Closing the bedroom door.

It’s something you (and your kids) probably do every day. But it could be ruining your comfort and increasing your energy bills.


To understand, you know how an air conditioning and heating system works.

How an air conditioning & heating system works

Most air conditioning and heating systems in the Dallas, Georgia area are “forced-air systems.”

Here’s how they work:

  • Air in your home gets sucked up into the system through return vents and ducts
  • That air is conditioned (cooled or heated)
  • Finally, the conditioned air is sent back into the home through supply ducts and vents

In a perfectly balanced system, the same amount of air that goes into the heating/cooling system comes out of the system.

Here’s the problem when you close bedroom doors: You’ve created a barrier between the supply side and return side. So instead of that air being recycled into your system, it builds up in your bedroom. As that pressure builds up, the air takes the path of least resistance out of your home, usually through the walls and windows.

As that air exits the house, it must be replaced with more air in the rest of the house since the return duct is still pulling in air.

This causes air to be pulled in through the chimney, bathroom vents, and water heater and furnace flues. (This is known as back drafting.)

The consequences of closed doors

This buildup of pressure causes a variety of problems for you, including:

  • High-energy bills. The air that is supposed to be cooling or heating your entire home is instead going outside, costing you money.
  • An uncomfortable home. Closed doors don’t allow the conditioned air to circulate throughout the house, creating uncomfortable hot and cold spots throughout.
  • Dangerous air quality. Back drafting means your furnace, water heater or fireplace are venting into your home. This can cause your home to be filled with dirty, unfiltered air and poisonous carbon dioxide.

Note: Only closing a couple doors at a time is unlikely to cause these problems so long as your bedroom doors have a fair-sized (1-3 inches) gap at the bottom of the doors.

How to fix the problem

The obvious solution is to simply keep bedroom doors open all or most of the time (at least when your air conditioner or heater is running).

But this probably isn’t going to fly in your house. People want their privacy, after all. So here are a few other options:

  • Install return grilles in each bedroom. Return vents in each bedroom eliminate the problem of increased pressure from shut doors. However, installing more return ducts can get costly.
  • Install transfer grilles or jump ducts. Basically, these are vents between rooms that allow air to circulate to other rooms, even when the doors are shut.



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