2011 heating season…

… has just begun – this very evening on November 10.

After a cold and breezy day with the occasional snow flurries, we decided that we should turn the heat on.

The thermostat had been turned off since late April and the batteries were dead. No problem. I replaced the old batteries with rechargeable ones I had handy and turned the thermostat back on. To my surprise it still remembered the programming from this spring.

Up until now, the indoor temperature still hovered around 65 degrees, but began more often to drop below this comfort threshold.

When we moved into the garden apartment at the end of February, we had no idea what a comfortable thermostat seting would be. We quickly found out that 65 degrees was perfect, even though it sounds sort of cool.

The radiant floor and the our insulation assembly make a big difference. The maximum temperature fluctuations throughout a day (24 hours) did not exceed 4 degrees. In other words, the temperature at night rarely dropped down to 63 degrees and rarely climbed above 67 degrees during daytime and the evening, unless we did a lot of cooking and baking.

To maintain this temperature range, the heat came on briefly in the morning and again during the early evening. That was it.

Most of us are used to forced air system, that tend to cycle on and off several times during an hour because of constant temperature fluctuations. These are mostly caused due to poor insulation and a drafty building envelope.

Further adding to the thermal discomfort is the uneven heating profile of forced air, i.e. uneven distribution of the heat throughout the space.

Considering these factors, 65 degrees does not only sound cold, it would also feel uncomfortably cold. I have experience it, and I am sure you have too.

However, with no noticeable or rapid temperature fluctuation, no cool drafts, and a modestly radiating floor slab, 65 degrees is very comfortable indeed. So, when we looked at a sad 63 degrees this late afternoon, we decided to open the 2011 heating season.

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.