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Closing Air Vents in Your Virginia Home and How It Affects HVAC Efficiency

Like most homeowners, you want to create a comfortable and energy-efficient home. Some homeowners turn to closing their air vents to accomplish this. However, a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, found that closing air vents “led to increased energy use.”

Why Doesn’t Closing Air Vents Work?

The HVAC system in your home forces air through air ducts throughout your home. When you close some vents, you are shutting down part of that system and creating pressure imbalances. This causes the system to pull unconditioned air in from cracks or leaks around doors and windows and elsewhere.

Furthermore, as air continues to try to force its way through the closed vents, air can leak out of improperly sealed ducts. This air escapes to places such as your basement or floor cavities. As a result, you heat places you are not using.

Closing air vents can also damage ducts and your furnace. Closing your vents can cause your furnace to work harder than it’s designed to because of unexpected air stoppage. The stoppage of air also can cause ducts to freeze in the winter. This gives your furnace even more work to do.

What Are Some Energy-Efficient Alternatives?

If you still want to close off some rooms, you should contact your HVAC professional for advice, because closing air vents affects your furnace in a way only trained experts understand. This will prevent you from inadvertently causing damage to your furnace. Remember that adjustments made to your HVAC system are not covered under any warranty.

Rather than closing your vents, try to improve efficiency by:

  • Getting a furnace upgrade. Older furnaces operate at 55 to 70 percent efficiency, but newer models can achieve performance levels of 95 to 98 percent energy efficiency.
  • Having your furnace serviced once a year
  • Making sure your air ducts are tight and properly sealed

When you have questions about closing air vents and saving energy, contact the pros at HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited. We proudly serve the residents of Fairfax County and the surrounding areas of northern Virginia.

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