Replacement Windows and Heating
LESLIE: Nancy in Connecticut has a question about radiant heat. What can we do for you today?NANCY: Yes, hi. I have a sunroom that was once, I think, an outside porch and it’s enclosed now. But we have two walls that are – it’s on a corner of the house and they’re like half-walls and the rest are windows.TOM: OK.NANCY: And we’re on the water and it gets really, really cold in there because I think underneath the floor is just a dirt – you know, about two feet – I think it’s raised about two feet off the ground and …TOM: So this room – this whole room is not heated?NANCY: Oh, it is heated right now. There are three walls of baseboard heat.TOM: OK, is it electric baseboard?NANCY: No, it’s tied into the oil system.TOM: Do those baseboards get really warm? I mean do they do a good job?NANCY: They do get warm but they’re not warm enough to …TOM: Just not enough. Yeah, with all the windows and everything it’s just not doing the job. OK.NANCY: (overlapping voices) Exactly. And then the one wall is – there’s only one wall that’s really against a heated room.TOM: Right.NANCY: The other wall is against an unheated garage.TOM: Right. Well, I mean you have two choices: you can either put in more heat to make up for the very inefficient room …NANCY: Right.TOM: … or you could put the money into the room by making it more efficient.NANCY: Mm-hmm.TOM: I would vote for the latter. Rather than see you overheat the room – your radiators are probably fine – you might want to think about the windows or the walls at this point in time. You know it’s a good time to do replacement windows because the government will actually give you a 30-percent energy tax credit if you buy qualifying windows, so you can actually get a good chunk of the expense covered by the tax credit. So I might suggest that you consider what you can do to make this room more efficient, Nancy, rather than improve the number of BTUs you’re dumping into it to make up for the inefficiency.