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Should I close my air conditioning ducts in unused rooms in my home?

Closing your air conditioning ducts may seem harmless and a good way to manage your home comfort levels as well as save some money on energy, but, it could cause you more harm than good.

It’s quite a common tactic, homeowners closing off air conditioning outlets to unused rooms to save energy. With the vents closed, any air that would normally flow to these rooms would then be redirected to other rooms in the house. The theory is that the air has to go somewhere, so why not divert it to another room where it’s needed instead of wasting it in an unused room?

Why closing air conditioning ducts doesn’t work?

When you close your air conditioning ducts, it actually does little to save energy. In fact, you may even see your electricity bill increase and damage to your system.

Duct leakage

When you shut off your air conditioning outlets, it’s an issue of pressure that causes a loss of energy. When you block off the air flow into a room, the closed-off vents create pressure within the ductwork. This disproportionate pressure then creates a suction-like effect and may cause potential leaks. Instead of you saving energy, energy is going down the drain via ductwork cracks.

System burnout

While your air-conditioning system is trying to control and balance the heating and cooling, it is working overtime and will eventually decrease the life of the system. The increased pressure and leaks can reduce airflow across the heat exchange coil, causing damage to the system.

An unbalanced system

When you close air conditioning outlets, there is a possibility that this action will unbalance the entire system. Because the way the air is being distributed has changed, this could potentially cause the thermostat to inaccurately detect temperatures that could inadvertently make other parts of the house uncomfortable.

Consider a zoned system

Not all ducted air conditioning comes with a zoning function however, it may be the answer and alternative to closing air conditioning ducts. An air conditioner with zoning capabilities is far more energy efficient because air conditioning can be turned off in rooms that are not being used or different temperatures set in different rooms. This is managed via sensors placed in rooms throughout the house to maintain the balance and by setting different ‘zones’.

Want to save energy with your air conditioning but not sure how? Contact H&H Air Conditioning NOW!

The smart way to reduce energy costs

If a zoned system is not a possibility just yet and you’re looking to reduce energy costs, there are a number of things you can do to reduce energy costs that don’t involve closing air conditioning outlets.

Keep your thermostat at a comfortable temperature

On a hot summer’s day it’s easy to be tempted into setting your air conditioner at 19°C but in fact, if it’s 35°C outside, it’s best to set your thermostat at 24°C – 25°C. In winter, set your air conditioner at 17°C-19°C. For every 1°C lower or higher you set your air conditioning at, it will use more energy and cost you money.

Ensure your windows are covered

Particularly during summer, ensure your windows are covered with curtains, blinds or awnings to block heat and reduce heat absorption. In winter these window coverings can also help by trapping in the heat and not letting it escape.

Repair any leaks in your ductwork

Have a qualified air conditioning mechanic check your ductwork for damage and leaks, particularly if you have been previously closing your vents. The mechanic will be able to repair any leaks.

Clean or unblock vents

Check your vents to see if they need cleaning. Vents can very easily become built up with dust and dirt but, it is easy to remove and clean them by:

  1. Using a vacuum to suck out as much dirt and dust as possible from the vent opening.
  2. Inspecting the opening with a torch to see if there is any damage to the ductwork. If there is, contact H&H Air Conditioning for repairs.

If you suspect blockages further up the ductwork, have one of our technicians inspect it for you.

Have the air filter cleaned and changed on a regular basis

The air filter filters out dust and pollen particles which can build up on the filter over time and can cause the system to perform poorly. Remove the filter regularly and wash it. You can usually find instructions to do this in the user’s manual. Alternatively, our technicians can clean and replace it for you during their regular maintenance visit.

Start a preventative maintenance program

If you haven’t started a preventative maintenance program for your air conditioning system, now is the time to do it. Not only will it ensure that your air conditioning system is always running at optimum capacity, it will save you money over the long term in energy and maintenance bills, it will improve the life of your air conditioning system and ensure that you and your family are breathing in clean air.

If you’re concerned that your system isn’t running as efficiently as it should or your electricity bills are higher than usual, contact H&H Air Conditioning for a system check TODAY!

 

 

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