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Should Interior Doors Be Open or Closed While My Air Conditioner is Running?

2421891540_02c3a82626_mWhen it comes to saving energy at home, there are a few tips that often get shared that seem like a good idea in theory but don’t actually work in practice. One example is the idea that you can save energy by closing interior doors to rooms that aren’t in use. Today we’re going to talk about what actually happens when you close interior doors while your air conditioner is running and why you should think twice before doing it!

 

Why people think it’s a good idea to close interior doors

 

In theory, it seems like closing the interior doors in your home would be a good way to save energy. The thought process goes like this: Your air conditioner uses up energy to cool your home, so by closing off a room to the rest of your house, your system will have a smaller amount of space to keep cool. This will give your air conditioner less work to do, which will lower your energy bills. But is that what actually happens when you close interior doors?

 

Pressure problems that result from closing interior doors

 

The truth is that closing interior doors in your home can actually increase your air conditioner’s energy consumption. When your air conditioner is running, it’s pumping air into your home’s rooms through the supply vents. If a door to a room is closed, the air that’s pumped into the room will be trapped inside that small space. This increases the pressure inside of the room.

 

When pressure builds up in a room, air searches for any way that it can find to escape. The conditioned air that your air conditioner used energy to produce will be forced out of small cracks and crevices in your walls, ceilings and floors. What a waste of energy!

 

When your air conditioner is not in a cooling cycle, a room with a closed door experiences the opposite pressure problem. The closed door will block out air from other parts of your home that would otherwise flow into the room. By cutting off a room’s access to your home’s airflow, the room will have negative air pressure. This will cause air from unconditioned spaces to be sucked into the room through the same cracks and crevices that it escaped from while your air conditioner was running. That new air will be unconditioned and unfiltered, which will not only increase the workload for your air conditioner but also make the room’s air less healthy to breathe.

 

Should you keep interior doors open or closed?

 

In general, it’s best to keep the interior doors in your home open as often as possible. This will allow your home to have better airflow and minimize the amount of pressure problems in your rooms. During the day, this should be easy because most people don’t spend as much time in their bedrooms so doors won’t have to be closed for privacy reasons. At night, consider leaving your bedroom doors open at least a crack to allow air to flow in and out of your rooms.

 

If you have any questions about what to do with your interior doors while the air conditioner is running, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Charles, MO, air conditioning contractor. We provide service all over the St. Louis area, including towns like Dardenne Prairie, Des Peres and Frontenac, MO.

 

photo credit: aimeefreak via photopin (license)