If you’re on a tight budget and looking for small ways to save money, simply closing your AC vents seems like a great easy way to save a few dollars a month. However, this may not be as effective at saving money as you think.
Closing your AC vents will not save money on your monthly electric bill. It will cost you more because you are putting more stress on the entire HVAC system by not allowing the air to escape. Keeping vents closed for a long time dramatically increases the air pressure in the ducts.
In the paragraphs below, I’ll go into more detail about the effects of closing a vent in your home, how it can damage your system and some things you can do to save money on your electric bill.
The Effects Of Closing An AC Vent
Your HVAC system works based on the size of your home. The heating or air is based on the size of each room and the house itself. The HVAC system uses the size of the room to know how much heat or air to pump in.
When you close up one of the vents in your home, it throws off the delicate balance of your system. The AC system will still try to cool off the room where the vent is closed by blowing in more air or possibly turning up the fan.
Closing an air vent in your house just throws your system off and makes it work harder as it tries to compensate for the room that is still not getting cooler because you closed the vent. This is why closing a vent does not save money and has the opposite effect.
When you close the vent, it’s not the same as turning off the AC altogether. It’s just blocking part of the system. This only confuses your HVAC system and causes it to increase the amount of air it is pushing through the vents.
Closing a single vent throws off the house’s temperature balance. The HVAC system has no idea that a vent is closed. It simply receives information that tells it the home has not yet reached the desired temperature.
Since the system thinks the home is still too hot, it will not turn off the air when it is supposed to. It will increase the air blowing out of all the other vents, costing you more money.
If you close individual vents in your home, you will be costing yourself more money each month on your electric bill, and if you leave the vents closed, you could be looking at some costly repairs to the entire system.
Read: Why Are HVAC Vents Under Windows?
How Closing Vents Can Damage Your System?
When you close an individual vent, you are unintentionally forcing your HVAC system to work harder than it usually would. The system pumps in extra air to try and cool the entire house. This can cause significant problems if left unchecked.
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When the system pumps in this extra air to compensate, it increases the pressure in all of the air ducts that carry the heat or air around your house. If this pressure is allowed to build up regularly day after day, it will damage the air ducts.
The air ducts will expand slightly due to the increase in airflow and air pressure, and that can cause leaks in the air ducts, which will make your system overcompensate even more. The damage caused by having an AC vent closed for an extended period of time will start to snowball once you reach a certain point.
The HVAC system is just working harder and harder to try and heat the entire home. When it begins, it is only because of the closed vent. Once the air duct expands and leaks develop, the system will blow even more air out of the vent to make up for the leak and the closed ducts.
All of this will do the opposite of what you wanted and will raise your bill each month as the HVAC system becomes progressively less and less efficient over time. Eventually, the system will just overheat and shut down.
If you get to the point where your system has been shut down and won’t turn back on, you will need to call a professional to help you get it back up and running. Some of the ducts may need to be replaced, and the fans within the system may need to be replaced as well.
Running your AC in this way destroys the longevity of your system. A unit that might not have needed service for years will have its lifespan cut down dramatically if you run the AC with individual vents closed.
Closing vents is not a way to save electricity. It’s precisely the opposite. Closed vents cause the system to run in an inefficient manner and make it much more susceptible to damage from increased air pressure and workload.
Having an HVAC technician come out to your home to repair your system is not only time-consuming, but it’s also not cheap either. If your goal is to save money, do not close your vents.
Read: How To Fix Ecobee Thermostat AC Blowing Cold Air Through Intake Vent?
Other Ways To Save Money On Your Electricity Bill
There are a lot of straightforward things that you can do to save money on your electric bill. A lot of these things are just as simple as closing your vents, yet they are much more effective and won’t damage your heating and cooling system.
Check the lightbulbs in your home. If you have any old bulbs, you should replace them with newer ones. Older light bulbs use more energy when they are on. Simply switching all the light bulbs in your home to newer, more energy-efficient bulbs can save you a few dollars on your electric bill.
One of the easiest things you can do is turn off lights when you leave a room. Leaving light bulbs, televisions, video game systems, appliances, and other electronics on allows them to constantly draw power, and that will make your electric bill increase. This is very easy to do and very effective as well.
When you do buy new appliances like a washing machine or a dryer, make sure that you are buying one that is energy star certified. Energy star products are precisely what they sound like, very energy efficient products. Progressively changing your electronics over to all energy star products will make your electric bill go down considerably.
One of the things that you would least expect to help is to simply use your dryer less. Create a clothesline and air dry your clothes most of the time. The drop in your electric bill will be astronomical because the dryer is the least energy-efficient appliance in your home. Use it only when you must.
Washing your clothes in only cold water will also save a lot of electricity. Each load of laundry you put in the washing machine will use anywhere from seven to nineteen gallons (26.49 to 71.92 liters) of water. All of that water has to be heated up if you choose to wash your clothes in hot water.
Read: What Is High-Efficiency Furnace Venting?
If you really need to close one of the vents in your home because of the temperature, you should only slightly close it. Leave it open enough that air can still flow through. If you close your air vents all the way, you will not be saving any electricity.
When you close your AC vents, you force the system to work harder as it tries to cool the home but can’t because the vent is closed in one room. The AC will constantly run as it attempts to cool the room where the vent is closed, which uses more electricity.