I Want Smart Goes Pink to Honor Breast Cancer Awareness

October is here! Which means I Want Smart is shifting its online presence into a pink-laden landscape in support of breast cancer awareness and research.

This month, I Want Smart is pushing its active community engagement even further by contributing $1 to Making Strides against Breast Cancer—a national walk to raise awareness and funds to end breast cancer—for every Facebook ‘share’. Donations will be made throughout the entire month of October up to a maximum contribution of $3,000.

Dedicated to helping our community, I Want Smart is active in supporting local sports teams in their games and successes. Area high school football teams are featured on our video site through a weekly SMART ‘Play of the Game’. Each week, the top SMART game play highlights local players’ achievements on a regional platform. We donate to a variety of local causes like sponsoring a Jr. League baseball team from the east side of Joliet during the Illinois State Tournament earlier this year.

Not only are we shedding the green/blue color scheme on our website and social pages to PINK, but we’re also offering the best HVAC rebates in town. Now is the time to schedule any necessary or preventive maintenance on your HVAC system.

Find the perfect HVAC contractor and save big with I Want Smart today!

$50 rebate on system clean and check

I Want Smart Rebrands Company, Unveils New Logo and Website

I Want SMART Rebrands!

Announcing a recent rebranding effort, I Want Smart reveals a revamped brand identity reflected through a new, bolder logo and streamlined website. The rebranding debuted late July 2015 and is part of a transition to broaden market reach and appeal to a younger, more tech-savvy demographic.

I Want Smart launched with a single purpose, to develop a user-friendly digital marketplace that connects homeowners with professional HVAC contractors and quality service. Today, the brand has grown to a large network of industry-leading HVAC contractors servicing all of northeastern Illinois.

Logo redesign was the first component of the company’s new brand identity. The new logo keeps I Want Smart’s blue and green color scheme, while introducing a more contemporary look for a sleek and modern update. Design modifications to the logo were subtle and focused on expressing the unique value proposition, while remaining consistent with the company ideals. The logo kept the existing tagline and outer circle, which both represent a total commitment to industry-best service and support of our customers.

The redesigned website ( incorporates the look and feel of the new I Want Smart brand and serves as a better functioning online resource for local homeowners and partnering HVAC contractors. Advancements to the website make it easier to navigate across all pages, and an update to the inquiry portal has provided easier access for homeowners, contractors and technicians to contact the company.

This rebranding effort represents the company’s evolution into a dynamic full-scale HVAC solution, with an expectation to further expand the existing network of contractors. I Want Smart looks forward to taking business to the next level in future years, while maintaining a history of quality, valuable and trustworthy service.

Learn more about the I Want Smart brand by navigating our newly launched website, and follow the Company blog for future updates, news alerts, and key tips on HVAC maintenance.

Heating your home during these bitterly cold days is crucial

When trouble hits and it will, you’ll hear unwelcome phrases like; Cracked Heat Exchanger, bad board, dangerous fumes, possible fire, your furnace needs to be replaced and all you can think is – What will this cost me and can I trust you…

Finally, the best trained professionals in the industry who bring you Value, Quality and Trust can all be found in one spot, I Want

The industry experts at I Want Smart dot com not only provide you with fast, accurate heating repairs, they are known for their integrity and building relationships that last a lifetime.

Find a SMART Contractor this season (Click HERE)

Listen to our newest Radio spot below.

Thermostat – Save money on your Heating Bill

You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by simply resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from home. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.

General Thermostat Operation

You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.

In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lowering the thermostat setting to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling. Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home.

A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly. The lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer — a higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning. Check out our home heating infographic to learn more about how heating systems and thermostats interact.

Limitations for Homes With Heat Pumps, Electric Resistance Heating, Steam Heat, and Radiant Floor Heating

Programmable thermostats are generally not recommended for heat pumps. In its cooling mode, a heat pump operates like an air conditioner, so turning up the thermostat (either manually or with a programmable thermostat) will save energy and money. But when a heat pump is in its heating mode, setting back its thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently, thereby canceling out any savings achieved by lowering the temperature setting. Maintaining a moderate setting is the most cost-effective practice. Recently, however, some companies have begun selling specially designed programmable thermostats for heat pumps, which make setting back the thermostat cost-effective. These thermostats typically use special algorithms to minimize the use of backup electric resistance heat systems.

