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Should My Return Vents Be Open or Closed in Winter?

In the winter, your lower return vents should be open and your higher return vents should be closed. Depending on the season, return vents call for a certain orientation. In the winter, closing your upper return vents and opening your lower return vents will help your HVAC heat your home more easily.

Changing With The Seasons

The season will dictate how your return vents should be set. In the same way that hot air rises, cold air stays lower. So when you’re trying to heat your home, your lower return vents should be open to collect the cold air and your upper return vents should be closed to keep the heat from escaping.

Opening your lower return vents in the winter will allow cold air to be drawn out through your return registers and help your return registers work more efficiently. Simply remembering to switch the vents can help your home heat more quickly and evenly.

Double Trouble

When one door closes, another opens — at least, it should in the case of your air return registers. Make sure when opening one return vent you always close the other so you can keep your home at the correct temperature. If you accidentally leave both vents open in the winter, your home may have trouble keeping in the heat and your HVAC system will struggle to do its job.

When To Worry About Winter

Right as the weather begins to get colder, you’ll want to switch your lower vent from closed to open so you can catch the cold air before your house has the chance to chill. Open the return register to allow cold air to be drawn from your home and flow to the furnace to be heated.

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