Stop! Read This Before Closing Air Vents Throughout Your Home
To save on energy costs with forced-air heating systems, it seems like it would make sense to close off unneeded rooms during the winter by closing heating vents and shutting doors. There are a number of problems that can arise from this practice, however, that not only increase energy usage, but can also damage the closed rooms, their furniture, and your heating system itself.
- Furnaces and ductwork are designed specifically for the square footage to be heated, and closing off some of the vents disrupts the distribution of air through the system.
- The return air vent in the closed room will still work to pull air out of the room. If it doesn’t have warm air from the vent, pressure can build up causing cold air to come in through cracks in walls, framing and windows. Your furnace will need to work harder to warm the unconditioned air.
- Solid wood furniture can warp with a drastic temperature change. Freezing temps can cause vinyl flooring to crack or ice to form on windows that subsequently will damage the finish on the window frame and sill.
Energy-saving alternatives to completely closing air vents or rooms of your home in winter are available, however. Since heat rises, you can partially close upstairs vents and still maintain your home’s comfort level while keeping a good balance of airflow. Have your furnace cleaned every few years and seal up ductwork to minimize any air leaks. Is it time for an HVAC upgrade? Today’s high-efficiency furnaces are 90 to 98 percent efficient, in contrast to older models that could be as low as 55 percent energy efficient. Remember that, just like you, your home needs to breathe.
Before you consider closing air vents to save energy, contact Sobieski Services. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
Image Credit: A Johnson