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Should Basement Vents Be Open or Closed in the Summer?

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The warm months of summer are a welcome break from the colder temperatures that come to St. Louis, MO, during the fall and winter. That doesn’t mean you won’t be running your air conditioning if the weather gets too hot. 

basement window with vent

If you’re noticing your energy bills rising with the temperatures, you may be inclined to seek out what solutions you can to cut costs. One way to do so is to close the basement vents that control temperatures throughout parts of your home. While doing so can’t hurt your home, leaving those vents closed for too long can cause significant damage to your air ducts and to your HVAC system. 

When is it safe to close your basement vents, and how best can you respond to any damage you may have inadvertently caused? 

The Benefits of Closing Your Basement Vents 

If you’re looking for a way to lower your energy bill this summer, closing your vents may be an easy way to do so. When you close your vents, you can limit the flow of air through your home and avoid temperature-controlling rooms you don’t visit frequently. 

That said, don’t expect the air that doesn’t go to your basement to travel up through the rest of your home. Forced air homes can let air linger in air ducts if a room’s vents are closed off. As such, you’ll want to rotate the vents that you have closed on a consistent basis to keep obstructions from forming in your ducts. 

The Side Effects of Closing Your Basement Vents 

All that said, there are some downsides to closing your basement vents. These can include:  

  • Backed-up air pressure – As mentioned, the air in your home isn’t going to travel as readily as you’d like it to with your vents closed. You need to vary your closed vents if you want to prevent obstacles from forming in your ducts. 
  • Leaks – If the pressure from restricted air grows to be too much, your ducts may spring a leak. These leaks can be a pain to deal with, as they’re difficult to find and can thoroughly disrupt the comfort of a temperature-controlled home. 
  • Higher bills – With a leak comes higher bills, as your HVAC system will have to work even harder to compensate for the sudden lack of air pressure in certain parts of your home. 
  • Frozen AC coils – If you have the AC in your home running for most of the day, the air released by a leak can circulate past working coils and cause them to freeze, especially if there’s a significant amount of condensation in the air. 

Contending with Air Vent Leaks 

As mentioned, air vent leaks are trying to contend with. These leaks raise your electric bills and make it significantly more difficult to control the temperature inside of your home. They can also spread mold and dust particles into every room in your home. 

If you notice that your home has become more difficult to temperature control or that your air quality seems to worsen, you’ll want to look over your vents to try and determine where the troubling leak is. This can be more difficult to do without the experience to back you up, but you can take the following steps to at least give a visiting expert a better idea of where to start their search: 

  1. Check your vent system for signs of damage you can spot from the outside. 
  2. Turn on your HVAC system and follow the air pressure until it gives out. 

You can also light a candle or a stick of incense and follow the flow of smoke back toward the weakest part of your vent. 

It’s difficult to fix a vent on your own once it’s burst. That said, if you’re looking for a quick fix, you can work with duct tape to cover over a smaller leak before calling one of the professionals in your area. 

Can You Safely Close Your Vents During the Summer? 

If the consequences of closing your air vents inappropriately can be so severe, is it really worth it to do so? 

You can safely close your basement air vents in the summer, yes. You’ll want to do so intermittently, though, instead of leaving them closed for several weeks at a time. If you consistently want to keep your vents closed, be sure to rotate which vents you shut at least every two days. If you’ve left a vent closed for longer than that, open it back up and let the air flow freely throughout your home. If you think you may have an air vent leak on your hands, don’t wait for your energy bill to rise. You can reach out for help from one of your area professionals. The foundation, basement, and crawl space repair experts in St. Louis, MO, can walk through your home, identify a leak and provide you with a free quote on the services you may need to patch it up again. Contact Foundation Recovery Systems today to get started.

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