Baseboard vents are used in many types of heating and cooling systems. Because of their wide use, it is sometimes difficult to know when to open the vent and when to close it. Some systems require an open vent year round, while others should be closed during certain seasons to optimize energy efficiency. To determine the best state for your vent (open or closed), you need to know a little about your heating and cooling system.
Open Vent Year Round
Central heating and air systems operate on the same system of ducts. To heat a room, the ducts must be open. The same goes for cooling the room. Closing the vents on these systems is unnecessary. In fact, doing so could impede the heating or cooling operation, reducing the efficiency of the system. If you have a central heat and air system, leave the baseboard vents open always.
Closed for the Summer
Baseboard heating vents are used with forced heat systems to carry the heat throughout a home. They are also used by baseboard heater systems to heat a room. Of course, the heating is required in cooler weather. During the summer, however, there is no need for the baseboard vents. They actually become areas where the air conditioned home loses the cool air. These leaks cause the cooling system to work harder to cool the room, losing its efficiency in the process. If you have forced heat, furnace heat or a baseboard heater system, close the vents during the summer to keep the room and the home cool.
Closed for the Winter
Close central air baseboard vents in the winter to prevent the heat from leaking out of the home and to keep the cold from rushing in. You can increase the efficiency of the heating system by closing the baseboard vents in rooms and areas of the home that are largely unused. Close the doors to these rooms as well to confine the heat to the parts of the home that the family actually uses. With less are to heat, the furnace or forced heat system does not run as much as it did the previous winter. Your heating bills should be lower. Don’t forget to turn off baseboard heaters in these rooms as well.
To ensure energy efficiency from the closed vents, inspect them every year for damage. Make sure that the vent is flush to the baseboard and secured by bolts. Apply sealant, temperature resistant caulk if needed, to get rid of leaks around the edges of the baseboard vent. Move furniture away from baseboard vents that are open to help heat and cool the home more efficiently. In addition to reducing the effectiveness of the vents, furniture blocking baseboard vents pose a fire hazard.