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Should Interior Doors Stay Opened When Running A/C?

Interior doors enhance privacy inside a home, but do they also inhibit proper air conditioning function?

Air circulation is among the most critical requirements of optimum cooling. Obstructing the airflow pattern in a house by closing too many interior doors can degrade air conditioning performance and also affect energy efficiency and operating costs.

Here are some reasons why an open-door policy is the best recourse for consistent comfort.

Circulation is Cool

When your cooling and heating system was designed, factors such as airflow volume were based on the assumption that air circulation throughout the house would be unobstructed. This, in turn, influenced variables such as the blower air output and the size and extent of ductwork. Closing too many doors impairs proper circulation and diminishes effective cooling performance the system is designed to deliver.

Supply Requires Return

A central A/C actually consists of two separate duct systems: supply ducts deliver cooled air to each room and the return ductwork conveys it back to the air conditioner. While supply vents are generally incorporated in every room, many residences have only a single central return intake, usually located in a central hallway. Closing interior doors blocks the flow of supply air to the return vent, creating an imbalance as air volume returning to the air conditioner is insufficient. Airflow imbalances affect the consistency of cooling throughout the house and may cause the air conditioner to run longer cycles to meet thermostat settings, boosting energy consumption and cooling costs.

Maintaining Free Flow

Alternatives that support optimum cooling include airflow grates installed in each interior door to permit the free flow of supply air back to the central return, even when the door is closed. In addition to preserving privacy, this solution maintains proper supply/return air balance as well as consistent flow of circulation throughout the house.

Ask the cooling professionals at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning for more ways to manage interior doors while maintaining indoor comfort.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).