Planning on Building a New Sunroom?
If you’re planning on having a sunroom built in the near future, knowing your options to properly ventilate, heat and cool your sunroom will ensure that it will be a pleasure to use in any season.
If you already have a sunroom, there are options for adding to, or upgrading your ventilation system. Some options are economical and have energy savings, making some changes worthwhile.
Ventilation and Temperature Control
Having proper ventilation in your sunroom is one of the most important aspects in creating comfort. Along with cozy furnishings and a beautiful view, being able to create proper air flow will greatly aid in creating a relaxing and peaceful environment.
Proper ventilation and temperature control are related in most respects. Helping to move the air, with regards to heating or cooling your sunroom, often happens simultaneously depending on the tools used.
Air Vents and Fans
When building a sunroom it can be a good idea to have air vents in the ceiling to allow rising hot air to escape. Placing exhaust fans in the vent makes the air escape faster. Utilizing your air vents and fan during the summer heat can do a lot for keeping your sunroom properly ventilated. If you have an existing sunroom without vents, there are many other ways to mitigate the heat.
Fans placed on the ceiling are a very useful way to circulate the air. The great thing about ceiling fans is that they can be used both in summer and winter. In the winter, simply reverse the direction of the blades’ spin to clockwise. This causes the warm air at the ceiling level to be circulated throughout the room. It’s also an economical way to both slightly cool and heat your sunroom.
Using a window fan is another economical way to cool your room. This uses less energy than an air conditioning unit. You can save your energy guzzling system for the hotter days and nights. Some fans come with a thermostat which can be set to turn off when a certain temperature is reached and also turn on when the temperature rises above that preset temperature. This offers even more energy savings.
Having window screens is a really simple and very important way to ventilate your sunroom. Fresh air from the outside can come into your room but without the insects that we all want to avoid.
Nowadays, you can purchase screens that repel water, dirt and debris making screens easy to maintain as they stay clean longer and last longer. Also, screens are now being manufactured with a high visibility so that you can enjoy the outdoor scene without obstruction.
Have pets? Many screens are also constructed with this in mind, proving to be very resilient to bites and scratches.
While good quality window panes don’t create air flow they have much importance in keeping hot air out in the summer and keeping warm air inside in the winter. Windows are a big consideration in a sunroom. They are the heart of the room. So you deserve the best you can afford.
Nowadays single paned glass windows are a thing of the past as they don’t provide much heat, cold or sound protection. Insulated window glazing refers to windows with two or more panes of glass. For fairly warm climates, like Texas, two panes of insulated glass is probably sufficient. They are called insulated windows because there is a space between the glass, but they are sealed around the edges.
Consider Low Emissivity Coatings
Low emissivity (or low-e coatings) on glass are done at the point of manufacture. These coatings control heat transfer. Glass with this coating will better insulate your sunroom than non-coated glass. They help put heat back into the home in the winter months and reflect heat to the outside in the warmer summer months.
While windows manufactured with low-e coatings cost a bit more than regular windows (about 10% more) they reduce energy loss by at least 30% and even higher. Another plus is that they greatly reduce discoloration to your furniture and flooring because they reduce the UV rays of the sun.
There are differences in low-emissivity coated windows depending on the climate where you reside and the manufacturer. Be sure to ask your builder or manufacturer for the correct type for you. Also, it is important to record the details in case you need to replace a pane later. Due to different levels and colors they can be difficult to match.
If you already have a sunroom filled with glass windows but they don’t have a low emissivity coating you may be hesitant to change the glass panes due to cost or other reasons. But there is an alternative. Instead you may choose to add tinting to the panes of glass. This will help to block some of the heat of the sun from the room and much of the harmful UV rays. This is a plus for your flooring and furniture as well as it will lessen any discoloration and fading.
The frames around your windows don’t just hold them in place, they also contribute to the insulation in the room. Here are some of the best materials for insulation. Fiberglass and vinyl frames are considered the best for insulation.
Wood is also quite good. Look for composite wood frames. They tend to be durable and they don’t expand or contract with shifting weather patterns.
Blinds generally have the purpose of providing privacy and help cool down a room by reducing how much direct sunlight gets in. Blinds are unique in that they can let in a certain amount of sun and light by being partially open and still give a certain amount of privacy.
When using blinds, it’s a good idea to also have a ceiling fan, especially on hot days. Heat can get caught between the glass and blinds. This heat will then rise up (heat always rises) and then fill the room with hot air. A ceiling fan will force the hot air downwards. Fans also placed closer to the floor will help cool the descending air as well.
Insulated (Thermal) Drapes
Insulated drapes or thermal drapes filter out all natural light, and act as a sound barrier to the outside, but mostly they can help to save on energy and be useful in the hot summer and the cold winter. In summer, they can be drawn during the hours when the sun is at its most intense. They are made of double or triple layered heavy fabric.
In winter, they can be used to reduce the amount of heat lost in the colder seasons. This is a cost effective way to cut down on heating and air conditioning costs.
A space heater is another simple and affordable option to heat a sunroom but won’t by itself eliminate drafts. It’s likely you’ll need more than this option to make your sunroom comfortable such as insulated windows and thermal curtains.
If you have air conditioning in the rest of your home but your HVAC system is not powerful enough to accommodate your sunroom, try leaving the sunroom door connecting to the rest of your home open.
Or, a portable air conditioner can be effective as well. Make sure you know the square footage of your sunroom to match it to the size and power needed for the air conditioner.
In this type of heating/cooling system, each room is considered to be a “zone”. Each zone has its own unit of heating and cooling. It’s not controlled by a central unit. Advantages of this system are that it tends to be quiet, small in size and efficient. You can cut cooling costs by 30 percent and heating costs up to 60 percent.
When building a sunroom there are certain aspects that can be done inexpensively and don’t need much consideration. With regards to proper ventilation and temperature control, you will want to ensure that you get the top quality and proper construction done. This will ensure your sunroom is functional throughout the entire year and will last for years.
Sunshine Sunrooms has been helping homeowners design and build beautiful sunrooms since 1993. We offer individualized services based on each of our client’s specific budgets, vision and needs. Call us at (972) 243-5390 for all your sunroom design, construction, and repair needs or contact us online to request a quote.