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chyna's avatar

Heating question. See details?

Asked by chyna (45772points) 1 week ago from iPhone

Is it better to leave all bedroom doors open to circulate heat, or close off the bedroom doors that you are not using? Also, vents cannot be closed off unless I put something over them.

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22 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Bill1939's avatar

The air intake is in the ceiling in the hall in front of our bedroom door. Keeping the door closed added a couple of degrees to the room’s temperature.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Tropical_Willie's avatar

Can you get and use these magnetic vent covers ?

JLeslie's avatar

I sent this to luckyguy because he always seems to know this sort of thing regarding saving energy and room temperature.

I personally don’t like to close of a room for an extended period of time, plus you said you can’t close the vents. Do you have intakes for the air in all of the bedrooms you are thinking of closing off? I would guess you can cover the vents somehow if you close the rooms. Maybe do that for the coldest months.

I am assuming you only have one zone for your house.

I also assume you turn down the heat a few degrees during the day while you are at work.

In your situation my approach would be to leave everything open, and spot heat the rooms I am in. I’d warm up my bedroom with a space heater before I tuck myself into bed. I would turn it off right before I got into bed.

If my family room doesn’t have a door, I might set up a temporary partition in the winter if possible to be able to use a space heater in that room also. Those are the two places I spend the most time.

I just have no idea if my approach actually saves energy.

KNOWITALL's avatar

If you’re in this arctic freeze I am, we closed off rooms that dont have water taps. Rolling blackouts like Texas may happen if usage doesnt stay down. Good luck.

canidmajor's avatar

I close the doors and tape cardboard over the vents to save on heating costs. The savings are noticeable in my house.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Space heaters are expensive to run, ” Using space heaters to heat rooms is rarely as efficient as a central heating system, says the Alliance to Save Energy, an advocacy group. And electricity rates vary, with Connecticut and New York having among the highest rates; Washington and Idaho, the lowest. The electric space heaters tested at Consumer Reports use 1,500 watts to fully power. Since you should never use a space heater while sleeping, it would cost $2.82 a day to use a space heater 16 hours a day, based on the national average electricity rate.” Consumer Reports

So running a space costs $84.60 for a 30 day month. That is just a single heater in a single room.

kritiper's avatar

Close the doors on the rooms you don’t wish to heat. Some ventilation will still occur due to air leaking past and under the closed doors.

JLeslie's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I just use the space heater for a few degrees for a short period of time. I don’t know if that is what is being calculated in your numbers there, but still good information. I never use a space heater while sleeping, just to take the chill off the room before I fall asleep.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Here in my apartment our vents are closable because it has a knob that can be closed anytime.

Too much heat was blasting in the night so I close the vent half away and it solved that problem.

Problem is that its on a timer ( building) and I have to interfere in that by adjusting my thermostat

So that the heat will go up on especially colder days, lately.

If it doesn’t kick in I turn my stove oven on to circulate more heat quickly then turn it off.

I live in a cold climate ( Western Canada Mountain Park)

chyna's avatar

I’ll look for those @Tropical_Willie. Thanks!

JLeslie's avatar

You can put a rolled towel or a “door draft stopper” under the door to stop the air from leaking from one room to the next. They are inexpensive. Some you can easily cut to fit any size door.

KNOWITALL's avatar

We sealed up the hallway intake and the vents, window and door stoppers. Curtains over the big bay window. All helped a lot.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Sorry I’m late here. I have been preparing for the storm to hit western NY in about 2 hours.

