Many people opt to convert a deck or add on a 3-season porch to their home to maximize their living space. Since 3-season porches have lots of windows and fewer walls, they can really help families enjoy the outdoors while being free from bugs, rain, or sun. However, heating and cooling the space can be one drawback because of all those windows that let indoor air escape. So what options do you have? Read on for our advice on heating and cooling your 3-season porch.
Use Portable Heating and Cooling Units
If you are using your 3-season porch regularly (throughout each season except winter), then you’ll know that seasons can be unpredictable; nice summer breezes one day, rainy and cold the next, and scorching and sunny after that. Because of that unpredictability, most people don’t keep their 3-season porch open to the rest of their home, since it’s not as well insulated and not as efficient at keeping warm or cool air inside.
Many homeowners will use portable heating and cooling devices, like portable ACs or space heaters to supplement comfort on those unpredictable days.
These can do the trick but can be pretty inefficient in the long run, and after prolonged use, can cost a lot more than something more permanent. In fact, according to MNEnergySmart.com, when used to heat a whole home or business, gas furnaces cost 43% the cost of using electric space heaters to heat the same area. So really only use it when it makes sense or think about another option.
A small fan can help give you some relief and circulate air without much extra cost.
Make Use Of The Windows And Window Dressings
Window treatments are not only great for making your 3-season porch look nicer, they are also great at blocking the sun on a hot day, and letting heat generate in the room, like a solarium or greenhouse, when it’s cooler.
According to the Department of Energy, highly reflective interior blinds when completely closed and lowered on a sunny window, can reduce heat gain by around 45%. That’s a lot of heat prevented from steaming up your porch. Also, using caulk or weather stripping around the window can significantly reduce air leakage and help keep the comfortable air in.
Think Of Turning It Into a 4-Season Porch
This is an obvious one, but it has to be said. If you are going to the trouble of heating and cooling it regularly, why not add some insulation and a proper heating system so you can use it even more. This is obviously more costly, because you may need to retrofit new windows, redo flooring and walls, and buy a more substantial HVAC system, but there are many HVAC options for a stand-alone room.
Radiant heating can help heat your room but can be costly to install. It’s a floor warming system that generates radiant heat through the use of pipes and heated water.
Zoning And Ductless HVACs
You may want to install a ductless HVAC system, sometimes called a mini-split system. These are smaller units that have a wall-hung unit connected to an outdoor unit. Mini-splits are good for zone heating when you only want to heat/cool the porch when in use and keep it apart from the rest of your home’s heating and cooling to minimize energy loss. It uses a separate thermostat so would be essentially a different climate zone in your house.
For even more options, feel free to talk to the folks at StayComfyMinnesota.com and we’ll give you some ideas of what you can do next to ensure your porch is enjoyed for years to come.