Electric resistance systems, such as electric baseboard heating, require thermostats capable of directly controlling 120-volt or 240-volt circuits. Only a few companies manufacture line-voltage programmable thermostats.

The slow response time — up to several hours — of steam heating and radiant floor heating systems leads some people to suggest that setback is inappropriate for these systems. However, some manufacturers now offer thermostats that track the performance of your heating system to determine when to turn it on in order to achieve comfortable temperatures at your programmed time.

Alternately, a normal programmable thermostat can be set to begin its cool down well before you leave or go to bed and return to its regular temperature two or three hours before you wake up or return home. This may require some guesswork at first, but with a little trial and error you can still save energy while maintaining a comfortable home.

Choosing and Programming a Programmable Thermostat

Most programmable thermostats are either digital, electromechanical, or some mixture of the two. Digital thermostats offer the most features in terms of multiple setback settings, overrides, and adjustments for daylight savings time, but may be difficult for some people to program. Electromechanical systems often involve pegs or sliding bars and are relatively simple to program.

When programming your thermostat, consider when you normally go to sleep and wake up. If you prefer to sleep at a cooler temperature during the winter, you might want to start the temperature setback a bit ahead of the time you actually go to bed. Also consider the schedules of everyone in the household. If there is a time during the day when the house is unoccupied for four hours or more, it makes sense to adjust the temperature during those periods.

Other Considerations

The location of your thermostat can affect its performance and efficiency. Read the manufacturer’s installation instructions to prevent “ghost readings” or unnecessary furnace or air conditioner cycling. To operate properly, a thermostat must be on an interior wall away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights, and windows. It should be located where natural room air currents–warm air rising, cool air sinking–occur. Furniture will block natural air movement, so do not place pieces in front of or below your thermostat. Also make sure your thermostat is conveniently located for programming.

Find a Smart Contractor Now

Source: December 15, 2014  Article from U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENErgy’S WEBSITE

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips for Chimney and Furnace Season

Winter is here. And while you’ve probably fired up the furnace plenty, and stocked up on firewood, have you studied up on carbon monoxide safety?

A common output of malfunctioning or improperly used appliances, carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that’s nicknamed the “silent killer” because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it. Furnaces, stoves, ovens, water heaters and blocked chimney vents can all be potential sources of carbon monoxide, or CO.

So how do you protect yourself? Here are some important safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration that can help keep you safe from carbon monoxide poisoning this winter.

Furnace and Chimney Safety Precautions

  • Have fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys  inspected annually by a licensed professional. This includes your furnace, water heater, wood stove and any portable heaters.
  • Make sure the damper is opened and clear of debris before using a fireplace.
  • Never use your oven or stove to heat your home.
  • When purchasing new appliances, look for products that have been tested and are labeled by a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside and is kept clear and unblocked.
  • Damaged or discolored bricks at the top of your chimney, moisture around the windows and walls near a furnace, and excessive rust on vent pipes or the outside of appliances can all be signs of a potential CO problem. Call in a professional if you spot these signs.

CO Alarm Testing and Replacement

  • Run a test on your CO alarms at least once a month, and      replace them if they aren’t responding correctly. Sensors in carbon      monoxide alarms have a limited life.
  • A CO alarm isn’t a substitute for a smoke alarm, and      vice-versa. You should familiarize yourself with the different sounds each      alarm makes.
  • If the carbon monoxide detector is beeping, go outside and immediately call 911 or the fire      department.

Proper ventilation, a solid cleaning, and a working early-CO-detection alarm are your biggest allies when it comes to preventing a carbon monoxide buildup this winter.

Source: By Frank Rivera, ADT, January 31, 2013

Signs & Symptoms of a Damaged Furnace Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger is an important part of a gas furnace by Joshua McCarron

The heat exchanger on a furnace is the section that keeps the combustion chamber and the breathing air separate. A heat exchanger is made of thin metal, and as it heats up from the combustion of the furnace, it transfers the heat to the air being distributed through the house by the blower. When a heat exchanger becomes damaged and the combustion fumes and gases mix with the clean air, serious consequences can result. Inspecting your heat exchanger regularly for damage is important to keep everything running safely and smoothly.

