Home Climate: A More Comfortable Home

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Through frigid winter cold and sweltering summer heat, we expect our homes to keep us comfortable within a fairly small temperature range -- around 72 degrees F (22 degrees C), give or take a few degrees. You can't change the weather, but there are factors you can control. A well-insulated, leak-free structure is the first goal. Properly sized and well-maintained heating, cooling and ventilation systems are close seconds. Energy-smart personal habits rank right up there, too.

For starters, see if your local utility company offers an energy-audit service to find out exactly where your home is losing heat. Or do your own audit by moving through your home and searching out all drafts, cold (or hot) surfaces, improper humidity and stale air. When you've located your home’s problem areas, get busy. This section is full of home-comfort ideas. Many low-cost, energy-saving jobs can be done in a weekend, with tools and skills you have, and provide measurable improvements. If you’re remodeling or adding a room, seize the opportunity to make energy-saving improvements.

Common Causes of Cold Rooms

1. Register is closed.

2. Furnace filter is dirty or clogged.

3. Drapes and furniture block heat flow.

4. Ducts are clogged with debris.

5. Ductwork dampers are improperly adjusted.

6. Thermostat is located in a warm area.

7. Duct has too many bends or is undersized.

8. Too few or no cold-air returns exist.

9. Windows are drafty.

10. New addition is designed with too many windows.

11. Attic or walls are poorly insulated.

12. Floor over crawl space is cold.

13. Basement is cold.

14. No air chutes, or poorly installed ones, to vent the roof cavity.

15. Heat loss occurs due to leaks.

16. Floor is uninsulated.

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Ways to Warm Up a Cold Room

1. Open heat registers.

2. Change the furnace filter.

3. Rearrange furniture and modify drapes to increase airflow.

4. Remove or vacuum debris as far as you can reach.

5. Adjust dampers for optimum air-flow.

6. Close registers in close proximity to thermostat or move thermostat.

7. Install larger or more ducts, when possible.

8. Shorten door slightly or add louvers to increase airflow.

9. Caulk and weather strip; add storm windows.

10. Add supplemental heat, like electric baseboards and gas fireplaces.

11. Increase attic and wall insulation.

12. Insulate crawl space area.

13. Insulate rim joists and basement; add more heat registers.

14. Install attic vent chutes to reduce attic moisture.

15. Seal air leaks to attic.

16. Encourage better air mixing with ceiling fan; add pad and carpet.







Updated: Friday, July 27, 2012 5:52 PST