A sunroom can be a wonderful addition to a home—a bright and attractive space that combines the best of both indoor and outdoor living. However, during our complex Tennessee Valley winters, a sunroom can become downright unlivable, as well as having a negative effect on your energy bills. So, to get ready for winter, here are a few suggestions for keeping your sunroom comfortable and your wallet happy.
Most sunrooms are not designed with a full HVAC connection. In the south a ceiling fan is all that is needed most of the year. For a few months each year, though, a little more is wanted to add some warmth. Consider adding an independent heating source. Like a ceiling fan, it can be easily installed and only used when needed. There are several designs out there from a faux fireplace to a variety of space heaters. A space heater is great for those evening spent relaxing on your porch in the winter. Just remember to never leave one unattended.
Keep It Moving
A ceiling fan or two, depending on the size of your sunroom, can make the room feel more comfortable on those cool days by circulating the warm air from the rest of the house. For these cool days, you can reverse the direction of the fan to help keep the room warmer.
Pull Down the Shades
Yes, shades can actually help to heat a room with a lot of windows. Reflective blinds or shades can give you more flexibility in letting in or keeping out heat and light. According to the DOE, highly reflective blinds can decrease the amount of heat coming in by up to 45%. For the best results, the DOE recommends reversible shades, where one side is a light, reflective color and the other side is dark. On warmer days, the light, reflective side stops the sun’s heat from coming in. On cooler days, you can reverse the shades so that the dark side absorbs heat from the sun while keeping your home’s heat from escaping.
See Also: Lower Your Energy Bill This Summer
Keep the Cool Air Inside
Clear caulk around window frames and weather stripping around doors can prevent your air from leaking out and sneaking in. If possible, depending on your sunroom’s design, insulation above the ceiling and under the floor can also make it more energy efficient.
See Also: Do Windows Impact House Temperature
If you have an older sunroom, you may want to consider investing in a major upgrade to more energy efficient windows. The Residential Energy Services Network recommends that sunroom windows have a “U-factor” less than 0.3, while standard single pane windows generally have a U-factor of 1.1. Energy Star-rated windows are available and sometimes qualify for energy efficiency tax rebates. Not in your budget? Add some storm windows to your existing windows. Though not as effective as new windows, these can still help insulate a sunroom. Good news is it can help protect your home in the warmer months too!