Does Closing Vents Actually Save Energy?

Closing vents is a commonly used strategy for reducing heating and cooling costs. Does it really work?


Saving energy means saving money. Most people make sure lights are off when they're not needed. Some take the extra step to close heating and cooling vents in unoccupied rooms. But, does closing vents actually save energy?

The theory goes that if you close vents in rooms that are rarely used, like a guest room, then you won't be wasting energy conditioning that room, similar to turning lights off. But, that's not quite how heating and cooling works.

Your HVAC system is going to do the same amount of work whether it's going through six vents, or eight, or 10. So, the exact same amount of energy is used. And, unless the room you're closing vents in is insulated and sealed from the rest of your home, that unconditioned air is getting mixed in, making your home less comfortable. On top of that, closing vents can create pressure that can strain your HVAC system, which could causing damage requiring repairs or even replacement.

Though the theory sounds good, the reality of closing vents in unoccupied rooms is likely to result in no energy savings, reduced comfort and HVAC system issues to boot. So, keep those vents open and enjoy your comfortable home.