If you’re like most homeowners, you’re always looking for ways to save money on your energy bills. And if you’ve heard that closing off upstairs air vents can help you do that, you may be wondering if it’s a technique worth trying. In this post, we’ll explore whether it is a good idea to close your air vents to save money on your heating and cooling costs.
What Is the Vent-Closing Method?
Here’s the basic idea: If you close the vents in rooms you don’t use often, like the spare upstairs bedroom or the home office you only use for part-time work, your HVAC system will have less square footage to heat or cool.
Many homeowners believe this will lower their energy bills and extend the life of their HVAC system by reducing wear and tear. If you have an upstairs living room that you only use occasionally, for example, this idea suggests that closing the vents in that room will ensure that your heating and cooling system isn’t working hard to heat or cool an empty space.
While this may seem like an intuitive way to save on heating and cooling costs, it is unfortunately not as straightforward as it seems, and we don’t recommend this method in most circumstances. To ensure that your HVAC system is working at optimal performance, you’ll want to make sure that all of the vents in your home are open before you start using your HVAC system for the season. Let’s explore why.
Why You Shouldn’t Try Closing Your Upstairs Vents to Save Money
Closing your HVAC air vents is not a good idea for several reasons. First, it can cause your system to become overworked and inefficient. Your equipment will have to work harder to try to maintain your desired temperature, allowing heat and cool air to leak out of the gaps in the closed vents. This is because your HVAC system is designed with your home’s size in mind, and closing the vents can disrupt its built-in balance.
Further, if your HVAC system has to work harder to operate, it can lead to increased utility bills as you will be using more energy than you normally would. As a result, this method is counterintuitive if you are trying to cut your home’s energy costs.
Another potential issue with closing your air vents is the buildup of pressure. When your HVAC system has to work harder to circulate air through the rest of the home, the duct system can experience increased air pressure.
While this usually will not cause any short-term issues, it can quickly spiral out of control if it is allowed to continue for a while, resulting in issues that range from energy-wasting air leaks to possible carbon monoxide leaks if damage occurs. Any of these issues will inevitably cause damage to your HVAC system over time, which increases the likelihood of needing costly repairs or even a full replacement. For this reason, if you are motivated by cost savings, you’re better off keeping the vents open and extending the lifespan of the HVAC system in your home.
The risk of pressure buildup is the same reason why it is not recommended to keep your home’s interior doors closed for long periods. Any blockage of circulation can result in a buildup of pressure in your home, which ultimately reduces the efficiency of your HVAC system.
Furthermore, closing off the unused areas of your home could result in poorer air quality throughout the house. Air tends to settle over time, so if all the air is confined within one area, it may become stuffy and stagnant.
Simply put, it is best to leave your HVAC air vents completely open at all times. By doing so, you can enjoy efficient heating and cooling throughout your home, as well as optimal indoor air quality year-round.
If you must close your vents for any reason, try not to close them any more than halfway. While this can still increase the risk of any of the above-mentioned problems, it’s always better to keep your home’s vents open at least partway rather than completely closed. Just know that your HVAC system releases the same amount of air no matter how much you close your vents, so any resistance will add pressure to the system and result in energy waste.
Alternative Money-Saving Methods
Since closing your upstairs air vents will not typically save you money, you may want to explore some alternative methods. Many of these methods are more effective than the vent-closing method, so you can be sure that your efforts are making a difference in your household’s bottom line.
One way to lower your energy bill is to install energy-efficient appliances such as Energy Star-certified refrigerators, dishwashers, air purifiers, and dehumidifiers. Energy-efficient appliances use less energy by operating under the lowest possible temperature and energy settings needed to achieve their intended function, which means that they cost less to operate.
Another way to save money on your energy bills is to use energy-efficient lighting such as LED bulbs. Like energy-efficient appliances, energy-efficient lighting uses less energy than traditional lighting. It can also last longer, which means that you won’t have to replace the bulbs as often, which is certainly a bonus for your bank account.
You can also save money on your energy bills by insulating your home. Insulation helps to keep the heat in during the winter and the cool in during the summer, which means that your home’s heating and cooling costs will be lower.
By following these tips, you can save money on your energy bills and make your home more comfortable at the same time. Keep in mind, however, that these are universal options that apply to all standard homes, and your home may have distinct needs that require attention from an HVAC technician. For instance, if there is a leak, blockage, or another issue that minimizes the efficiency of your AC unit, that could be why your energy bills are so high, and getting the issue repaired could result in significant cost savings.
If you are interested in finding out how you can save money on heating and cooling costs in your home, Express Plumbing Heating & Air is at your service. Our honest and reliable HVAC technicians are eager to evaluate your home’s heating and cooling efficiency and lay the groundwork for a more energy-efficient HVAC system.
We also offer plumbing, pumping, and excavation services, so you can count on us to meet all of your home maintenance needs. We’ve been serving homeowners just like you in the Boise area since 2006 and continue to deliver quality results every single day. Contact us at (208) 996-8784 today to learn more and schedule an evaluation with one of our experts.