Visual Metal Cracks

The easiest way to tell if a heat exchanger is damaged is to inspect it and actually see cracks that have formed in the metal. Many companies use infrared light to detect cracks, but a flashlight is sufficient for more noticeable cracks. If you don’t notice damage from a visual inspection, it doesn’t mean there is no damage. Regular inspection by a professional is a wise idea.

Buildup and Discoloration

Often when cracks are present in a heat exchanger, soot from the combustion process will seep through and discolor the metal. The result will be a buildup of soot around the crack site and/or spots that are a darker color than the rest of the metal.

Carbon Monoxide Detection

Although you should certainly not wait until your carbon monoxide detector sounds to determine if your heat exchanger is broken, if you do get an alarm, it is a strong sign that damage is present. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of the combustion process, and it can seep through the cracks of a damaged heat exchanger. Contact your local fire department right away if your carbon monoxide detector goes off.

Difference in Furnace Flame

Sometimes, if the heat exchanger is damaged and the fresh, breathing air mixes with the combustion air, the flame in your furnace can change. If you suspect damage, have someone turn the thermostat up to initiate the furnace, then sit and observe the flame. A damaged heat exchanger may produce a flame that jumps and dances after the blower fan has been on.


Credits: Joshua McCarron
Joshua McCarron has been writing both online and offline since 1995. He has been employed as a copywriter since 2005 and in that position has written numerous blogs, online articles, websites, sales letters and news releases. McCarron graduated from York University in Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in English.

Winter will soon be upon us and last year was one of the coldest in Chicago history

Winter will soon be upon us and last year was one of the coldest in Chicago history. It looks like this winter will be another long, frigid season. Something we all fear…and it’s likely to happen at some point… you wake up in the middle of the night and the chill in the air tells you your heating system may have caught a cold…. Listen to our newest radio spot below.

$50 rebate extended through October

You, yes you, are the reason America is such a great country and I Want wants to say thank you. Now, extended through October, we want to say thanks by offering a $50 rebate when you have your heating and cooling system cleaned and checked for performance and safety. Listen to our newest radio commercial below.





Furnaces and Boilers

Natural gas furnaces, space heaters and boilers all have gas valves and controls that are especially vulnerable to water damage from floods. Corrosion begins inside the valves and controls, and damage may not be readily visible, even if the outside of the device is clean and dry. At a minimum, this damage can result in reliability problems. More severe consequences could be fire or explosion. If there is any question whether flood water has reached a gas appliance, have the unit checked by a professional. In all cases where you have decided to try to salvage the unit, you will need to replace gas valves, pilot and burner orifices, controls, and the filter. This work should only be done by a qualified professional.

There are differing opinions regarding replacement versus repair of flood-damaged heating systems; however, most experts recommend replacement. Even if a furnace has been cleaned of debris and mud, and disinfected (often at great cost), and seems to be working properly, parts may later corrode or malfunction and you may also lose your warranty coverage. The older a heating system is, the more likely it is to be inefficient, so you may be better off replacing yours even if it hasn’t sustained much damage.

Replacing a heating system is a complex matter, difficult under any circumstances. Yet, as a result of flood damage, you may have no choice but to replace your furnace. You can turn misfortune into opportunity by considering a new, energy-efficient model that will lower your future heating bills. Depending on the type of fuel you use – oil, electricity, propane, wood or natural gas – this may be also a good time to consider switching fuels. Also ask your local utility about available rebates for new energy-efficient gas or propane furnaces.

If you have a central forced-air furnace in the house you are repairing, devote some attention to your ductwork too. Do not try to salvage duct insulation that has been in contact with flood water. It is impossible to decontaminate. Next, clean, dry and disinfect the ductwork. Doing a thorough job will require disassembling the ductwork. Since many ducts are leaky, uninsulated, and lose a tremendous amount of heat, this is also your opportunity to eliminate wasteful heat loss. The best approach is to carefully seal all joints in the ductwork, and insulate all ducts located in unconditioned spaces such as attics and crawl spaces.

