Q - We remodeled our old attached garage into a den. It gets plenty of heat, but in the winter we feel cold near the outside brick wall. We like the appearance of the brick. What should we do to feel warmer? L.T.
A - You feel chilly because of radiant heat loss to the cold brick wall. Even though the room air temperature is high enough for comfort, your body is radiating heat to the uninsulated cold brick wall. The brick wall is quickly conducting that heat outside, so it stays cold.You have two general options to reduce this problem. You either have to keep the wall warmer with external insulation or cover the inside of the brick wall to block the radiant heat loss to it. Just hanging opaque drapes a couple of inches from the wall often helps.
The drapes stay fairly warm because the heated room air is circulating around them. Therefore, your body won't be radiating heat directly to the cold wall, but to the warmer drapes instead.
Although you feel warmer, that uninsulated brick wall is still robbing you of a lot of energy dollars. Adding rigid foam insulation board covered with siding, to the outside walls will keep the entire wall warm and reduce the heat loss. There are also special complete retro-fit external wall insulation systems with a durable stucco-type coating.
Another option is to make movable interior insulating wall panels. One set of the insulation panels can slide behind the other so you can have at least half of the attractive brick wall exposed when you prefer.
You can easily make attractive indoor movable whole-wall insulating panels yourself. This entire wall system consists of four simple panels that are filled with 3/4-inch-thick rigid foam insulation board.
You can cover these panels with any attractive facing material to match the decor of your room. The center insulating panels slide on tracks. To close them, you just pull and slide them out from behind the stationary end panels that are attached to the walls and floor.
These insulating panels should totally eliminate that cold feeling, and the energy savings can help pay back the material costs. In the summer when they are opened, the center half of your brick wall and your windows are exposed for natural ventilation.
If you still prefer the entire brick wall exposed, mount all the panel supports with screws, not nails. Then you can simply remove the panels and store them in your new garage until next winter.
You can write to me for UTILITY BILLS UPDATE No. 358 showing do-it-yourself instructions and diagrams for making sliding insulating wall panels. Write to James Dulley, The Deseret News, 6906 Royal Green Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244. Please include $1 and a self-addressed STAMPED BUSINESS-SIZE envelope.
Q - I am trying to figure how large a furnace I need for my house. I had a heat loss analysis done, and I want to determine how much heat is given off by electrical appliances? B.P.
A - You are referring to what is called intrinsic heat in a home. It is waste heat from electrical appliances, lights, hot water and your own body heat. With a large family, it can be a substantial amount of heat.
You can calculate the heat given off by appliances and lights by multiplying the wattage ratings by 3.41 Btu per hour (BtuH). For example, a 100 watt light bulb gives off 341 BtuH. A 1,200 watt hair dryer gives off about 4,100 BtuH.