Vents let fresh air from outside to flow through the basement, preventing moisture buildup that would otherwise encourage the growth of rot and mildew. But in the summer, should you close the basement vents?
To cut your summer cooling expenditures, you can close the basement vents. To prevent costly damage to the air ducts and your HVAC system, it is advised to periodically close the vents.
Discover some of the consequences of blocking basement vents in the summer by reading on. We’ll also discuss whether basements require cold air returns and how to ventilate a basement.
In The Summer, Should You Open Or Shut The Basement Vents?
We are trying to figure out the best way to reduce our energy consumption due to high energy costs. If some vents in your home that control temperature aren’t commonly used, you might think about closing them.
To save cooling costs in the summer, you can close the basement vents. Shutting the vents will save energy if you don’t frequently use the basement because it won’t need to be heated or cooled.
To prevent serious damage to your air ducts and prevent air obstruction, you should use caution when deciding to close the vents.
The blower fan’s capacity is appropriate for your home’s size and ventilation flow rate because the cooling system was created to meet your needs. As a result, modifications in interior pressure may negatively impact your HVAC system.
You risk creating more issues than you solve if you close the vents for an extended period of time or too frequently.
The pressure would build up in the air ducts, causing them to leak, if the AC uses a same-rate motor that does not self-adjust depending on the inside pressure. As leaking restricts the flow of conditioned air in your home and makes your living environment uncomfortable, it raises your energy costs.
In a system with a variable speed motor, decreased air circulation wouldn’t be a problem, but the unit would still need to make up for it. Overusing the appliance causes more wear and tear. As a result, the AC malfunctions frequently, raising the price of repairs and upkeep.
Additionally, closing the vents slows down the cooling process of your AC. Your air conditioner’s cycle length has gotten longer because cool air enters the room at a slower rate. Energy use increases as AC cycles lengthen.
Closing the vents might be an effective way to save energy, but it won’t cause the cold air to be distributed throughout the house. The air that would normally be used to regulate basement temperatures is not distributed to other areas in the house.
Closing the basement vents also prevents you from using the chilly basement air to control temperatures in the rest of the house as basements frequently have lower summer temperatures than the rest of the house.
Basement Ventilation Techniques
Your basement will be shielded from moisture issues, mold growth, and bad odors if it is properly ventilated.
To remove wet, contaminated air and let fresh, clean air into the basement, you can use mechanical, portable, or natural means.
Ventilation Type: Natural
Only basements that have windows can benefit from natural ventilation. Across the basement area, the windows should be positioned in a thoughtful arrangement facing one another. In this manner, the basement is aerated and contaminated air is expelled using natural air currents.
The success of the method depends on how frequently the windows are opened and how many inlets and outlets are available, despite the fact that it is the simplest and most economical to use. The effectiveness of ventilation increases as fresh outdoor air is substituted for more inside air.
The technique, nevertheless, is less effective in a moist basement. To combat the higher relative humidity levels, you would need to install a dehumidifier in addition to natural ventilation.
Ventilation Type: Portable
Your basement may be ventilated easily and affordably with portable ventilation. This approach works well in basements without windows or when it’s impossible to open the windows.
An air purifier, usually referred to as a portable ventilation device, may readily clean the air without relying on the design of your home. The apparatus extracts air from the basement and filters out impurities like dust, allergies, mildew, and molds.
It doesn’t go stale because of the constant air flow, which reduces the likelihood of bacteria and mold growing on the surface.
It is a good idea to choose an air purifier whose purifying power is proportionate to the size of the basement. Additionally, it will function at its best for a longer period of time if its filters are periodically changed. Your basement’s air will remain clean and fresh in this way.
For a large home, this air purifier is appropriate. It contains a washable pre-filter that may be used to get rid of big debris like lint and fur.
Ventilation Type: Mechanical
Vents and fans are used in mechanical ventilation to remove contaminated basement air and replace it with clean outdoor air. The technique still makes use of apertures or windows that are already there for ventilation, but it is more effective than natural ventilation since it uses mechanical circulation rather than relying on air currents.
Mechanical ventilation is the most expensive to install out of the three options. For it to function properly, you must buy a mechanical device and have it professionally installed. The technique is better, though, because you can use it to manage moisture in a basement that is generally humid.
Which appliance will work best in your basement will depend on its size. In most small to medium-sized basements, a ventilation fan on one window and an exhaust fan on the other will be adequate.
Along with a ventilation pipe, an exhaust fan can also be installed. The ventilation pipe is used by the exhaust fan to exhaust air from the basement outside. The tainted basement air is therefore exchanged for clean outdoor air.
To improve air circulation, keep the fans and ventilation pipes clean. Additionally, for system automation, choose ventilation fans with a humidity sensor. Thus, the fans will turn on and run until the moisture content drops if the relative humidity in the basement exceeds a set threshold.
Another method for ventilating the basement is to mount a window air conditioner on a basement window or set up a portable air conditioner. The AC also provides cooling comfort in addition to improving airflow.
This exhaust ventilation fan has a powerful motor with a bearing that is always greased. It requires no maintenance and runs silently.
Are Cold Air Returns Required In Basements?
The indoor air of your home is drawn in by cold air returns, which utilise it in the air conditioning system. Installing cold air returns in the basement is required to improve adequate air circulation for this reason. You can keep all the rooms in the house at the same temperature if there is enough airflow.
The cold air returns help an HVAC system run more effectively by preserving air pressure, removing big debris, and maintaining temperature. In older homes, they are frequently discovered on the floor, close to the ground, or on a wall near a ceiling.
To combat the air density that encourages hot air to rise, the cold air returns in the basement should be located on the floor. By doing this, you can increase the basement’s temperature since warm air will be sucked in from the ceiling.
The return vent would draw hot air from the top of the duct and transport it back to the furnace without changing the temperature of the cold air at the bottom if it were situated close to the ceiling.
To prevent the chimney from being back-drafted, do not pull cold air from the same room as the furnace. Additionally, make sure the basement’s cold air return is half as big as the total of all the hot air outputs.
This volume prevents the basement from experiencing back-drafting, which would result from negative pressure.
Make sure that there are no obstructions of any type in the cold air returns. Do not cover them with carpets, curtains, or other coverings. Additionally, maintain a distance of at least 10 inches between couches and other furniture and the return vents.
While you can cover the basement vents in the summer to save energy, you should only do this occasionally to guard against expensive leaks in your air conditioning system. Additionally, avoid covering all of the basement vents; instead, keep a couple of them open.
To keep the air moving in the basement, you can employ mechanical methods, portable solutions, or natural ones. Since portable solutions don’t rely on apertures like basement windows for their efficiency, they are more practical and simple to use.