|HOME ENVIRONMENT: TEMPERATURE
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
Temperature is one of the most important factors that determines human comfort. In the home environment, this value is controlled by
heating or cooling. There is a narrow range of temperatures that a person feels comfortable at while at rest. Of course, not everyone
will agree on this temperature. Depending on metabolic rate and other factors, the temperature that a person feels comfortable at
is unique for that person. Generally though, a great number of people are comfortable at a temperature somewhere in the range from
69 F to 75 F. This puts 72 F in the middle of this range. One person may feel most comfortable at 71 while another will feel most
comfortable at 74. Activity will help determine a comfortable temperature. After working out, 70 F feels more comfortable than 74 F.
While sleeping, some people like a cooler room while other like it warmer.
Temperature can vary in different parts of the home. This variation will depend on factors such as the outside temperature, position
of windows, how much sunlight is coming through windows, location and energy output of appliances, quality of insulation, fan use,
positioning and energy output of lights, and vent location. Thus, many factors determine the temperature at any position in the
home. When the thermostat is set at 72 F, the range of temperature in various locations in the home can be from 70 to 75 for
example. The location one spends most of the time in a home can determine what temperature the thermostat is set at to make it
comfortable. Here are some factors to keep in mind:
1) locations near appliances (such as washer, drying, dish washer, refrigerator) and near high energy output
lights will be warmer on average
2) locations near the window will be warmer or cooler depending on the weather outside. Cold weather makes locations near
the window colder and warm sunny weather makes window locations warmer.
3) The weather outside will influence the temperature distribution in the home. Cold weather outside will make walls and windows,
that divide outside from inside air, colder in that part of the room. Hot weather will make these walls warmer.
4) A ceiling fan will mix the air and this helps make the temperature differences in the home smaller.
5) If central cooling/heating is present, the vents can be strategically opened, closer or partially opened to help control
what the temperature is in certain parts of the home.
6) Leaks through windows or doors will reduce energy efficiency. Good insulation and no leaks
will help reduce the utility bill.
7) If a home is not heated or cooled adequately, here are some ways to make it more comfortable:
A) Home too hot
*drink ice water
*showering makes it feel cooler
*have a fan on
B) Home too cold
*safely use a supplemental electric heater for room or location that is too cold
*wear warm clothes
*Cook an oven cooked meal since oven gives off lots of heat
*run appliances such as doing laundry