5 Things to Remember When Designing Your Comfortable Home

New Living Room

What is the definition of a comfortable home? Good design, comfy furniture, beds or floor coverings? Or does it really define the occupant experience from a more basic physical sense?

When I talk about a comfortable home I talk about a home that ‘lives better’; a home that  it comfortably warm in winter, cool in summer with an even temperature distribution  from floor to floor and room to room‎.
I grew up in a home that had the thermostat in the main living room (set to 62 Fahrenheit) and every night my dad would light the living room fire which would keep the thermostat satisfied most of the night; I could see my breath in my 3rd floor bedroom in the winter and remember doing my homework with a winter coat on. This was not considered unusual and was just what we got used to. My dad finally put storm windows on and things improved somewhat. To this day, I can’t sleep in a warm room.

Master Bedroom

Sometimes I don’t think things have improved that much. When I question people about how really comfortable their home is they will start to admit that some rooms are too hot and others too cold. Even in a new homes today a standard heating and cooling system can be very limited in delivering a consistent temperature throughout the home; temperature variation by floor can be as much as 5-8 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately as the building code has mandated that we build more  energy efficient homes this problem is getting worse. While a revised standard for the proper design and installation  of heating and cooling equipment reflecting the changes in energy efficiency of homes, (CSA F280 2012)  has been in place since 2012 and referenced in both the National Building Code and The British Columbia Building Code it is not being used, in a large part because the software typically used in BC has not yet been updated to reflect the new CSA F280 Standard.

How does this impact you and what can you do about it? Here is what I recommend:

  1. If your heating and ventilation contractor is not designing using the new standard have a certified Energy Adviser do a room by room heat loss analysis;
  2. This can then be used to not only assist in the duct work design but will also identify the total design heat loss for the home. This number should then be used to size both the heating appliance as well as the ducts that deliver warm and cool air to the rooms in the home.

What benefit will there be?

  1. You will find that you can buy a smaller furnace (saving on cost).
  2. The right sized furnace and duct system will properly deliver the right amount of conditioned air to every room;
  3. Your home will be uniformly warm in winter and cool in summer;
  4. Your humidity levels will be kept at the optimum level resulting in a cleaner smelling more comfortable home with greatly reduced risk of condensation on windows and elimination of the risk of mold or mildew;
  5. You may discover that you could design a home that does not need cooling.

The importance of a right-sized heating and cooling system are not well understood, particularly by builders and unfortunately by many designers and installers. If you would like to learn more about how to build a comfortable home please give me a call 604 967 1142. This is what we are all about, building healthy homes for happy families.

Cheers,

Bob

Posted: Thursday, October 01, 2015