How to Achieve Thermal Comfort at Home
Climate change grew over the years into a very serious problem and we all feel it. Overheating affects big cities transforming them in genuine hotpots with building walls burning in the summer. When cold weather strikes, buildings that are poorly insulated are more likely to lose heat. Attaining thermal comfort in these conditions can be a challenge, as it implies many elements that need to be taken into account. Environmental factors such as temperature, air velocity or humidity correlate with personal factors (clothing, acclimatization, state of health) and the way these are adjusted influences the level of comfort.
Thermal comfort is a subjective matter and it is generally hard to please everybody in the house, but here are some ideas of how to adjust the elements around you to please most of them.
1. Consider insulating your walls to reduce heat loss
Proper wall insulation can work miracles. Not only that it will keep your house warm in the winter and chill in the summer, but it may also reduce the noise that comes from outside. Exterior insulation is usually preferred as it doesn’t affect the size of the living space. It dresses your house like a coat and promises to reduce up to 40% of heat loss. In the long term, this can be a profitable investment. It will reduce costs with heating and save you good money.
Interior insulation can be considered, but it is rarely used because it reduces living space. Before installing it, you should make sure that the walls are perfectly dry or mold may form between them and the insulation. The advantage is that interior insulation will increase your privacy. Every wall can be insulated, even the ones between the rooms.
2. Try to maintain humidity to a comfortable level
Dry air affects everybody from small children who may struggle with congestion to adults experiencing skin problems and static electricity. Low humidity can also damage your wooden furniture by making it shrink. Consider using a whole house humidifier to keep an even degree of moistness throughout your entire residence. Make sure to choose one to fit the size of your house. For houses with a high level of humidity, a dehumidifier is recommended.
3. Ventilation is important
First of all, check if the vents in your bathroom and kitchen are clear and functioning properly. These rooms tend to get humid and improper ventilation can lead to mold growth. If you plan to insulate the floor, avoid blocking the air bricks. These have the purpose of keeping your floorboards from rotting.
A ceiling fan will make the air circulate inside your house, thus helping remove traces of smoke or allergens.
If you have air conditioning installed at your house, turn it on. It also helps keep the air clean by circulating it and, if you remember to change the filter regularly, no odors or allergens will bother you.
4. Invest in a good heating system
There is nothing worse than suffering of cold in the winter, so make sure that your heating equipment is functioning properly. If it is old and tends to break down often, you may consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient one. It would also be a good idea to check that it has a way of adjusting the heat, to get the temperature you need. Radiators can be placed around the house ensuring a warm environment and they do not require very high maintenance. A radiator warms the existing air creating natural circulation of currents in the room. For a more rustic aspect, you can choose a fireplace, but it will only warm up the place where it is installed. A combination of heating sources can be a good idea as well.
5. Help your body adjust by wearing the right clothes
Wear seasonal clothes. Natural materials like cotton, silk or wool let your skin breathe and help you avoid overheating. If you plan on doing chores around the house or some other physical activities, take into account that you will soon start sweating and dress accordingly.
In spring and autumn, temperatures tend to change suddenly and they can jump from high to low or otherwise in just a second. Being at home when this happens is an advantage, as you can put more adequate clothes on whenever you need it. Still, sometimes we get caught in our activities and may not notice that our body is suffering from overheating. A little pause from time to time may help you reassess your clothing situation.