(first in a series of building envelope fixes for your home)
The battle of the thermostats reaches its peak in the dead of winter (and in the dog days of summer if you air condition – but that’s a whole other blog). [bctt tweet=”The fight to be energy efficient and comfortable can get a little heated – pun intended.” username=”ecoinsulation”]
Whether you are the one shivering in your sweater and slippers that bumps the thermostat up a degree or two, or the one glaring at the heating bill and turning it down, you are both right. The temperature should be fine, but it still feels cold!
So what is at work in your home that makes this happen?
Let’s start by pretending that your home is air tight. No drafts at the windows and doors, electrical boxes sealed with vapour barrier, no cracks or gaps around plumbing or HVAC at all. No air barrier transition issues. (In a perfect world 🙂 )
MYTH: heat rises.
If heat was a simple element that transferred in one way, this would be easy (or at least easier). However, heat moves in tricky ways: Conduction, Convection and Radiation. BUT it always wants to travel from warm to cold.
Since we have eliminated the idea of drafts, we can eliminate Convection.
Convection: The movement of heat through fluid/moisture (in the air). So drafts would have been moving over our skin cooling it down.
So lets move on to Conduction and Radiation…
When we look at you, the heat registers in your floor and the room around you we can see various elements of heat and cold that cause this movement.
[bctt tweet=”The thermostat tells us the air temperature is 72° F but it says nothing about your body temperature, walls, windows or floors. ” via=”no”] Each of these interact with each other through Conduction and Radiation.
Cold floors suck your heat out of your feet through Conduction. But slippers didn’t solve the problem because more than your toes are cold. Some days it feels like the chill is right into your bones.
Radiation: Every object radiates heat BUT the amount of heat they give off depends on their temperature. If one surface is colder than the other, it pulls the heat of the warm surface toward it. And YOU are that warm surface. There are surfaces all around you and they have a huge effect on your comfort.
The least comfortable homes are those with single pane windows and no insulation in their walls. And yes there are a lot of these still out there. If your home was built in the 60’s or before, this is probably your home! These walls and windows are perpetually cold all winter long no matter who is winning that thermostat war.
What can you do today? (or How to feel warm in a warm room)
- You really can put a sweater on.
- You put a decorative screen between you and a cold wall.
- You can close the drapes on that beautiful picture window (when the sun is not beaming on it)
All of these will put a warmer surface between you and the cold wall or window meaning your heat gets to stay where it belongs – in you.
But what is the real solution? (because there is one)
We need to warm up those cold surfaces. You just need to make sure your building envelope has good insulation and air sealing. At Eco Insulation we offer a full free building envelope assessment from drafts to penetrations to insulation to see what the problem is and the best solution for you and your home.
We can Dense Pack your walls with cellulose insulation and usually be in and out in a day. No gutting required just small holes from the interior or exterior to blow comfort right into your home.
Find out if that is what your home needs – and don’t forget rebates for energy upgrades are still available – whatever your income. We also help with drafts 🙂
*if you want the full geeky answer to how this works Google: “Building Science and Mean Radiant Temperature”.