How to Block Vents in a Two-Story Home So the House Can Be Cooled by My Air Conditioner


Heat rises, and cool air flows downward. When it comes to properly ventilating a two-story home, the procedure of blocking vents to keep the house cool can maximize the efficiency of an air conditioning unit. However, the effectiveness of this act is in direct proportion to the age of the home and the unit itself. Older homes, for example, may not have the necessary ventilation system to block vents without it becoming a fire hazard. Blocking vents in a two-story home should only be done if the ventilation system is new enough to support shutting vents off. This process is actually very simple.

  • Locate each downstairs vent. On the side of the vent you will see a small wand-like device that opens or shuts the vents. Move this wand to close each downstairs vent. When the vent is closed, you should not be able to see the air conditioning ducts at all. If your vents do not have a device that allows them to be shut off, you should not attempt to block the vents.

  • Turn on the air conditioning unit to check the airflow. If there is still air flowing out of the downstairs vents, you will need to tighten the seal by making sure the wand is fastened securely, shutting the airflow out of all downstairs vents. This will force the cool air to be redirected to the upstairs vents, and subsequently circulate downstairs.

  • Check the airflow in the upstairs vents. Repeat the process in Step 1, except that you need to make certain the upstairs vent is open, allowing the air to flow through it.

  • Use ceiling fans or box fans to help circulate air downstairs when the vents are closed, keeping the entire house cool. This will maximize the efficiency of your air conditioning system and help to save money on electricity costs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Homes with two separate air conditioning units can be programmed via a thermostat to have different temperature settings upstairs and downstairs. This eliminates the need to close any vents.

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