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tibbrix

blocking heat and returns vents

tibbrix
7 years ago

I want to block the floor heat vents and returns in order to lower heating costs and not waste heat in rooms that I either don't use or want cool. Can anyone recommend a very efficient product or material for doing this? Thanks!

Comments (14)

  • klem1
    7 years ago

    "efficient product or material for doing this?"

    Throw rugs but I don't reccomend doing what you are planning without first having a pro look at it.

    In simple terms,depending on wherther you have heat pump,strip heat,natural gas fan forced,boiler or other type heat,you can easily cause system malfunction or damage expensive components. If you insist on going ahead,at least describe your system to anyone asked to help you with the experiment.

  • tibbrix
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    thanks klem. I did read about the heat pump issue, and I do have an email out to the hvac guy who installed the system for me. Oh, I like zoned heating and AC! Why heat and cool rooms that don't get used? Aargh.

  • mike_home
    7 years ago

    You should never block any returns. Blocking a return does not reduce energy costs.

    You could replace registers you want to close with the type that can be opened that can be opened and closed manually. For every vent you close you will be increasing the static pressure. This causes extra strain on the blower and potentially increases the temperature of the furnace. For this reason keep the closed vents down to a minimum.

  • tibbrix
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Hmmmâ¦I read that, if you block the heating vents to also block the returns since they'll be pulling cold air from that room into the system.

    But, I think you guys are right. I tried the system with the vents in all but the living room closed, and it was very loud, like wheezing, which didn't sound good to me and indicated that the furnace was doing exactly what you're all warning me about. Maybe I'll even open the vents in the bedroom. Ugh. I don't want to. I've always had them closed, never a problem, but I put a new furnace in this year and have to get to know it.

  • Lucille
    7 years ago

    I have vents that are designed to be opened and closed. I have heard that one should not close too many.
    I close the two vents that go to the attic bedroom, so far no problems, and since that is a very large room it saves a considerable amount of energy costs.
    I only have one return for the house (it is a small house) and it is never blocked.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    7 years ago

    since heat rises... i dont know why you would need to heat an attic bedroom ... especially if no one is in it ...

    ken

  • tibbrix
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    ken, was that meant for me or for lucille? She has an unused attic BR. My BR is the one I'm referring to, and I can only sleep in a very cold room, even with the windows open unless it gets below 20 degrees outside. But then, the windows are closed but the heat vents are still closed.

    Btw, the heat vents in my floors are the kind that have the flap so that they can be in a closed or open position. As I said, I've had my bedroom vents closed since I bought the house 3 years ago (fortunately, no water pipes in there! It's my dream bedroom! It can be cold w/o putting pipes at risk!).

    I've never blocked the return and only recently read that, if you close the vents in a room, the return should be blocked as well.

    At any rate, thank you for your help. It is clear to me that I should not close the vents in the dining room and kitchen (4). The system sounded very strained, loud, horrible when I tried it. I'll ask my hvac guy if it's okay, though, to leave the BR vents closed. I turn the heat off at night anyway, so if I have to open the vents to keep from busting my new furnace, that is what I'll do!

  • mike_home
    7 years ago

    You are closing too many vents. Closing down the vent to a spare bedroom is fine but more than that is going to cause problems. In most house the thermostat is located in the dining room. Closing the vent in the room that has the thermostat will defeat the purpose of closing the vent. It will take longer to heat the room and you will end up running the furnace for a longer period of time.

    Closing vents that not save as much energy as you think. Depending how your duct work is set up the savings will be modest.

    You seem to like your bedroom cold at night. Do you have a programmable thermostat and do you set back the temperature at night?

  • tibbrix
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    no, no. I had the thermostat MOVED to the living room when I had the new furnace installed because that is the warmest room because it has the attic over it which was insulated last spring as well. It's also the room I "live" in.

    Vents in the dining room and kitchen are open as well. As I said, I closed them and tried it out and the system really didn't sound healthy at all, so I've re-opened them.

    Bedroom isn't so much about saving money on heat, although that's part of it, as it is about wanting a cold bedroom.

    I turn the heat OFF at night unless there is a temp drop that puts water pipes at risk of freezing.

    With the bedroom vents closed, the system sounds the same as it does with them open (they obviously are open in the summer for the AC), but I have an email out to my hvac guy asking him if it's safe to keep them closed. So I'll have this all straightened out on Monday.

  • tibbrix
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Just heard from my HVAC guy. He says it's fine to leave the vents (two) in the bedroom closed but to leave all returns open and to close no more than two vents. So it looks like I'm all set and can still have my cold bedroom.

    Thank you all again for your replies.

  • mike_home
    7 years ago

    You should invest in a programmable thermostat so you don't have to turn off the heat at night.

  • tibbrix
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Mike, I WANT to turn the heat off at night! Lol.

  • lazy_gardens
    7 years ago

    Tibbrix ... "I want to block the floor heat vents and returns in order to lower heating costs and not waste heat in rooms that I either don't use or want cool."

    What kind of heating system? General rule of thumb is that you shouldn't have more than 30% of the vents shut down.

    Have you insulated? Caulked around the windows and all other openings? Weatherstripped doors? Added storm windows?

    We keep comfy with the heat set to 62F by :
    1 - Wearing more clothing indoors ... long undies and a wool stocking cap.
    2 - Using local heat sources, such as a small electric heater in the bathroom, electric blanket in the bedroom, etc. instead of warming the whole house to 75 because I like warm bathrooms.
    3 - Opening drapes where the sun can shine in, close them when the sun is not hitting the window.

  • tibbrix
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Lazy, I'm not quite as severe in my conservation efforts as you, but I'm also not far off. As stated above, I've heard from my HVAC guy and have the go-ahead to keep the two vents in my bedroom closed, but that's all, and that is fine.

    my house actually has two wings; the "old" wing, which I live in, has forced air. The "new" wing, which has the laundry in it, is electric (new system of splits). Laundry is in the bathroom in that wing, so I do keep a ceramic electric heater on a thermostat plugged into an outlet so that that heat will go on at at least 45 (bumped up to 55 or 60 if it gets really frigid outside) to keep the pipes from freezing.

    My house is not going to win any awards for its insulative properties, but I do, and have done, what I can. I use plastic sheeting with Zipwall zippers stuck on them on little used but leaky doors. Works GREAT, and I CAN get through them if I have to because of the zippers (GREAT find, btw).

    In the wing where I live, I keep the temp between 62 and 66, in general, and it is turned OFF at night. I also use blankets, wool socks, long underwear when it's very cold, to assist. I am a firm believe that fossil or electric heat should ONLY go on, for body warmth, when all else fails, i.e.: clothing, blankets, etc. Generally, my heat goes on when it gets to about 40 - 45 outside. I'm also very sure to close the fireplace flue in the morning if I've had a fire the night before. My house doesn't really get any direct sunlight, despite its southern exposure, but the three-season porch is ALL huge glass doors, and it gets up to 95 degrees in the dead of winter on sunny days. I'll open the doors and let that convection heat into the house for a few hours.

    However, I rent my house out, and boy can I tell when it's been rented, even for just a weekend. My utility bills just skyrocket. It's really amazing. Many people are very, very mindless about their use of these resources.

    This post was edited by Tibbrix on Sat, Nov 29, 14 at 18:24