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You’re Closing off a Room to Save Energy? Why You Could Be Opening Yourself up to Trouble

Posted on October 22, 2013

Your kids are off at college. The in-laws have returned to their winter home in the South, and you’re looking forward to having lower heating bills because there aren’t as many people in your Wichita home. If closing off a room to save energy this winter is part of your energy-savings plan, you might need to revise your strategy. 

Debunking the Myth

It seems logical that closing supply vents in a room and closing the door would force the air into other rooms in your home. But your rooms also have cold-air returns, so all you’re doing is creating pressure in the closed room. This pressure makes the cold-air return pull air from any place it can find, including cracks in windows and doors. This pressure imbalance can also strain your ductwork, resulting in leaks.

In addition, your furnace–especially if it is a newer one–was precisely sized to heat your entire home. Closing off a room will most likely affect its performance and possibly the comfort in the rest of your living space.

Damage Potential

Closing off a room to save energy can cause damage to the room itself. Any rooms closed off in the winter can become cold enough to crack flooring and plaster. Paint can begin to bubble and chip off. Ice can form on the inside of the windows, which damages their finish and stains walls.

Alternatives

Closing off a room to save energy is possible, but only when it’s done properly. Some HVAC experts say you can close a room, but only if it’s smaller than 100 square feet and distant from the furnace. Enlist the help of your HVAC-system professional, who can advise you on closing off ducts and adjusting your furnace to improve energy and avoid potential damage.

For other ideas on becoming more energy-efficient this winter, contact our experts at Comfort Systems. We serve homeowners throughout Wichita.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about saving energy and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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