Do closing heating/cooling registers really save energy or not?
Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems tend to use lots of gas and electricity, especially while heating/cooling unused space. Numerous homeowners close heating/cooling registers in unused rooms in an attempt to save energy.
Reason Why Closing Registers Should Save Energy
Closing registers to a bathroom or bedroom not in use may seem like a wise decision to conserve more energy. Closing the register and door should allow no hot or cool air to enter the unused room, freeing your HVAC units to cool/heat other areas of your house. The forced air from your HVAC system must go somewhere, right? Rather than using energy in unused rooms, why not redirect this air? Register closing actually increases energy use, according to a study by the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory in 2003.
Reasons Why Energy is Actually Wasted by Closing Registers
Closing registers do not stop air movement because cold-air returns are also located in your home. The closed-off room creates pressure causing the cold-air return to drawing in cold air from cracks located in doors and windows. Moreover, warm air attempting to make its way out of closed registers will begin to seep out of any improperly sealed ducts, or it will make its way into floor cavities or back down into the basement. Heating energy is still consumed, however, just in locations unusable to you.
Shutting too many air vents in your home may cause possible damage to your HVAC system. High efficiency, newer HVAC models are designed to run with fans at full speed and with your square footage to consider. Unexpected blockages are created by closing off registers, forcing the heating and cooling system to work harder while delivering heated air. Freezing in ducts may also occur due to the limited air flow. This shortens the life of the HVAC system.
Save Energy with Alternatives
One way to improve energy usage is by upgrading your HVAC system. Older HVAC units run in the energy range of 55% to 70%, where newer systems range is 95% or more. While the cost to install a new HVAC unit may be significant, a more energy efficient model can reduce operating costs dramatically. Furthermore, ensure the HVAC system in your home is cleaned every couple of years, and the ducts are sealed properly. Fully opening registers downstairs while upstairs being partially closed can help make the most of the warm air.
Contact a Brinson & Sons HVAC expert if you still want to close up a room in your home where much heat isn’t needed to discuss your options.