When saving energy and reducing your utility bills, every little bit helps—especially when it comes to your HVAC system. If you’re like most households, over 50 percent of your energy use goes towards space heating and air conditioning!
At some point, you might have heard that closing your air vents in unoccupied rooms can help you lower your heating and cooling costs. Unfortunately, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t quite work that way.
WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID CLOSING AIR VENTS
To understand this, we’ll need to introduce you to your HVAC system’s blower. The blower is what circulates air while the system runs. The blower must maintain a balance between the air that it sucks in and the air that it blows out into your home.
Why? Because the blower has been manufactured to push against a certain amount of air pressure. The more that pressure increases, the harder the blower’s job becomes. At some point, there is a maximum level of pressure that the blower can no longer push against.
With this in mind, let’s go back to the vent on your wall and the air duct beyond it.
What Happens When I Close an Air Vent?
By closing an air vent, you’re blocking the path that the air in that duct can take. Now you have air continuing to flow down that duct with nowhere to go. This will do two things:
- Increase the air pressure in the blocked duct
- Create more and more pressure that the blower will attempt to push against
Now the blower is having to fight to perform its job. This makes the blower less efficient. To operate, now it will need to use more energy and cost you more money.
What’s more, the air that’s now blocked will not get used where you need it more. Unless you have dampers in the ductwork or zoning built into your HVAC system, you can’t redirect air to another room—especially not by closing a vent on a wall.
So Why Do My Vents Have Levers That Let Me Open and Close Them?
Those levers can help you change the direction that air flows out of the vent. For instance, if the air is blowing directly on you in your bed, you might want to shift the airflow slightly to the side to avoid getting a dry, sore throat while you sleep.