When you’re looking for effective ways to reduce your household utility bills, don’t get taken in by the myth that shutting the air vents in unused rooms saves energy. The truth is, shutting a room won’t lower your energy consumption, and it can cause some serious issues in your home such as:
- A decline in air output. When some vents are closed, airflow gets restricted in the ducts and pressure increases in the HVAC system. If you have a standard blower with one speed, the fan slows down as the pressure rises, so conditioned air output drops at the open registers.
- Possible compressor failure. When system airflow slows down, ice will start to build up on the cooling coil of your A/C or heat pump. Coil icing can cause the compressor to overheat and eventually fail, which means you’ll have to replace your HVAC system’s most costly component.
- More duct leakage. Higher system pressure and airflow restrictions can make any unsealed ductwork leaks worse and even create new ones. The loss of conditioned air makes it harder to maintain comfort and increases your energy costs
- Lost energy savings. If you upgraded to a system with a variable-speed air handler, its electronically computated motor speeds up in response to a system pressure increase. Since it’s using more energy, you lose the savings you’d expect to gain with variable-speed equipment.
- Heightened safety risks. The higher pressure that results from closing some air vents when you’re operating the furnace can cause damage to the heat exchanger, which increases your risk of exposure to lethal carbon monoxide.
Zoning: A Better Energy-Saving Alternative
Having your HVAC professional install a zoning system is a better way to control your energy use in different areas of your home. Independent heating and cooling zones are created with motorized dampers in the ductwork and dedicated programmable thermostats. The equipment is then connected to one central panel where you program in your desired comfort settings for the entire house.
Contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling to learn about better energy-saving alternatives to shutting a room in your Portland home.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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