated and cooled, all of these issues lead to increased wear and tear on your HVAC equipment. This means that closing your vents will usually result in the system suffering from more issues and needing more frequent repairs. It can also drastically shorten the lifespan of the equipment and force you to replace it long before you should normally have to. Most commonly, the added stress will eventually burn out the motor in the blower fan or possibly the AC compressor.
It Isn’t a Long-Term Solution to Heating or Cooling Problems
Along with attempting to save money, another reason many people consider closing some of their vents is to overcome issues with insufficient heating or cooling. While closing the upstairs vents will direct more of the hot or cold air to other parts of the home, this is really only a temporary solution since it could damage your HVAC system.
If you find yourself having to take this step, it indicates that your HVAC system is either undersized or it isn’t working properly for some other reason. In this situation, it is always much better to fix the underlying cause of the problem instead of looking for a short-term fix. Closing some of your vents in these circumstances is basically the equivalent of trying to put a Band-Aid over a gaping wound. It might help temporarily, but it isn’t a long-term solution, and it will likely lead to more severe issues.
Professional HVAC Services in Olathe
If you’re looking for more effective ways to reduce your energy costs, Mike Bryant Heating & Cooling is here to help. We specialize in HVAC installation and can help you upgrade your old furnace or AC to a much more energy-efficient model. If you’re looking to build a new home, our certified HVAC technicians also specialize in designing and installing full heating and cooling systems. We are a Lennox Premier Dealer and offer a wide selection of equipment for homes of any size. Our range of maintenance and repair services can also help you save on your heating and cooling costs by ensuring your system works as efficiently as it should. Our business is locally owned and operated and has been providing award-winning HVAC services and support to customers in Olathe and the Greater Kansas City area since 2004. To learn more, give our professionals at Mike Bryant Heating & Cooling a call today.