Special Considerations for Propane Systems

Propane-fired heating equipment should be dealt with the same way as indicated for natural gas-fired equipment. In every case, you should replace all valves and controls that have been in contact with flood water. Propane systems also require attention to their gas pressure regulator. This regulator contains a small vent hole in its body to sense outside pressure. For effective gas regulation, this hole must always remain unobstructed. During a flood, debris can easily plug the hole, causing dangerous malfunction and corrosion.

CAUTION: You must replace all pressure regulators used in propane systems affected by flood water.

Unlike natural gas, propane is heavier than air. Consequently, propane can settle to the floor or to the basement of a home, and being invisible, would produce a hazardous situation that could easily go unnoticed. Basements and other low places are locations where propane would tend to collect. This makes working around areas where propane has leaked quite dangerous. Use extreme caution where there is the potential for propane leaks and get propane equipment checked, repaired and/or replaced by a qualified professional as quickly as possible.

Unlike natural gas, propane is heavier than air. Consequently, propane can settle to the floor or to the basement of a home, and being invisible, would produce a hazardous situation that could easily go unnoticed. Basements and other low places are locations where propane would tend to collect. This makes working around areas where propane has leaked quite dangerous. Use extreme caution where there is the potential for propane leaks and get propane equipment checked, repaired and/or replaced by a qualified professional as quickly as possible.

Electric Heat

Electric resistance space heating for homes exists in a variety of configurations, but the most common type is the wall- or baseboard-mounted units. Although they can be costly to operate depending on the price of electricity in your area, these systems have flexibility in providing heat to individual rooms in a house and can even be operated from individual thermostats in each room or zone of a house.

The baseboard-mount types have no moving parts and unless they are damaged by an electrical short, they will withstand flood conditions.

Before returning these systems to operation, disconnect electrical power to each unit by switching off the main breaker. All connections at the heater and control thermostat should be allowed to dry carefully and thoroughly. Before restoring electrical power, a qualified electrician should check for shorts on all heating circuits. You can then restore electrical power and use the heaters to help dry out the interior of the house.

Sometimes in emergencies, stand-alone, plug-in heaters are used by homeowners as a source of temporary supplemental heat. These heaters, however, usually maintain a small fan, and its motor will likely need special attention after being submerged.

A second type of electric space heat is the central electric furnace. This furnace consists of electrically heated coils, a fan to provide air circulation across the coils, and controls which include safety relays. Just like the gas forced-air furnace, the electric forced-air system is susceptible to corrosion and damage, resulting in reliability problems or safety hazards. If there is any question whether flood water has reached an electric furnace, have the unit checked by a professional. In all cases where you have decided to try to salvage the unit, a qualified professional will need to replace all controls, safety interlocks, and probably motors.

Electric forced-air heating systems have essentially the same ductwork as gas-forced air systems, so the same actions are in order. Discard any wet duct insulation. Disassemble, clean, disinfect, and dry the ductwork. Take extra care in reassembling the ductwork to avoid leaks. Carefully insulate all ducts in unconditioned spaces.

Radiant Ceiling Heat

In this type of heating system, electrically-heated cables are embedded in the plaster or drywall ceiling. The cables warm the ceiling, which in turn warms the room by radiant heat.

If the ceiling becomes wet from a flood, the plasterboard will weaken, and perhaps crack and the ceiling will need replacement. Although the electrical cables themselves may appear to be undamaged due to their tough, waterproof coating, there may have been large mechanical stresses on the cable, and a qualified electrician should be consulted to determine whether the cable is reusable.

Heat Pumps And Air Conditioning Systems

Heat pumps extract heat from the outside air and transport this heat into the house with the aid of a refrigerant. Reversing this process allows the same heat pump system to provide air conditioning for the home, eliminating the need for a separate cooling system. Some heat pumps (the unitary type) are simple wall-or window-mount, and some (split systems) are more elaborate, with part of the components indoors and part outdoors.

Of the various types of split-system heat pumps that are in use, two things they have in common are the power and control wiring between the indoor and outdoor parts of the system, and the piping that moves the refrigerant from inside to outside the home and back. The refrigeration circuit of virtually all residential heat pump (and air conditioning) systems is sealed at the factory. In a split system it is sealed by the contractor during installation.

