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Saving Money on Air Conditioning: Closing Vents Won’t Do It!

room-ventIf you live in a standard multi-room house, you receive conditioned air (whether coming from a furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump) through a network of ducts that lead to room vents. The covers over room vents often have slats in them you can manipulate using a lever. These adjustable slats help to control the direction that air flows into a room.

However, people often look at these slats and think, “Why don’t I just close them all the way? That will prevent cool air from reaching a room that’s empty and help save money.”

This is not the way the slats in a room vent are supposed to work. Trying to close the vents or block them in any fashion doesn’t save money. In fact, it usually creates the opposite problem of raising electrical costs and leading to numerous air conditioning repairs in Westfield, NJ.

What Goes Wrong When Vents Are Blocked

The reason closing vents won’t save money is because a shut vent doesn’t cause the blower motor in the air conditioner to do any less work. It has only blocked part of the ventilation system. What happens instead is the pressure the blower is working against increases. Depending on the type of motor, this will have different effects. A standard single-speed blower motor will slow down because of the pressure spike, and airflow through the ventilation system will decline. The house will suffer a noticeable drop in comfort and hot spots will start to appear in rooms. The AC run longer trying to compensate for the comfort loss, which places immense stress on components like the compressor and blower motor. There’s a higher risk of a system breakdown or icing on the coils.

If the air handler contains an ECM motor (a variable-speed motor), the rise in pressure will trigger the motor to shift to its higher capacity setting, even though it’s unnecessary. This translates into higher electrical bills with no accompanying benefit—and likely a shorter system life because of the longer time spent running the motor at it highest capacity.

Leaking Air Ducts

Air pressure spikes, like those that blocked vents can trigger, are one of the major causes of air leaks starting up in ductwork. Leaky air ducts lead to skyrocketing energy costs, humidity increases, and all around poor comfort. If your HVAC system suffers from air leaks, you must have professionals handle the job of duct repair or duct replacement. Duct tape doesn’t cut it!

Consider Zone Control for Your Next HVAC Installation

There are many ways you can cut down on your AC bills over the summer. You can’t close off vents to do it—but you can make an upgrade when you have a new HVAC installation that lets you close off rooms from the AC and heater without creating problems. It’s called zone control, and it helps reduce energy costs while balancing pressure throughout the ventilation system. We recommend you take a look into using zone control for the next major upgrade to your home’s heating and air conditioning.

Air Creations, Inc. serves Central and Northern New Jersey. 24/7 emergency service available!

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