How important can one little vent be?
October 8, 2008 3:11 PM   Subscribe

Will anything bad happen if I put my bed over a floor vent?

I need to rearrange my room to make space for a chair, but the only arrangement that works puts tmy bed directly over one of the two vents. My bed is currently just a box spring and mattress on the floor, so there would be no circulation at all.

I have two questions:

1. When it's time to run the heat instead of the air conditioning, will this be dangerous? I don't want to set my bed on fire in the middle of the night.

2. How badly will this affect the temperature in my room? I do still have the other vent, and I don't close my door unless I'm sleeping, but I'm wondering if one vent is enough.

Basically, is this a stupid idea? Should I just wait until I can afford a real bed to move stuff around?
posted by showbiz_liz to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's kinda sucky in the summer because obviously the air is semi-blocked. For us, a stand fan fixes that. An extra blankie in the winter. Not dangerous and not stupid. Not ideal either, but hey, you knew that.
posted by CwgrlUp at 3:23 PM on October 8, 2008

How's the heat now? You could close the louvers on the vent and check with just the one for a few days. It will probably be fine, but you should close the vent before you move the bed and cover it. Just pull up the louvers and cut a piece of cardboard to fit. Unless your room is very near the the furnace the temp will not be anywhere close to a level that might damage the bed.
posted by TDIpod at 3:24 PM on October 8, 2008

Can you not close the register? If your register (vent) doesn't close, you can easily replace it with one that does. If the register is closed, then I don't think you have anything to worry about.
posted by ssg at 3:26 PM on October 8, 2008

is this the vent where air goes in, or the vent heat comes out of?
if the latter I wouldn't risk it. Even if you "close" the vent, it's just a metal latch inside to prevent air from blowing... it will still heat up. I've burned myself on forced-air registers, I wouldn't want to set my bed right on one.

At minimum I'd say get a cheapie metal frame to get the boxspring up off the ground. Big Lots has them for under $50.
posted by Kellydamnit at 3:31 PM on October 8, 2008

My bed is currently just a box spring and mattress on the floor

Don't place the bed directly on top of the vent, get it up off the floor with a cheap metal frame, then buy a vent deflector to redirect the air out into the room.
posted by amyms at 3:34 PM on October 8, 2008

Yeah, you might as well spend a few bucks on a used metal bed frame. You know, those ugly ones with wheels that hurt like shit when you slam your toe into them. I'm sure you can find a really cheap one at a garage sale or on Craigslist. I've personally thrown away a few sets in my life.
posted by nitsuj at 3:48 PM on October 8, 2008

to answer your question, no, I don't think anything bad will happen. If your bed is right next to an exterior wall or window, and the vent that used to shoot warm air against that wall is covered by the bed, you will feel colder at night. that's pretty much it. It's not like keeping all that hot air from escaping through the vent is going to make the air hotter and hotter until stuff catches fire. In fact, you won't be keeping air from escaping anyway; the air will simply escape through the other vents in your home.
posted by Chris4d at 3:48 PM on October 8, 2008

Could you put something over the vent and make sure that, in fact, doing so increases air flow through the other vents?

You just don't know what people might have done when they were working on your home.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:24 PM on October 8, 2008

Response by poster: I had one of those ugly metal beds until recently. But two of the wheels broke, so I got rid of it. It was truly not worth it, the broken wheel bits were gouging up my floor. I suppose I could look for a new one, though.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:44 PM on October 8, 2008

If it's an intake vent, I wouldn't block it. In the apartment we rent, a box was accidentally placed over one of our intake vents and it was causing the furnace to overheat and shut off prematurely as it wasn't getting enough air flow.
posted by stefnet at 5:19 PM on October 8, 2008

if you close the vent, it should be okay. put a piece of plywood over it if you are worried about the metal getting too hot to safely contact the boxspring.

only downside is if it's the only vent in the room, your room might be cold.

you can pick up a set of bed rails for like $25 from a mattress store, fyi.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:13 PM on October 8, 2008

What stefnet said about an intake vent. Those are kind of important.

It's also important to have enough air flow through your furnace, but that's only supposed to be an issue if you have a zoned system that goes on the blink and decides it needs to fire up the heat, but doesn't bother to open the vents on any of the ducts. Kids and their overclocking...

Anyhow, there is this thing, that almost no one does, called balancing your heating system. If you have a long air duct with a lot of equally big side vents, you'd expect the most air to come out the vent closest to the furnace, the next one to get slightly less and so on, until you get to that one room in your house that's always too cold in the winter and/or too hot in the summer. What you are supposed to do is adjust either your in-room vents, or sheet metal dampers in your hot air lines, so that all the rooms are heated/cooled reasonably evenly.

Assuming the vent you are just blocking an out vent, and your system is balanced, it won't be any more. It's more likely that your system is not balanced and this will just make it not balanced differently.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:20 PM on October 8, 2008

No fire danger here, but you will affect the efficiency of the vent. The only way to find out if it is too drastic is to try it. In most rooms a single unblocked vent will suffice.
posted by caddis at 8:33 PM on October 8, 2008

If you don't want to buy a bedframe, you could just get a half-dozen 2x4s cut to length and set the box spring on them. It'll let the air from the vent out if you need it to keep the room cozy.
posted by chazlarson at 2:05 PM on October 9, 2008

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