Ok. He is a basic heating concept. Heat loss is proportional to the temperature difference between the outside and the inside. For example If it is 70 outside and 70 inside, there will be no heat loss. It will cost nothing to heat your house.
If it is 58F outside and 68F inside (a 10 degree F difference) let’s assume it will cost you about $2.50 per day to heat your house. Of course this varies with the size of the house and the insulation and window leaks etc… But this is a good rule of thumb. 10 degree difference costs $2.50 per day.
If the temperature drops to 38F and you keep your inside at 68 F, that is a 30 degree difference. That 30 degree difference between inside walls and outside walls will cost you about $7.50 per day.
To save energy, money, you need to reduce the temperature difference. Let’s say you lowered your stat and let the entire house go down to 58 F. That is a 20 F difference between outside and inside so now it will only cost you $5.00 per day instead of $7.50.
But that is uncomfortable . If you can shut off bedrooms and the heat to those rooms, you can let the temperature fall closer to the outside temperature.
Let’s say the bedrooms are half of the house. and only they go down to 58F. So instead of saving $2.50 per day you will be saving half that or $1.25 per day. 30 day x 1.25 = $37.50 per month saving!
If the temperature is colder outside, in the 20s or 10s and you let the unused rooms go down to the low 50s, you will be saving much more. It is worth the trouble…

…Unless there is a chance of a power outage. Then pump in as much heat as you can so your house will stay warmer for a longer period of time. Set the stat up a degree or two and open up the doors. You want as much thermal mass as you can get. Of course you will be paying for this warmth but consider it insurance during the time of crisis.

Stay warm.

chyna's avatar

Thanks @LuckyGuy! Great explanation in easy to understand language.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think closing off rooms helps. Rick is an HVAC guy and he says no. The fact remains that my utility bills sky rocketed when he moved in.

smudges's avatar

@LuckyGuy Set the stat up a degree or two and open up the doors. You want as much thermal mass as you can get.

That’s exactly what can cause the power outage, and, at least here in the midwest, they’re asking us urgently to try to save electricity. It’s supposed to get to -20 here, and that’s not a wind chill.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@smudges Agreed. That is why I do it before the storm hits.
Also, around here very few homes are heated with electricity. Most have either a natural gas or oil fired furnace. The electricity used is only for powering the stats, igniting the flame, and running the circulators. That takes very little power.

I have 2 generators that I use in emergencies: a very small, (20 pound0, 1100 watt unit and a large 4400 watt. When I lose power I start the 1100 watt unit. That is enough to power my refrigerator, sump pump, and my furnace. If it is going to be a long outage I will turn on the big one and power my house.

If I had electric heat I would need at least a 15,000 watt generator.

I also have 2 wood burning stoves . Both are big enough to heat my entire house.

@chyna. If you want to take it further and find out how much it really costs you , look at your heating bills for a season and total the usage. That is easy for me since I have oil heat and it is not used for anything else.
In my case say I bought 800 gallons last year. Then you look at the National Weather Service to see how many heating degree days you had at your location last year. Lets say in my case it was 6400 HDD for last year. Therefore I get 6400HDD/800 gallons = 8 HDD per gallon. A gallon of oil costs about $2.20 for 8 degree difference.
So 10 Heating degree days costs me 10/8 x $2.20 =. $2.75..
This method is an estimate but it is pretty darn close since it takes into account your entire heating season. Think of it as measuring your car fuel economy, not by just measuring one fill-up but rather tracking it for an entire 3000 mile cross country trip.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here is a website that lists heating degree days by month and for the entire season.
You enter your state and zip code .
Heating Degree Days by Zip Code

JLeslie's avatar

I used to close off each zone in my house in the winter in Tennessee, I had three. One zone we were almost never in and I kept it at 62 I think. That zone we used Tyvek foam board to block off the stairs and rails.

The other two zones separated the downstairs bedrooms from the main living area. I used heavy plastic from the fabric store and frame to make window screens to make a clear door for the hall entrance to the bedrooms. I warmed up the bedrooms at night through the early morning, and warmed the living space during the day. We only changed it by a few degrees so the heater wouldn’t work too hard during the initial warm up.

We quickly realized we were saving almost $100 a month in the winter. It took us less than two months to get the money back we had invested in materials and we used them for 7 years.

Give what you’re thinking a try and I think you will know quickly if it’s helping. It’s worth trying, because over the long term the savings really add up and helps the community at large by not putting a strain on the utility system.

KRD's avatar

Close off the rooms you don’t need to keep more heat where you need it most.

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