To leave bedroom doors open or closed: that is the question for many homeowners. Fire marshals recommend closing bedroom doors at night as a fire safety measure when sleeping. Teenagers want the privacy of a closed door when in their bedrooms. The important question may very well be this one: did you know that closing the bedroom doors interferes with energy efficiency and may create some serious health and safety problems in your home?
Your HVAC system pours air into rooms. When you shut the doors, it is trapped and pressurizes these rooms. The resulting positive pressure forces the conditioned air out through any opening in any room that the air can find for escaping from the house. For every cubic foot of air that is forced out of the house, there is a cubic foot drawn in from outdoors to take its place. Depending on how many doors are closed, the re-entry rate for outside air can rise as high as 300 to 900 percent. Utility bills soar, comfort in the house diminishes and health problems grow.
How does the air get in? Following the easiest path, the big, straight smooth passages made by the flue of a water heater, the chimney or the furnace flue draw in hundreds of cubic feet of air each minute. This air comes with outdoor pollutants, humidity and dangerous carbon monoxide (CO). You might see some smoke coming back from the fireplace or experience cold draft. The high humidity leads to the growth of mold. Unfortunately, you can neither see nor smell CO poisoning which makes it extremely dangerous. That’s why every home needs a CO monitor.
If you are experiencing a lack of efficiency, higher utility bills, a CO monitor going off for no apparent reason or the growth of mold when there was no previous problems in the house, look at how you are using the house before you blame it on your HVAC system. Are doors being closed on a regular basis? If so, open them back up and see what a difference it can make. If pressurizing the rooms is the cause but doors need to be closed sometimes, consider installing jump ducts or transfer grilles that allow air to move between rooms for a reasonable solution. These will provide air a path that is always open for getting back to the HVAC system. At the same time they maintain privacy since you can’t see or hear through them. For more information on this and other surprising energy efficiency tips, follow our Blog for great info on HVAC systems.