Should I Shut My Upstairs Vents to Save Money?

May 20, 2022
air vent in Beaumont, TX

If you have a multi-level home and spend a lot of time on the ground floor, you might wonder if closing the vents upstairs, where you’re not using them, can help you save money. It’s a common suggestion; for instance, because heat rises, many people believe that shutting vents upstairs will ensure that heated air is forced back downward. For the warmer months, you might think that shutting your vents will limit how much your AC cools down rooms you’re not in. Read on to find out if this is true!

A Quick Note on Ductwork and Pressure

Household ducting is installed with the idea that all vents will remain open throughout the year. Whenever a vent is closed, it will increase the pressure inside of your ducting; after all, closing the vents doesn’t change the amount of air your furnace/AC outputs. When the same amount of air is given fewer places to escape, it builds up pressure.

Increased pressure will cause your blower fan to slow down because it’s fighting against more force than normal. Your blower will essentially use more energy to try and deliver treated air when pressures are higher in your ducting than when they’re normal.

Faster Leaking From Your Ductwork

While you may think that your ducting is free from leaks because your HVAC can keep up with the temperatures you set, that’s not usually the case. According to Energy Star, the average household loses about 20% to 30% of their conditioned air through leaks in their ducting. This is when all of the vents are open in your home and the pressure inside of your ducting is at a normal level.

When you increase the pressure inside of your ducting by closing vents upstairs, the pressure forces more air out of any leaks that may be present in the ductwork. That’s where the 20% to 30% comes in; because of the loss of conditioned air, you actually can end up seeing an increase in your energy costs.

Effective Methods For Reducing Heating Bills

While the idea of closing upstairs vents to save money on your energy bills may seem like a great idea at first, it’s clear that doing so will have the opposite effect. Fortunately, there are many other ways that you can work to reduce your energy bills in an effective manner.

Use Ceiling Fans

One of the most effective methods for reducing your energy bills is to supplement your home with ceiling fans, if you don’t already have them. Whether you need to disperse heat or cool down, you can use ceiling fans to keep comfortable without using your thermostat.

When it’s hot, set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise. This creates a downdraft, which helps make you feel cooler in addition to circulating any already cooled air that’s present in your home.

In the wintertime, set your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise, which will force air upward. That results in warm air, which rises, being dispersed from the ceiling back toward the walls, floor, and room proper, keeping a more consistent temperature throughout your home without needing to heat up more air.

Install a Smart Thermostat

If you’re still using one of those old dial thermostats, it’s time to upgrade. Smart thermostats are the latest in thermostat technology and offer a variety of ease-of-use and energy-saving features. For instance, you can control your thermostat from your smartphone, regardless of where you’re at. Many smart thermostats will track your usage history and make suggestions on how they can alter your settings to provide more energy savings.

Cold? Let the Sunlight In

During wintertime, take full advantage of the natural heat provided by sunlight. Instead of closing your vents to try and limit the amount of air you’re using, open your curtains and let the sunlight warm up your room. Rooms that get direct sunlight throughout the day can actually heat up by approximately 10 degrees Fahrenheit without you having to adjust your thermostat.

Hot? It’s Curtains for You

For the summer months, do the opposite! Instead of cranking the AC, make sure your biggest windows are covered. From window tint to blackout curtains, there are a variety of ways you can reduce how much heat the sun sends into your home. In concert with the tips above, you can often stay comfortable without having to pay as much.

Reliable Heating Services

Reed Service Company offers reliable heating services for Beaumont, TX, and the surrounding areas. We’re also here for all of your cooling, air quality, commercial, geothermal, boiler, and HVAC design needs. Contact our office today to get the help that you need with your home!