Why Is House Cold With Heating On
You wake up on a frigid morning or come home from work and your house is cold, yet the heater or furnace is on.
You might mumble out loud as you shiver, "Why is house cold with heating on?"
This is the column Tim asked in his January 3, 2018 AsktheBuilder Newsletter if you would share with your friends, family, etc.
Why Is House Cold? Furnaces Can Only Do So Much
Here's why your house is cold when your heating is running non stop:
- Furnaces, boilers and electric heaters can only generate X amount of heat per hour
- Think how shoes, clothes and hats come in different sizes - so to heaters
- Your builder / HVAC man installed a heater sized for an average low temperature in your city/town
Candle in a Warehouse Example
I can explain why you're shivering with this example. Imagine if you had a standard candle and you were in the middle of a large warehouse.
The first thing to remember is there's no way the candle can produce enough heat in one hour to heat up the warehouse to a comfortable temperature.
But put that candle inside a small picnic cooler container and the temperature will get nice and warm in a short amount of time.
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Heat Loss Calculations - This Is The Secret
Another key point is heat loss. Your home has a distinct heat loss each hour. Imagine if your house was 70 F inside and it was 0 F outside.
If your power went out and your heater stopped working, the temperature inside starts to drop. Each hour it gets colder and colder because of this heat loss.
Your home may lose heat faster than a neighbor's home because your home has:
- poor insulation
- many air leaks
- ill-fitting weatherstripping around doors and windows
- lots of windows and doors
It must be remembered that each house has it's own heat loss per hour. A point often overlooked is that your heater, furnace or boiler also can only produce a given amount of heat per hour like the candle above!
As soon as the heat loss per hour is GREATER THAN the heat per hour the heater can produce, your house starts to get uncomfortable. As the outdoor temperature drops lower and lower, it gets colder in your home.
Your Heater Is Sized for AVERAGE Low Temperature
Your heater or furnace is sized according to an average LOW temperature in your city or town.
In other words, it would be wasteful to install a heater in your home that would produce enough heat each hour to heat the giant warehouse we discussed. That would be overkill and waste lots of your money.
Most of the time your heater keeps you comfortable because the outdoor temperature is at or ABOVE the average low outdoor temperature.
Sooner or later bitter cold weather happens and your furnace or heater just can't keep up.
How to Stay Warm in a Cold House!
It's easy to stay warm when your house is cold. Just do the following:
- wear long underwear inside
- put on a knit hat
- wear wool socks
- put on layers inside - even a fleece jacket
- add a SAFE amount of humidity to the air inside your home
These things retain more of your body heat and believe me you'll stay warm!