Can Closing Off Unused Rooms Lower My MA Electricity Bill?

New Englanders are gradually using more AC in the summer. Find out why this vent myth can actually add to your MA electricity bill.

Can Closing Vents Save You Money?

Cutting your electricity bill this summer means being smart about your AC. Learn what myths can actually cost you more.
Know why closing up vents in unused rooms may actually add to your electricity bill? Learn how to save more on your AC this summer.

MA electricity customers are in for a hot summer. And that means high electric bills when you fire up your AC system. Naturally, many electricity customers are looking for ways to save, including relying on old myths. So let’s talk about one myth and whether closing off unused rooms can lower your MA electricity bill.

Close Vents to Save AC Myth

EIA estimates that in 2022 space cooling made up 6% of US residential electricity use. And that may rise this year, with MA’s hotter-than-normal summer forecast. So lots of energy may be used to stay cool, which only raises energy bills.

But there’s an old myth suggesting that closing vents and doors in unused rooms could help lower costs. After all, central HVAC works by sending cool air through all the rooms of your home. So if you close off vents, wouldn’t that make your HVAC system run less? While that seems to make sense, it isn’t the best way to save energy or money.

How Closing Vents Could Hike Electricity Bill

Rooms with closed vents will heat up, making your home heat load worse. So, your central AC unit system will have to run longer to reach the temperatures you want. After all, your AC unit doesn’t know that you don’t need certain rooms cooled. It only knows that it hasn’t reached the temperature where you set your thermostat.

Second, the HVAC system can’t choose to pump less air through your ducts. So excess air will end up pushed through to rooms with open vents. The added air pressure can put more strain on your ducts and cause leaks. And leaks in your duct work lead to energy loss. Worse than this, your ducts will need repairs sooner than normal. And remember, ductwork repair and replacement is expensive.

Finally, HVAC systems need careful pressure balance to work properly. That’s because HVAC systems use both supply (blow) and return (suck) ducts. As cool air enters a room through a supply duct, air is pulled into the system through the return duct. Ideally, the volumes will be about the same. But closing vents affects how the system circulates air and unbalances the system. This makes some rooms get too cold while others won’t get cool enough.

Best Way to Cut Your Electricity Bill

The best way to cut your AC bills in summer is make sure your whole HVAC system is running efficiently.

First, air leaks reduce cooling efficiency by as much as 20% in most homes. This means that if you install proper duct sealing you will not only improve air quality and enhance comfort, you will also cut back on energy waste. Second, make sure your home has proper home insulation, especially in your attic. Proper insulation reduces energy waste and keeps your home cooler in summer and warmer during winter. Thirdly, turn your thermostat back 7-8 degrees for 8 hours a day. This can save you up to 10% on your annual energy costs.

Lastly, electricity rates usually rise during the summer months. So you can shop now for the best electricity rates and deals. And make sure you check out where you can read real customer reviews, compare rates and plans, and find other ways to save money.

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