Even if the system is in contact with flood water for a long period, this sealed system is likely to remain intact. However, if flood water has repositioned either the indoor or outdoor units of a split system by only a small amount, there is the potential for a breached refrigerant system. The heat pump (or air conditioning system) will then require major repair or full replacement.

If the refrigerant system remains intact after the flood, the entire system should be cleaned, dried, and disinfected. You should have a qualified electric or refrigeration mechanic check all electrical and refrigeration connections for both indoor and outdoor units, including all control circuits. The decision to repair or replace should be made by a qualified professional on a case-by-case basis.

As with the other types of heating systems, the heat pump system will also have a system of distribution ducts. The same procedures of disassembling, cleaning, disinfecting, and drying are in order. Remember to carefully reassemble the ductwork without leaks, and to insulate those portions of the ducts that go through unconditioned spaces.

If you need to replace your existing heat pump, or if you are considering switching to a heat pump because your existing heating system is beyond repair, consider the most energy-efficient model available. If electricity is the only energy source available, a heat pump system can be more cost-effective than electric resistance heating with a separate air-conditioning system.

To compare the energy efficiency of residential heat pumps, consult the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) for cooling and the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) for heating. Efficiency ratings for heat pumps are listed in the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, Third Edition. More extensive ratings of heat pumps can be found in an annual directory published by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI). You may be able to obtain this directory in a library or from a contractor.

Space Cooling Systems

Whether your home has been cooled with a central air conditioning system, a heat pump, or room air conditioners, you can replace flood-damaged units with energy-efficient models that can cut energy use by more than 20 percent. A professional can help you select a unit based on the size and tightness of your home. Your local utility may offer rebates on the purchase of energy-efficient air conditioners, too.

Consumers can compare the efficiency of central air conditioners and heat pumps (in the cooling cycle) using the SEER. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit. Room air conditioners are rated by a counterpart system called the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy recommends central air conditioners with a SEER of at least 12, and room conditioners with an EER of at least 9. No matter what type of system you choose, make sure that it is sized properly by a qualified air-conditioning technician. If your cooling needs are modest, then room air conditioners are probably your best choice.

Water Heating Systems

Whether your water heater is gas or electric, if it was exposed to flood water, the unit should be replaced. A new water heater is a relatively small investment, and replacing it is fairly easy to do.

In a gas unit, valves and controls will likely corrode. In an electric unit, the thermostat and controls will likely corrode. In both types, the insulation surrounding the unit will be contaminated and will be nearly impossible to disinfect. Additionally, the insulation would take a long time to dry, leading to corrosion of the tank from the outside.

Even if water heater components have been cleaned and the unit seems to operate properly, parts may corrode in the future. Both gas and electric water heaters have a pressure relief valve that can corrode and stick after being exposed to flood water. Be sure, therefore, to replace this valve as well.

Next to space heating, water heating uses the most energy in the home. As with furnaces, new energy-efficient models are available. Insulation levels in new gas and electric water heaters are higher today than in the past. Some utilities offer rebates on their purchase. You may even be able to get a package deal from your heating supplier on a furnace and a water heater. And, as with furnaces, you may want to look at the operating costs of electric versus gas water heaters. Depending on your electric rates and availability of gas, a gas water heater can be cheaper to operate.

Remember, too, that many different measures are available to reduce hot water consumption and thereby decrease water heating costs. For example, low-flow shower heads use 1 to 4 gallons per minute (gpm), compared to standard-flow shower heads, which generally use 5 to 10 gpm. A shower head flow restrictor can save as much as 6 gpm. Similarly, insulating hot water pipes in your home can reduce the amount of energy (and water) lost while waiting for water to become hot at the tap.

This fact sheet and related environmental information are available electronically via internet. Access the DEP-DCNR Web Site at (choose information by Environmental Subject/choose Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance).

Adapted from a US Department of Energy Publication, “Rebuilding Your Flooded Home: Guidelines for Incorporating Energy Efficiency”

Can You Save Money by Closing HVAC Vents in Unused Rooms?

Your air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace probably uses a lot of energy. Heating and cooling makes up about half of the total energy use in a typical house. For air conditioners and heat pumps using electricity generated in fossil-fuel fired power plants, the amount you use at home may be only a third of the total. A question I get asked frequently is whether or not it’s OK to close vents in unused rooms to save money. The answer may surprise you.

