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I have a central natural gas forced-air furnace in a small (1500 sq. ft.) home. I have an unfinished main room downstairs and a room for storage upstairs that's not being used as a bedroom.

Is it cost effective to close the heating vents in these rooms? I'm fairly confident about the unfinished basement room, but not so much the upstairs room. The reason being that there's a return air vent in the storage room: the door stays closed and the return air vent isn't getting anything to return.

Edit:

Upstairs there are a total of six rooms: kitchen, living room, bathroom, and three bedrooms. Each of these rooms has a vent. Each bedroom and the hallway connecting them have return-air vents. The thermostat is located in the hallway.

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Is the return air vent in the storage room the only one? If so, it may actually be better to leave the door open, otherwise the furnace might find a much colder source of make-up air. –  alx9r Dec 13 '12 at 6:26
    
No, there's a return in two other bedrooms. (Basically 3 bedrooms upstairs, each with a return as well as a vent.) –  JYelton Dec 13 '12 at 6:27
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In that case, I'm fairly confident that closing vents and doors to unused areas will reduce the cost to maintain the used areas at a comfortable temperature. –  alx9r Dec 13 '12 at 6:31
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It depends on where the thermostat is located. Provided it's located in a room where you are NOT shutting the vents, then you'll likely save some energy. Note that you may not want to completely close the basement vents just to maintain a bit of airflow/humidity control. –  DA01 Jan 15 '13 at 20:48
    
The single thermostat is in the hallway, between the rooms with vents. I'll add this detail to the question. –  JYelton Jan 15 '13 at 20:49

1 Answer 1

Given that the return air vent in the storage room is the only one, I'm fairly confident that closing vents and doors to unused areas will reduce the cost to maintain the used areas at a comfortable temperature.

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