What Makes Your Home Comfortable?



Heating and Cooling at Home

 

Home sweet home…Home is where the heart is…There’s no place like home…

There is a difference between a house and your home! A house may be made of bricks, wood, stone or even glass, but only your “home” gives you that one-of-a-kind sense of comfort.  Sure, it helps to know that your clothes are in your closet, your comfy chair is reserved just for you, and family pictures line your shelves. But behind the scenes, the indoor temperature often has a lot to do with the overall comfort level of your home and family.

As you can imagine, extreme indoor temperatures don’t help to create a comfortable home. So if you don’t want to brush your teeth while wearing mittens or cook dinner in oppressive heat, you need to pay a little attention to your heating and cooling system. If you do, your system may provide years and years of indoor comfort so you can live your life…comfortably.

Your Ideal Indoor Comfort

 

Every person’s ideal indoor temperature setting is unique. You probably know someone who starts sweating at 75°F and another that shivers at the thought of 74°F. The good news is that advanced programmable thermostats or HVAC control systems allow you to customize your ideal temperature according to your preferences and schedule! By pre-programming temperature settings that align with lifestyles and preferences, homeowners can create an environment that makes their family most comfortable…and potentially save money in the process.

However, there is more to your ideal indoor comfort than just temperature. Indoor humidity levels have a lot to do with that “just right” feeling. According to the University of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Health & Safety, “Elevated relative humidity reduces the body’s ability to lose heat through perspiration and evaporation. When this happens, individuals may perceive temperatures to be higher than they actually are.”1

While high indoor humidity may make you feel uncomfortable, air with low humidity levels can also impact your comfort as well. “Low relative humidity can cause discomfort due to drying of the nose, throat, mucous membranes and skin. This commonly happens in the winter months.”2

Like a person’s ideal indoor temperature setting, there is considerable debate surrounding the most comfortable indoor humidity levels.  In general, the humidity levels recommended by various organizations may range between 30-60%.3 If you sense that your indoor comfort is being sacrificed by extreme indoor humidity levels, contact your licensed professional HVAC dealer for possible whole-house solutions.  

Indoor Comfort Advancements

 

Heating and cooling system manufacturers continue to pursue individual technologies that may collectively improve your overall indoor comfort. HVAC systems that include variable-speed drives, advanced HVAC controls, and additional mechanics will continue to provide additional options for homeowners who prioritize indoor comfort. 

 

For example, HVAC equipment with variable speed fans automatically adjusts the amount of heated or cooled air blown through the vents into your indoor spaces. A system with this option gently ramps up or down according to heating or cooling demand, minimizing the temperature peaks and valleys often found with the ON/OFF cycle of a single-speed unit. When your interior spaces reach the pre-set temperature on the thermostat or HVAC control system, the lower speed fan may maintain that set temperature longer than if the system turns off. This allows for steady comfort in your home.

To discover available HVAC technologies that are designed to improve indoor home comfort, discuss the various options with your licensed professional HVAC dealer.

Maintaining Cool or Cozy Comfort

 

Properly maintaining your HVAC systems not only protects the equipment, but it may also protect you and your family from extreme indoor temperatures. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about their indoor heating or cooling system until it isn’t making them comfortable. That can lead to inconvenient and expensive fixes! 

The good news is that a well-maintained gas furnace, air conditioner or heat pump is less likely to break down during the peak season. To keep your central heating and cooling system operating when you need it most, a licensed professional HVAC dealer should perform routine, seasonal maintenance. 

Over time, lapses in annual maintenance may impact the delicate balancing act between the HVAC equipment, air flow, and mechanics. If components are not functioning as designed, the entire system may be affected and impact longevity and efficiency. Routine maintenance may extend the life of your HVAC equipment and possibly prevent minor issues from turning into expensive major problems over time.4

As with most anything, if you take care of what’s important, it should take care of you.

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1,2,3 Safety, University of Connecticut Department of Environmental Health &. "Thermal Comfort in Office Settings." n.d. The University of Connecticut EHS. http://ehs.uconn.edu/docs/Officecomfort.pdf. 7 December 2017.
4 Maintaining your Air Conditioner. n.d. <http://energy.gov/energysaver/maintaining-your-air-conditioner>.