Rising energy costs have led most people to look for different ways to improve the energy efficiency of their HVAC system and their home in general. One option that many people look to is keeping the doors closed to their bedroom and other rooms they’re not currently using. The thought behind this is that it will keep the heat or cool from escaping so that your AC or furnace doesn’t need to come on as much and will use less energy. Here’s a look at what effect closing your bedroom doors has on energy efficiency and also some of the other options you have for lowering your heating and cooling costs.
What Effect Does Closing Bedroom Doors Have on Energy Efficiency?
While many people believe that closing bedroom doors will improve the energy efficiency of their HVAC system, it actually has the opposite effect and can lead to a decrease in energy efficiency. For your HVAC system to work efficiently, your home needs good airflow and circulation. When you close the doors to some rooms, you block the airflow so that your HVAC system has to work harder to circulate air around your house.
Whenever a door is closed, the air pressure in that room also increases. This increased pressure will essentially force the air out through any cracks and gaps in your windows, walls and even the ceiling since the air has nowhere else to go. This creates a pressure imbalance, which results in air being drawn in from outside in other parts of the home, such as through windows, doors and chimneys. This outdoor air will cause your home to get hotter more quickly in the summer and cool down faster in the winter. As a result, your HVAC system will need to cycle and run more frequently and your energy bills will increase.
Closing the vents in unused rooms can also negatively impact the energy efficiency of your HVAC system leading to higher cooling and heating costs. Your HVAC system is designed to heat and cool a certain square footage. Closing the vents decreases this square footage, which will result in your HVAC system cycling on and off more frequently. Repeatedly turning on and off will lead to higher energy costs since the system uses much more energy to turn on than it does when running.
Closing some of the vents also results in the hot or cold air getting trapped inside the ductwork since it can’t flow out into the room. This causes the static pressure or resistance to airflow inside the duct system to increase. The more resistance there is in the ductwork, the more difficult it is for the blower to circulate air and the harder it will have to work. High static pressure will also cause the system to cool and heat more slowly leading to increased run times and higher energy usage.
Tips for Improving Energy Efficiency and Lowering Heating and Cooling Costs
While keeping bedroom doors shut or closing vents won’t improve energy efficiency, there are other options that will help in this regard and keep your heating and cooling costs in check. The best and most effective option is to schedule an HVAC maintenance service and tune-up, which is something you should have done every year.
If you have both central AC and heating, you’re always best to have your heating maintained every fall and your AC serviced each spring. Without proper maintenance, your HVAC system will start to experience numerous issues that can decrease its performance and reduce its energy efficiency. For instance, a dirty evaporator coil will lead to longer AC cycles since the system will cool more slowly. Dirty furnace burners will also result in less heat being produced so that your heating system takes longer to fully warm your home. There are also a huge number of other issues that can impact HVAC performance, most of which can be prevented or overcome with an annual maintenance and tune-up service.
Your furnace, AC or other HVAC unit also simply won’t last as long if it’s not well maintained and will usually need many more repairs. In addition to annual maintenance, here are some other easy ways to increase efficiency and reduce energy costs.
Seal Around All Windows and Doors
Windows and exterior doors are the biggest contributors to heat loss and heat gain. If your windows and doors aren’t properly sealed and airtight, lots of hot air can come in during the summer. Poorly sealed doors and windows can also allow lots of heat to escape in the winter or cause cold air to get drawn inside. Making sure all exterior doors and windows are fully sealed can greatly limit heat loss and heat gain so that your home is more energy efficient and your HVAC system doesn’t need to run as much. Replacing any old single-pane windows will also have a huge impact on improving your home’s energy efficiency.
Insulate Your Attic Floor
Many older homes have little to no insulation on the floor of the attic, which can be a major issue and lead to much higher heating and cooling costs. If the attic floor isn’t sufficiently insulated, lots of heat will escape in the winter since hot air always rises. A huge amount of heat also builds up in the attic during the summer. If the floor isn’t insulated, much of this heat will be able to penetrate down into the home making your house much hotter and forcing your AC to cycle on more frequently. Both of these issues make insulating your attic floor a great investment as it can make a huge difference in how much you have to pay to heat and cool your home.
Adjust the Temperature When You’re at Work and When Sleeping
Probably the easiest way to reduce your cooling and heating costs is to simply turn your thermostat up or down while you’re away at work and when you’re sleeping. Turning the thermostat up by 7-10 degrees in the summer or down in the winter for eight hours will typically lower your monthly cooling or heating costs by around 10%. If you do this both for the eight hours you’re asleep and the eight hours you’re working, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars each year.
Upgrade Your HVAC System With a Smart Thermostat
Another great option for improving energy efficiency is to upgrade your HVAC system with a Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostat. Smart thermostats can learn about your normal behavior and daily routines to program themselves so you never need to worry about adjusting the temperature. Most smart thermostats also allow you to monitor performance and energy usage. This enables you to easily make minor adjustments to your temperature and time settings to reduce energy usage. Monitoring energy usage also enables you to know if the system isn’t working efficiently so that you can then have it repaired or maintained. Most units will also send an alert to your phone if the system ever has major issues or any safety switches get triggered.
If you’re looking to improve HVAC performance and energy efficiency, BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair is here to help. We specialize in heating and air conditioning maintenance and repairs, and we can also help if you’re looking to upgrade your HVAC system with a smart thermostat or want to install a more energy-efficient unit. No matter what type of heating or cooling service you need, contact us today to see what makes us the top HVAC company in Las Vegas.