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Should I Close Air Vents In Unused Rooms?

Air Conditioning Return Vent
Return Vent
Open Air Conditioning Supply Vent
Supply Vent

Do you have an unused room like a guest room? Closing the air vent in this room sounds like a logical step. You would save energy and direct more cold air into occupied rooms. Correct?

Unfortunately this is not the case; rather closing air vents is actually one of the best ways to kill your air conditioning system. This mistaken assumption has been made numerous times by owners of an air conditioner in Port Charlotte and the rest of our service area.

But what is so bad about closing air vents?

The blower, located in your air handler, cycles the indoor air. Warm air gets pulled in through the return vents, cooled and then pushed out of the supply vents. While your ductwork and blower are built to accommodate the air pressure that results from a running system, closed vents will cause the pressure to increase and the airflow to slow down. Other obstructions in the ductwork or a dirty air filter will have a similar effect on the airflow.

The Effects of Increased Pressure and Slow Airflow

Here are some of the negative effects that too much pressure and slow airflow can have on your air conditioner:

  • Too much pressure in the ductwork can create leaks and increase the size of existing leaks. So instead of having the cold air going into the unused room, it might be leaking into the attic. Probably not what you wanted. In addition, if your blower motor has to work against higher pressure, this will result in more strain and a higher risk of a premature break down, meaning you’ll have to call us in for an AC repair.

  • Slow airflow will in any case decrease AC efficiency. Depending on your blower type, the blower will either start to run faster (variable speed) to increase air flow, hence using more electricity, while a conventional blower type will maintain the same speed. If air is passing over the coils too slowly, coolness from the coils cannot be transferred as well to the passing air. This will result in a longer cooling time.

    Not only does slow airflow decrease air conditioning efficiency, but it will also cause the coils in your air handler to freeze up and in the worst case permanently damage the equipment. Keeping your air vents open, along with regular air conditioning maintenance, is the best way to prevent frozen coils.

The Alternative: Zoning System

Rather than setting a temperature for your whole house, a zoning system allows you to set a temperature for each room, even different temperatures for different times. As an example, you can have your guest room set to 80° the whole day, while you set the temperature in the master bedroom to 76° at night and to 80° during the day. This will help to reap you the energy savings you were hoping to achieve by closing air vents – without the negative effects. Refer to our blog post about the Trane ComfortLink II Thermostat to learn more or call us at (941) 474-3691.

Do you live in the North Port, Punta Gorda or Sarasota, Florida area? Kobie Complete is your home comfort specialist and expert for air conditioning installation and repair. Call today! We’ll be Right Over.

Published on June 5, 2015 - Author: Johannes Gross

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