Should I Keep My Wall Vents Open Or Closed?

hvac air registers

Many homeowners try to control their heating and cooling costs by closing HVAC vents in unoccupied rooms. This strategy has a very simple logic behind it. Given that the vents aren’t open, they believe that the air that’s heated or cooled will redirect to the rooms that need it most, the rooms with open vents. The idea is that the use of conditioned air is optimized with this tactic. Even though this certainly seems reasonable enough, it can actually be a lot more costly over time. More importantly, this strategy can cause serious damages to your HVAC systems.

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Why Closing The HVAC Registers In Your Home Isn’t The Most Cost-Effective Solution

This article will talk about all the different reasons why your HVAC registers need to stay open. We will also share a variety of tips for saving both energy and money with zoned HVAC equipment.

How HVAC Ventilation Works

Like the typical home, yours probably has a closed HVAC system. These systems constantly filter air to ensure that it is safe to breathe and ultimately clean. Given that the home environment is basically closed, the indoor air remains motionless until some external source moves it, such as a fan. With a forced-air HVAC system, a blower fan distributes the indoor air. The indoor air moves across condenser coils for cooling purposes, or it passes through a furnace or other heating component for heating. Afterward, the HVAC system distributes this conditioned air throughout the home.

Depending upon what type of heating and cooling system you have installed in your home, this fan motor for this unit could be variable or fixed. Fixed motors maintain steady rates irrespective of indoor air pressure. However, variable speed motors make automatic adjustments according to changes in air pressure. Fixed motors are generally the cheapest options as they don’t have complex components to operate. If you have a fixed motor in your home HVAC system, expect this motor to work hard in moving and redistributing air across a limited amount of space.

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Why We Think Closing Your HVAC Air Registers Is A Bad Idea

When you want to cut your spending on energy, closing the vents throughout your home is not an effective strategy. Read on to find out why.

Your HVAC System Doesn’t Work The Way You Think It Does

Your home HVAC system lacks any built-in sensor for determining whether the vents are open or closed. As such, it will keep using the same amount of energy to produce the same volume of air, whether it’s cool or warm. What it does instead is to maintain the setting of your thermostat. So long as the thermostat setting remains the same, your home HVAC won’t slow its efforts at all. Ultimately, this means that you’re going to pay for the exact same amount of energy.
high home heating and cooling costs

Shutting The Registers Creates An Imbalance In Pressure

When you shut one or more vents throughout your home to save energy, you’re actually closing the supply register. The return register that draws air from the interior rooms is going to stay open. Given that the return registers draws air out of enclosed room, this creates low air pressure. This depressurization forces outdoor air to infiltrate the space via tiny gaps, cracks, and holes. As a result, the indoor air temperature is destabilized. It can decrease or increase according to the temperature of the air outside. This can additionally have a detrimental impact on the overall indoor air quality.

Room Temperatures Will Become Uneven

There are internal dampers within your HVAC system that are designed to control the amount of air supply within every room by adjusting as needed. These adjustments ensure that there is always an adequate volume of airflow so that the HVAC system can maintain a consistent temperature. This remains true regardless of how close or far away the room is to the blower. When closing one or more vents, you disrupt the balance of airflow and temperatures in both the rooms and across the entire system. As a result, there could be excess airflow in rooms that are closest to the blower. Furthermore, there is an insufficient airflow in rooms that are positioned much further away, regardless if you leave these vents open.

Greater Wear And Tear On Your Home HVAC System

Static pressure inside of the ductwork increases when supply registers are closed. This increases pressure within the HVAC blower, thereby putting more strain on this component. If the system blower has to continue functioning under this added stress, it will have a much higher likelihood of succumbing to wear and tear, giving it a significantly shorter lifespan.

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Effective Tips For Cutting Your Home Heating And Cooling Costs

To start, remember that the size of your HVAC system is based upon the measurements of your home and other building-specific factors. When the size of your cooling and heating equipment matches your home’s area, it will be able to warm or cool the available space effectively. If you limit the space by shutting registers, this system is not going to work as it should.

To save money while still maintaining a safe and comfortable living environment, consider using a system that has zoned temperature control. This way, you can divide your home up into different zones. For instance, your upstairs room might be one zone, while your downstairs room might be another, and the basement area yet another. With zoned temperature control, it is possible to maintain different temperatures in different areas of the home, and without subjecting your heating and cooling equipment to undue wear and tear.

There is also the option of adjusting your thermostat setting so that your HVAC system operates at the bare minimum. You can also use fans to circulate the indoor air. Put up proper window treatments for maintaining comfortable temperature levels, or keep room doors open so that cold or warm air can be evenly distributed.

If you have a central HVAC system in your home, you can always supplement this with a ductless system. Ductless systems provide zoned temperature control and an HVAC contractor can install them in the zones or rooms that are in use most often. This will allow you to just your central HVAC thermostat for minimal operation so that you can customize the comfort levels in individual rooms according to your needs and preferences. Get in touch with an HVAC company like Wilcox Energy to learn more.


Call Wilcox Energy For All Of Your Home HVAC Needs


For reliable HVAC service, contact Wilcox Energy. We provide affordable and truly exceptional HVAC services and solutions. Among these are HVAC maintenance, repairs, new system installs, and more.

You can trust us to give you knowledgeable and friendly heating and cooling services at a price you can afford. With superior and honest service, we’re able to ensure customer satisfaction.

Call Wilcox Energy now to find out more about what we’re able to do for you. You can get a free, in-home consultation appointment with one of our friendly, NATE-certified HVAC technicians. No matter what your concerns are, you can rely on us to provide solutions that are both practical and affordable. Call Wilcox Energy right now!

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For more information about our HVAC services, be sure to contact Wilcox Energy. You can click here to contact us, or you can call us at (860) 399-6218 to find out more. We offer a full line of heating and cooling repairs, maintenance services, and installations.