The older your AC system, the more likely you are to look for ways to reduce your monthly utility bills. That’s because older systems just can’t match their original out-of-the-box energy efficiency. So, unless you make some adjustments around your house, you’re simply going to pay more to cool your home.

And while there are lots of good ways to bring down your costs, here’s one thing that won’t help: closing interior doors to rooms that don’t have an AC return or register. Contrary to popular belief, that’s going to have the exact opposite effect of what you intend. What’s more, not only will utility costs likely rise, but you’ll also be allowing contaminated air from other parts of your house to enter your living spaces.


Despite your best intentions, at least some cool air will find its way into those closed-off rooms. At the same time, the air inside is going to do what it does best: look for ways to exit as part of the air circulation process. It will most likely find them, too, under and around doors, through uninsulated switches or sockets, through uncaulked window seams, and so on. As conditioned air vacates, a vacuum is created that allows contaminated air from other parts of your house – including where you keep your water heater – to enter.

In the meantime, your AC system is working harder to overcome the air circulation obstructions, thus driving up your utility costs while creating the potential for repair problems from the added wear and tear.

More Ways to Save Money

Of course, it takes more than an open bedroom door to fully optimize the air flow in your home. Here’s what else you can do to help your own cause:

  • Install cold air returns in rooms that need to have doors closed for privacy reasons.
  • Install transfer grill to the side or on top of doors you wish to keep closed. They facilitate air flow while helping you maintain privacy.
  • Have your air ducts inspected annually to ensure conditioned air isn’t escaping into your attic.
  • Clean or replace your AC filter every two weeks.
  • Close all outside facing doors and windows during air conditioner operation.
  • Keep window treatments closed during the day, especially those windows facing the sun.
  • Install a whole-house attic fan so you can give your AC system a rest overnight starting when the outdoor temperature is the same or lower than the temperature inside.

If you’re already doing everything you can to cut energy consumption but just aren’t satisfied with the results, contact Burton today to request an AC system cleaning and inspection. It’s the best way we know of to keep your system in peak condition while preventing system repair problems and potentially adding years to its effective lifespan.