Return ducts in basement reducing heating efficiency?!

I recently bought a townhouse and noticed the gas consumption is very high, and we're only into the middle of the fall. The townhouse has forced hot air heat. The house has a relatively large finished basement, and since I don't use it except for storage I've decided not to bother heating the basement. I've closed off the regular/ordinary heating supply vents in the basement. However, the basement also has return vents (one in the main room, one in a closet that is relatively close to the furnace room, and another return vent that is in the furnace room itself, located directly on the main return duct)
My question is this: If I don't intend to heat the basement, is there any reason to keep any of the vents (either return or supply) opened within the basement itself? To me this seems like a waste of heating power.
Am I correct in thinking I can simply close off all the supply air vents and all return vents within in the basement itself, and this will cause the heating system to focus on the main living areas? (By the way, the house I just sold had LOW heating bills and I did not have ANY supply or return vents opened in the basement (there was only one return and one supply and I closed both of them all year)
One problem is the return vents in the new townhouse do not have any built-in adjustment lever that would allow for closure. Can I just use the magnetic covers (designed specifically for this purpose) to close them?
Another question: besides the basement, my townhouse has 2 levels. I noticed that, by default, more air flow comes out of the downstairs vents. Is it more efficient to keep the downstairs supply vents *partially* closed to allow for more airflow upstairs, or would it be more efficient not to do that since the heat will tend to rise even with less forced air flowing out of the of upstairs vents vs. the downstairs vents?
Thanks.
J.
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Do you have enough upstairs returns for the system to not affect performance, a pro will have to check it out.
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<<Do you have enough upstairs returns for the system to not affect performance, a pro will have to check it out. >>
There is at least one return vent in every room, and there are a few in hallways.
In general, would you say that if the goal is to heat everything but the basement, then there is no reason to have vents opened in the basement itself as long as there are enough return/supply vents on the main floors?
J.
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Personally, I'd like to make the basement part of the air space. I have an open (no door) stairway, so it isn't sealed off any way.
Making it part of the air space would go a long way towards de-humidifying the basement, something that many need.
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<<Personally, I'd like to make the basement part of the air space. I have an open (no door) stairway, so it isn't sealed off any way.
Making it part of the air space would go a long way towards de-humidifying the basement, something that many need.>>
My basement does not have a door either. There is an L shaped staircase leading to the basement. Will adding a door save me much energy if the goal is not to heat the basement, or would it likely not save much heating energy since the staircase is L shaped and cold air doesn't tend to rise?
If I walk down into the basement from upstairs, there is roughly 10 x 10 enclosed room in the basement (with no air ducts), that leads to the main section of the basement. Down in the basement, there is a door between the fully enclosed basement room and the main section of the basement, and I leave it shut, but the enclosed room near the steps still seems much cooler than upstairs (and is as cool as the rest of the basement). Would adding a door at the top of the steps save me much heating energy (prevent cool air from getting up the steps and to the main floor), or would it not likely make much difference due to the shape of the staircase and cold air tending to stay low rather than rising?
Thanks,
Jeff
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Yes, no, maybe, probably, unlikely, depends on the source of the heat, I don't have a clue? Take your choice, the answer is in there. <G>

It would add to the safety, an open staircase is an invitation to fall.
Yes, it would decrease the flow of air from up to down, how much, probably not a whole lot if every thing else is closed up.
If it isn't a problem to use, I suggest adding it.
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