It’s a common misconception that you can save energy by closing the air registers in rooms that aren’t used often. In fact, the opposite is true. Shutting a room affects the vital air balance in the HVAC system, and this can lead to a variety of issues, such as:
- Declining comfort. Closing some registers causes airflow restrictions within the ductwork, which makes the pressure rise inside an HVAC system. In systems with single-speed blower motors, fan speed drops in response to increased pressure. With less airflow, it’s harder to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home.
- Leaky ducts. When there’s a rise in HVAC system pressure from closed registers, the conditioned air pushed by the blower fan will escape in other areas of the ductwork. This increases the amount of conditioned air waste as existing leaks get worse and new leaks develop at any weak point.
- Component damage. Another side effect of reduced system airflow is possible coil icing in your heat pump or air conditioner. If the situation isn’t correctly promptly, this can cause a premature failure of the compressor, which is an HVAC system’s most costly component.
- Safety hazards. If higher pressure results in restricted airflow when the furnace is running, the heat exchanger may overheat and develop cracks where lethal carbon monoxide can escape into the air supply.
- Increased energy consumption. If you’ve purchased an HVAC system with a more efficient variable-speed blower motor, you won’t see the expected energy savings because the fan has to run at higher speeds to compensate for the increased pressure inside the ductwork.
Zoning is a Better Alternative to Shutting Registers
For better control of energy usage in seldom-used rooms, ask an experienced HVAC contractor about upgrading to a zoning system with multi-stage equipment and a variable-speed air handle. Heating and cooling zones are created with dedicated thermostats and motorized dampers in the ductwork connected to a central control panel that you can program to optimize energy savings.
To learn whether a zoning system is a viable alternative to shutting a room in your Coastal Bend home, contact us at CCAC.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 361-678-2495.
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