When it comes to reducing your energy bills, there are many ways to do so. One of the biggest misconceptions is that you can simply close the vents to rooms that you don’t utilize. While this may sound correct at first, it’s important to realize that it will actually have the opposite effect on your energy bills.
Your ducting is specifically designed to work at its most optimal when all of its vents are open. When you close a vent, your furnace is essentially trying to move the same amount of air through your ducting that now has one less opening. This causes the air pressure inside of your ducting to greatly increase. Every vent that you close will effectively increase the pressure inside of your ducting.
Air pressure plays a big role in your ducting’s ability to deliver warm air throughout your home. When the air pressure increases, your blower fan will naturally slow down. It’s fighting against the higher pressure air. This not only causes your blower fan to work harder to move air throughout your ducting, but it also prematurely wear out the fan components.
Additionally, when air pressure is higher, more air is forced out of any leaks or gaps in your ductwork. While you may think that you don’t have any leaks, that’s highly unlikely. Energy Star estimates that the average U.S. home has about 20 to 30% air loss through its ducting. This is assuming minimal pressure in your ducting. When you close vents and increase the air pressure inside of your ducting, this will force more warm air out of your leaks and gaps.
The sad truth is that closing off vents to various rooms of your upstairs doesn’t reduce your energy bills. Rather, it will increase them by overworking your blower fan and causing your heating system to run longer to make up for the extra loss of heat through your ducting leaks.
While closing vents won’t help to reduce your energy bills, there are many other methods that will. A great one to start out with is upgrading your old thermostat for a new smart thermostat. This newer thermostat will learn your usage patterns and make suggestions on the best settings to reduce your overall energy consumption. You can even review your usage and change your thermostat settings at any time from the convenience of your smartphone.
If you don’t currently have ceiling fans or you don’t use them, it’s time to change that. Ceiling fans can be a great strategy for reducing your energy consumption during the winter. You’ll want to have fans in your bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and home office. Have the fan set in a clockwise direction so that it forces the hot air at your ceiling out towards your walls and back down to your floor. This will recycle your heat and allow you to keep your thermostat at a lower temperature to save energy.
Insulation plays a big role in how effective your home is at retaining heat during the cold winter months. The thicker your insulation, the thicker the barrier is between the cold air outside and your warm air inside. When you can keep your warm air inside, you’ll spend less running your furnace to keep your home comfortable. Consider upgrading your insulation to a higher R-value and ensure that you apply weatherstripping to any doors and windows that are letting cold air seep in.
Another great strategy to use less energy on heating your home in the winter is to gain heat from direct sunlight. Any rooms in your home that get direct sunlight throughout the daytime should have open blinds and curtains. You want to let as much of the direct sunlight as possible into your home as it can adequately increase the temperature in your room up to 10 degrees. That’s 10 degrees that your heating system won’t have to create to keep you and your family comfortable while at home.
Swanton Energy Services offers helpful heating services for the entire Atlantic Highlands, NJ, area. We’re also available for all of your cooling, indoor air quality, energy audit, smart home solution, and backup generator needs. Contact our office today to get the professional help that you need with your home!