James Mitchell

Saving money on utility bills and energy cost is a top priority for many homeowners. One energy-sucking appliance that homeowners try to address is the furnace. It’s common for a lot of homeowners to close their air vents in spaces that don’t need heating in an attempt to reduce their bills. But does this work and does it lower the energy bill?

Why Closing Air Vents Don’t Work

Closing air vents in rooms that don’t require heating might seem like a practical approach to increasing your HVAC system’s energy efficiency. After all, with the vents, doors, and windows closed, heat won’t be pumped into the space, which frees up your HVAC system for heating the rest of the home.

However, since the rooms in your house also have heating vents and cold air returns, closing off vents won’t prevent air from moving, explains an experienced furnace service technician from All Hours Plumbing and HVAC in Utah. He adds that shutting vents produces pressure in the room, which in turn would result in return ducts to pull cool air in from cracks in doors and windows. Additionally, the warm air that’s attempting to get into the closed air vents would begin to seep out improperly sealed ducts or would be pushed back into the cracks in the floor and your basement. This means that you would still be spending money on heating costs, but for places that don’t need heat.

You could also risk damaging your furnace by shutting off too many vents, because newer models are specifically developed to run with the particular square footage of the space, with its fans operating at high speed. When you close vents, it creates blockages that would make your furnace work harder than when it’s circulating heat. It is likewise possible your ducts could freeze during winter due to restricted airflow, which means more work for your HVAC. Aside from reducing your HVAC system’s energy efficiency, it likewise shortens its service life.

The Bottom Line

Just leave your air vents open, yes, even in rooms that you don’t use and don’t need heating. But if you’re intent on sealing up rooms that don’t require heat, consult an HVAC professional to learn about your options, because furnace adjustments and shutting ducts permanently are not DIY tasks. Likewise, keep in mind that your warranty won’t cover any modifications you make to your HVAC system, so best leave it to the pros.

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