07 Nov. 17

4 Common Furnace Mistakes: Registers

In the past, many homeowners would close off vents in various rooms of the home in order to direct all of the heat to one area and to save money. Nowadays, many people are still doing this, but does this practice still save money? If you use a forced air furnace in your home, you may be making some very serious mistakes when it comes to the supply and return registers that your furnace uses.

  1. Only Closing off the Supply Register– A supply register is the exactly what the name suggests. It supplies heat to the rooms in your home. The return register is the vent that pulls air in and sends it back to the furnace. When closing off registers in the home, a common mistake made is when the homeowner only closes the supply register to the room and leaves the return register uncovered. In today’s modern well-insulated homes, this causes that room to have negative pressure. What will happen is the furnace will suck cold air into the return vent from any cracks that make exist. Most commonly these are found around windows, wall joints, and outlets. All of the added cold air in the system causes the furnace to run for longer periods of time. So instead of saving energy, you waste energy and money.
  2. Closing Registers without Sealing Duct work: Gaps and leaks in duct work systems cause energy waste even in a home with all of the registers open, but when you close a register, the problem becomes much worse. When you close off a vent to a certain room or floor in the home, there is added pressure inside the duct work. The air that flows through the duct work is now moving with more force than it was with the vents open. When this fast moving air encounters a leak, it escapes in large quantities causing heat loss and decreased air flow to the rooms in the home.
  3. Closing more than 60% of Registers: Your furnace was installed to heat the entire home. When you close more than 60% of the registers, the furnace won’t be able to get enough air for proper combustion and it won’t have enough space to distribute all of the heat that it is creating. When this happens, the furnace will overheat or operate on the high limit switch. In no time at all you could cause damage to the furnace that will cost hundreds to repair and drastically shorten the lifespan of the unit.
  4. Furniture Blocking Registers: Do you have an airflow problem in your home? Before you start closing registers in an attempt to force more air into the rooms that need increase airflow, check the furniture placement. Many homeowners don’t realize that their airflow problems are caused by a couch, a chair, or even a curtain that is blocking the register from distributing air properly. Adjust the furniture in the home so that the registers have more than enough room to circulate air in the room.

There are several factors that need to be taken into account before you ever close off a room. If you don’t consult a professional first, you could end up wasting more money on your energy bills and cause major damage to the heating unit.  If you are looking to save money, the technician may be able to find you a few places around the home where you can make changes without putting the furnace or your wallet in jeopardy.