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 MYTH:  CLOSING OFF VENTS AND REGISTERS WILL REDUCE YOUR HEATING BILL.  (Recently an ad has been running on television instructing homeowners to close vents to save on heating bills.  This advise is wrong.)

A myth many people believe is that they can close off some of their supply registers and save money.  The system installed in your home is designed for a certain amount of airflow.  If this airflow is restricted in any way it causes the system to function improperly and could potentially cause system failure.  This myth most likely goes back to the early days when people would close off most of their home in the winter to save on coal and wood usage.  Today's modern systems are designed specifically for a certain amount of air flow and if you restrict that airflow, whether it be by a dirty filter or closing vents, problems will occur.  If you have a modern forced air heating system, the pressure load is balanced through the house.  Blocking vents will impact how the system inhales and exhales air; it can throw the system out of balance, causing it to work harder and possibly break down.

Also, the most energy efficient practice you can do is to have heat evenly distributed throught the house.  Blocking vents in certain rooms will make those rooms colder because heat moves from greater concentrations to lesser concentrations, these colder rooms will draw heat from other rooms in the house, making the house feel colder.

The following was taken directly from the "Maryland Energy" web site:

"Closing air registers and vents to conserve heat is not recommended with heat pumps.  The heat pump system is sized to meet the entire house's heating requirements and blocking off vents can reduce mechanical performance and efficiency.  Also make sure the vents are not blocked by furniture, drapes, or other obstructions."

The following was taken from "eHow":

"Contrary to popular belief, closing off vents with today's high efficincy heating and air conditiong system results in little energy savings and can actually raise your energy bill, increased suction in the return air ducts pulls in outdoor air from cracks around windows and exterior doors. 
The following was taken from "The Family Handyman":
"Closing the heat register and door without sealing the return air duct can actually increase cold air infiltration and cost you more than you thought you'd save.

There are three good reasons to get an HVAC contractor involved before you start closing off heat vents, especially with today's high-efficiency furnaces and well-balanced systems. First, it might actually add to your heating bill. That's because with the heat vent closed, the suction from the return air duct can pull in cold air from the outside through any cracks around windows, exterior doors or exterior wall electrical boxes. Second, if the heat duct seams haven’t been sealed properly, the extra pressure from closed-off vents will force hot air through the leaks. That can be as much as 15 percent of heated air into basements, crawl spaces and floor cavities instead of into rooms. Finally, if you have a well-designed, finely tuned heating system, closing off too many rooms can damage your furnace because it has to work too hard to distribute the air. So, if you still want to seal off these rooms, consider hiring an HVAC contractor for advice."

 

Did you know...

  • The EPA says that R-22 supplies are projected to end in 2020.  What does this mean to you?  In 2010, manufacturers will no longer produce R-22 systems.  Installation of R-22 refrigerant equipment may save you money upon installation, but repair costs will be higher.  R-22 refrigerant is being replaced with government mandated environmentally friendly 410A refrigerant.

 

  • It is not in the best interest of the building's owner to operate a permanent HVAC system for temporary heating and cooling purposes during construction.  When using the permanent HVAC system for temporary heat construction, filter failures can cause insufficient protection of the permanent HVAC system, leaving excessive amounts of construction dust in the system.  Early startup may void the warranty on the system's equipment and possibly reduce equipment life and operating efficiencies.  According to SMACNA, total energy costs will generally be higher than the cost to use temparry heating, cooling, and dehumidification equipment currently available in the marketplace.

  • As of January 23, 2006 Federal law increased its minimum efficiency standard for newly manufactured air conditioners and heat pumps from 10 SEER to 13 SEER.  SEER is short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.  It's a number similiar to mile-per-gallon in cars.  So the higher the SEER, the more efficient your system.  A 13 SEER system is about 30% more efficient than a 10 SEER system.

  • The outdoor unit contains a compressor and a condensing coil filled with refrigerant.  A fan blows outside air over the coil, transferring thermal energy between the refrigerant and the outside air.  Then the refrigerant is circulated through pipes (a "lineset") to the indoor unit.

  • Your indoor unit is comprised of a coil and blower, which is located inside an air handler or furnace.  The blower circulates air through the coil before it is sent to the ducts throughout your home.

  • The lineset contains refrigerant that circulates between the indoor and outdoor units.

  • If the indoor coil is not matched with the outdoor unit, several major problems can occur with your system.  Capacity will not be sufficient to keep you comfortable, energy bills will increase due to reduced efficiency, your manufacturers warranty may become void, and reliablility will suffer, and compressor failure is more likely to occur.

Carbon monoxide (CO) facts...

  • Odorless, colorless, tasteless, poisonous gas
  • Unwanted by-product of the incomplete combustion of fuels, such as gas, oil and wood
  • Nearly 5,000 people annually are treated in emergency rooms for carbon monoxide poisoning. Experts suspect many more mistake symptoms of lower-level poisoning with those of the flu and go untreated
  • About 200 people die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with home fuel-burning appliances
  • Less than a third of U.S. households use carbon monoxide detectors
  • More than two dozen U.S. cities require the use of carbon monoxide detecters
  • Each home should use at least one carbon monoxide alarm, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safely Commission.  Choose an alarm that meets UL Standard 2034