The holiday season is fast approaching and it’s once again time for family and friends to gather and celebrate. If you're hosting guests, you want to keep your home cozy and comfortable, infused with the aromas of home cooking and maybe even a glowing fire in the fireplace. But, that cozy atmosphere can quickly turn to an overheated house as it fills with people.
So, how do you keep that warm welcoming feeling while making sure your guests don’t get overheated and run for the nearest snow bank? Here's a guide for choosing the ideal thermostat setting for company.
When Things Heat Up
During the holidays, cooking, dishwashing, and bustling activity can heat up a home pretty quickly. And you might find it surprising how much of that heat comes from your guests. “People give off heat ranging from 350 to 650 BTUs per hour depending on what they’re doing,” says Keith Hill, resident HVAC expert. (By comparison, one old-style incandescent, 100 watt light bulb emits 340 BTUs.) “Sitting and chatting or dancing the polka are two completely different heat outputs, plus the moisture from perspiration and breathing add to the warming effect. When a large group gets into full swing, it’s not unusual to have an overheated situation.”
Start with a Lower Temp Setting
Before your guests arrive, start by setting your thermostat a few degrees below the normal setting. Run your furnace blower continuously to keep the temperature as even as possible throughout your home. As guests begin to arrive and activity picks up, the temperature will naturally rise.
Strategically Place Fans
If you’re expecting a large turnout or you have areas of your home that tend to heat up more, a well-placed fan or two can help. Direct the airflow from floor fans upward. That will help mix the cooler air at floor level with the warmer, rising air and contribute to a more comfortable feeling.
Keep Exhaust Fans Running
Speaking of fans, definitely keep your kitchen exhaust fan running to vent as much heat as possible. It’s also a good idea to keep bath fans running to help compensate for the additional humidity that comes with lots of holiday traffic.
An HRV and Zoned Heating Can Help
If you have a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), make sure it’s on. This can help move air and provide a small amount of cooling. If you have zoned heating, then you can vary the temperature in different rooms. This can be really helpful if you have family members or guests who prefer warmer or cooler temps because you can be ready with rooms of varying temperatures to provide ideal comfort for everyone.
If all else fails, you can always use the tried-and-true method of cracking a window or two. Just be aware that, depending on the outside temperature, this method can cool things down pretty quickly or produce unwanted drafts. Open windows that aren’t in direct line with major activities (like the holiday dinner) and close them again as soon as possible.
Stay Comfy wishes you and your loved ones a peaceful and joyful holiday season. And while we know no one wants to deal with heating issues during the holidays, if it happens, we're here to help.