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Home Heating Advice Needed

I know when cooling a home, you can save on your utility bill by closing the vents in unused rooms.

But what about heating your home. Does it really save money by closing the vents in rooms you dont use?

Does it depend upon where the rooms are located in the home? What about the rooms in the basement? Should the vents be open or closed? I've always been told that heat rises. So wouldnt it make sense that the vents in the rooms in the basement be open so the heat rises to the main floor helping to warm the rooms from the floor up, and get the most for my dollar?

Last year and so far this year, I have kept all the vents in the basement closed. It seems the floor area on the main floor is always cold. Our home is heated with propane, so I need to heat it as economically as possible and make the propane we have stretch as far as possible.

If you have any knowledge of this, please leave me a comment explaining to me why they should be opened or left closed. I have researched and analyzed this until my head hurts. I just want a plain simple answer... leave the vents closed or open them and get the most from my propane everytime the furnace kicks on.


  1. The way I see it, you shouldn't be heating any space that isn't going to be used. We do shut off vents in rooms that aren't being used.

    We keep our basement vents closed, too, unless we are going to be down there for a few ours. Our basement isn't finished, so unless we're cleaning down there, we're only in and out to do laundry.

    I'm no physicist, but I know heat will move to where it is not. My thinking is that when you shut off vents to areas that you don't need to heat, it redirects the hot air to the areas you do want to heat.

    If your furnace in the chilly basement, like ours, and you leave those vents open, the heat will go there first; less will move on to other parts of your home. Yes, heat rises, but the amount of heat you'll feel rising up from the basement is probably going to be minimal. On the other hand, if heat goes where it is not, and your basement is chilly, then you're probably losing heat from the house back TO the basement. I think you'd be better off putting down some area rugs to insulate between the two levels so that less heat is being transferred in either direction.

    Just my thoughts...hope they aren't too confusing.

  2. Just back to subscribe to comments. I'm curious about other people's take on this.

  3. KC,

    Here is a great site that will answer a lot of your questions!


    We don't shut off rooms when heating or cooling because we have a heat pump and it can unbalance the system. That being said, we did not heat our basement when we lived in NY but we had gas.DH also insulated the ceiling of the basement so that our floors were not cold. If you have gas heat, shut off the rooms that you are not using. Yes heat does rise, but why heat an unfinished basement? So I would vote for closing the vents and insulating the ceiling of the basement. You will save a lot of propane costs doing this!

  4. I apologize Lisa for using addressing KC. I know your name is Lisa. I have so much to do around here, I am lucky that I know my own name. Sorry!

  5. We are actually able to keep our second floor vents closed all the time. The heat floats up enough on its own without being pumped into thse rooms.