On the return side, you’ll typically see plain grilles, but on the supply side, where the conditioned air gets blown back into the house, most HVAC contractors install registers like the one above. It has a lever of some sort that allows you to adjust the louvers behind the grille.

You’d think that since it’s adjustable, it must be OK to open or close it to suit your needs, right?

The blower and the blown

The blower in your HVAC system is the heart of the air distribution. It pulls air from the house through the return ducts and then pushes it back into the house through the supply ducts. In high-efficiency systems, the blower is powered by an electronically commutated motor (ECM), which can adjust its speed to varying conditions. The majority of blowers, however, are of the permanent split capacitor (PSC) type, which is not a variable speed motor.

In either case, the system is designed for the blower to push against some maximum pressure difference. That number is typically 0.5 inches of water column (iwc). If the filter gets too dirty or the supply ducts are too restrictive, the blower pushes against a higher pressure.

In the case of the ECM, a high pressure will cause the motor will ramp up in an attempt to maintain proper air flow. An ECM is much more efficient than a PSC motor under ideal conditions, but as it ramps up to work against higher pressure, you lose that efficiency. You still get the air flow (maybe), but it costs you more.

The PSC motor, on the other hand, will keep spinning merrily along at the same speed. The higher pressure means less air flow. Less air flow means the blower works less hard. Less work means less instantaneous energy use, but since it’ll probably run longer, any savings there are unlikely to materialize.

The important thing to remember here is that no matter which type of blower motor your HVAC system has, it’s not a good thing when it has to push against a higher pressure.

Closed vents increase pressure

In a well-designed system, the blower moves the air against a pressure that’s no greater than the maximum specified by the manufacturer (typically 0.5 iwc). The ideal system also has low duct leakage. So now we’re ready to address the question of closing vents.

When you start closing vents in unused rooms, you make the duct system more restrictive. The pressure increases, and that means an ECM blower will ramp up to keep air flow up whereas a PSC blower will move less air. Most homes don’t have sealed ducts either, so the higher pressure in the duct system will mean more duct leakage, as shown below.

The more vents you close, the higher the pressure in the duct system goes. The ECM blower will use more and more energy as you do so. The PSC blower will work less but not move as much conditioned air. In both cases, the duct leakage will increase further.

What about heat?

In addition to moving air, your air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace is also cooling or heating that air that flows through the system. The air passes over a coil or heat exchanger and either gives up heat or picks up heat.

In a fixed-capacity system—and most are—the amount of heat the coil or heat exchanger is capable of absorbing or giving up is fixed. When the air flow goes down, less heat exchange happens with the air. As a result, the temperature of the coil or heat exchanger changes.

If air flow is low, it’ll dump less heat into the coil in summer, and the coil will get colder. If there’s water vapor in the air, the condensation on the coil may start freezing. You might even end up with a block of ice, as shown in the photo below. And ice on the coil is really bad for air flow.

It’s also bad for the compressor as not all of the refrigerant evaporates and liquid refrigerant makes its way back to the compressor. If you want to have to buy a new compressor, this is a good way to do it.

Same thing if you have low air flow over a heat pump coil in winter. You could get a really hot coil, high refrigerant pressure, and a blown compressor or refrigerant leaks.

Similarly, low air flow in a furnace can get the heat exchanger hot enough to cause cracks. Those cracks, then, allow exhaust gases to mix with your conditioned air. When that happens, your duct system can become a poison distribution system as it could be sending carbon monoxide into your home.

7 unintended consequences of closing vents

Let me now summarize the problems I’ve described above that can result from closing vents in your home. The first thing that happens is the air pressure in the duct system increases, which may give rise to these negative consequences:

  • Increased duct leakage
  • Lower air flow with PSC blowers
  • Increased energy use with ECM blowers
  • Comfort problems because of low air flow
  • Frozen air conditioner coil
  • Dead compressor
  • Cracked heat exchanger, with the potential for getting carbon monoxide in your      home

You’re not guaranteed to get all the problems that apply to your system, but why take the chance.

 by Allison Bailes on Fri, Jul 25, 2014