American Air, Plumbing & Electric in Central Florida can answer all your HVAC-related questions. For instance, many people in Oviedo, FL believe they can close an air vent to improve the air conditioning or heating to the rest of their house. However, doing this can actually cause major problems in the long run. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at this so-called solution, so you can learn what it really does!

What Does Shutting an Air Vent Do?

We know that the intention of shutting one or more air vents is to help your heating and cooling system. It doesn’t quite work that way, though. You see, your air conditioner is designed for optimal usage when you leave every air vent open. Closing one or more of them instead will not save you any money. It may actually end up harming your air conditioner, instead.

According to a common but erroneous belief, closing one or more air vents should make your air conditioner provide cooler air to the rest of the vents. It’s also believed that closing an air vent will save you money. You can probably remember hearing one of your parents talk about this. In fact, many of them would shut down an entire room if it wasn’t being used.

The truth, though, is the only thing that closing an air vent will do is make your HVAC system work even harder. That’s because it’s designed to put out the same amount of air, regardless of how many vents are open. It does not have the ability to increase its output to one room while ignoring another. Instead, what it does is cause your system to build-up more pressure inside your air ducts. Over time, this can cause leaks, which will waste energy and increase your energy bill.

Unfortunately, your problems won’t stop with leaky air vents. Other things that can go wrong include frozen evaporator coils, an overheated air handler or a burned-out compressor. Getting these things repaired will cost you several hundred or even thousands of dollars. This is not really worth the imaginary savings of closing an air vent.

But What if a Room Gets Too Cold?

There are three common reasons that a homeowner will decide to close at least one air vent. They either believe one room is too cold or hot, they don’t use one room often or they’ve bought into the myth that closing vents will help them save energy. Again, none of these are a legitimate reason to close your vents. Even if you’ve done so for years already, you’re only courting disaster each time you do so.

Is Closing a Vent Dangerous?

Most of the time, people focus on money when they’re talking about air vents. There are other potential dangers, though, and some of them are life-threatening. We’ve already explained how pressure will build up in your system, but did you know this can cause damage to your heat exchanger? This is even worse than it sounds because the end result may be a carbon monoxide leak.

It’s important to note that carbon monoxide leaks cause approximately 400 U.S. deaths each year. After all, carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer due to it being invisible and odorless. If you’re concerned that carbon monoxide may be leaking into your home, you’ll want to check yourself and your family for any of the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Breathlessness from moderate exercise
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Impaired coordination
  • Impaired judgment
  • Loss of consciousness

How will you know if your symptoms are being caused by carbon monoxide instead of something else? The easiest way to know is to leave home for several hours. If this makes you feel better, you could have a very serious problem on your hands.

Other health issues that can arise from shutting one or more of your air vents include mold growth and elevated radon levels. Exposure to radon is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. Mold growth, meanwhile, is known to cause chest tightness, coughing, congestion, sneezing, wheezing, headaches, eye irritation, an irritated throat and shortness of breath.

What Can I Do Instead?

It’s understandable to try to save money, but you need to go about it the right way. Use the following tips to safely bring your energy bill down. None of them will put you in the unenviable position of needing major repairs.

Turn It Up

Turn your AC up overnight. For example, you could change the setting from 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Choose 78 Degrees

Keep your AC set to 78 or higher during the day. This is one of the top ways to reduce your energy bills.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Per the EPA, doing this one simple thing, and actually using it, will you save up to 30%!

Regular Maintenance Works

Keep your system working efficiently by getting regular HVAC maintenance.

Fans Help

Use a fan or window AC unit to cool off a specific room. After all, fans only use about 1% of the energy an air conditioner does.

Always Use Your Ceiling Fans

Most people forget they can reverse their ceiling fans during the winter. Make sure they’re set counterclockwise for cool air or clockwise for warm air.

Interior Doors Open

Keep your interior doors open at all times. This will allow the air to flow freely through your home.

Keep Your Vents Open

Never close any air vents all the way. Doing so will only harm your HVAC system. If you absolutely must mess with your air vents, do not close them more than 75% of the way. Leaving them all open at least 25% will prevent pressure build-up, which can keep you and your family safer.

What if I’ve Already Damaged My HVAC Unit?

Unfortunately, the advice given in this article will come too late for some of you. This can be even worse in Central Florida during the summer. Can you imagine having your AC break when Oviedo’s average high temperature in July is a staggering 92 degrees?

The good news is that American Air, Plumbing & Electric can help! Our HVAC experts are NATE-certified. We also have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, along with winning the Lennox Centurion Award several times and the Super Service Award from Angi. We’ve been helping people just like you since 1987, and our leading guideline is the Golden Rule. That’s right; we’ll treat you and your family exactly as we’d like to be treated!

Allow Us to Repair Your HVAC Issues

Reach out to us to schedule your AC repair today! Other services we offer include AC installation, heating repair and installation, heat pumps, ductwork, duct cleaning, indoor air quality, thermostats and more. Therefore, no matter what your heating and cooling concerns are, we can help. Our HVAC experts will ensure there are no more problems with your HVAC system before they leave your home. It doesn’t matter what type of HVAC system you have, either, as our team is well-equipped to work on all of them.

Remember: When something goes wrong with your Oviedo-area AC or HVAC unit, your first call should be to American Air, Plumbing & Electric!

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