Finding a Comfortable Climate This Winter for your Entire Family

Finding a Comfortable Climate This Winter for your Entire Family

Posted by
Ed Miller on Fri, Oct 18, 2013

families keeping warm Jacksonville

It often surprises people from further north that, here in Jacksonville, we have an annual average of 15 days a year when the minimum temperature is below freezing. Happily, those extremes dictate a home comfort strategy that’s very similar to the one which keeps us cool through the summer; good insulation, and a trustworthy AC Jacksonville FL -based maintenance company. There are other variables, though, that are important to finding a comfortable indoor climate this winter for your entire family.

Balancing Act

We all need to be comfortable at home, rather than competing with indoor air that we’ve paid to treat. We don’t want to be too hot or cold; to experience too much humidity or too arid an environment. Various schools of thought suggest different levels as ideal for ambient air (and different people have different tastes, of course), but most agree it’s somewhere in the region of at 45 percent humidity, and 70 degrees temperature.

Temperature

Temperature is perhaps the easier of the two variables to affect, at least for most of us. All we need do is change the setting on our thermostat. We increase the number on the read-out, or slide the control a little to the right, and our home becomes warmer in the winter. After experimentation, most people find that a point between 68 degrees and 75 degrees is most comfortable.

Humidity

Humidity is a more complex issue, although at its simplest it is no more than a way of describing the amount water being held in the air around us. ‘Relative humidity’ is a measure of that vapor expressed as a percentage of what air at any specific temperature can hold. Because warm air holds more water vapor than cold air, the balance between ideals of humidity and temperature often alters with the seasons. While all locations dehumidify using AC Jacksonville FL has a unique climate, which mandates unique considerations.

There’s no ‘ideal’ level for indoor humidity, but once again there is a rule-of-thumb: The typical range that most commonly makes us feel comfortable is between 30 and 50 percent. Too high, and allergy sufferers experience increased discomfort; too low and dry skin and breathing difficulties may occur. During cold weather, higher levels of indoor humidity will probably cause condensation on windows and doors, which can result, over time, in structural damage. It will also encourage infestations of mold and mildew, and the musty smells that go with them.

Measuring existing humidity levels is easy; devices called hygrometers are available at reasonable prices from some hardware and department stores, and from most home-improvement warehouses. Humidity can then be increased using a humidifier, or decreased using a dehumidifier. Both pieces of equipment can be purchased as free-standing appliances, which are portable and thus able to serve different rooms at different times, depending on your family’s occupancy habits. Whole-house controls can also be installed into your AC Jacksonville FL system.

The Whole Family

In so many ways, children are not simply small adults. They have comparatively more body surface area for their weight, for instance, so they gain heat faster than grown-ups when surrounding air temperature is higher than that of their bodies. Exercise and play heats them up faster, and farther, than it does an adult who’s joining in. At the same time, their smaller bodies pump less blood, so the amount of heat moved to the skin’s surface — from where it can dissipate — is relatively lower.

Younger bodies have fewer sweat glands than older ones, and those that do exist are less efficient. The evaporation of sweat, then, is a less-efficient modifier of internal temperature in children than it is in adults. Dehydration is another important factor; kids’ core temperatures soar far more swiftly than do their parents’, which — with a comparatively less effective sweating system — can cause a potential perfect storm of overheating events.

Children also have a higher metabolic rate, so generate more internal heat — up to a quarter more, some studies suggest — when active. And there’s more to it than metabolism. Because kids’ movements are typically less refined than adults’, they’re comparatively inefficient at converting effort into effect. Once again, this results in their generating more internal heat than a fully matured person.

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