What is thermal comfort?
Thermal comfort is how warm you feel in your home. However, it is about more than just temperature, and there are many factors which affect it. These are as follows:
The temperature of the air around your body.
This is affected by the quantity and efficiency of heat sources in your property. If you have a radiator in every room, for instance, the thermal comfort will be high at least while they’re on.
Having a window open, or the presence of draughts inside your home, will affect how warm you feel. If there’s no breeze on a warm day, your thermal comfort will be decreased. Conversely, you’re trying to keep warm you’ll want to draught-proof. Here are some tips.
Water vapour in the air can affect how hot or cool it feels.
The more clothing you’re wearing, the warmer your body becomes, meaning your thermal comfort will be less reliant on outside factors.
This one’s easy – the more we move around, the warmer we get. Thermal comfort varies from person to person – i.e older or disabled people, who move around less, might feel the cold more than active people.
Now that we have run through what exactly thermal comfort is, and the factors which affect it, here are a couple of the best ways to manage it.
Insulation is a great way to improve thermal comfort, as it slows heat transfer through building fabric. This means that once y0u have heated your home to a comfortable temperature, it is easier to keep it that way. There are several options as to the material you choose and where you decide to place it. Also, the thicker the insulation, the more effective it will be. The main types of insulation are:
Properties in the UK have either solid or cavity walls. If you have cavity walls, the chances are they have already been filled with insulation. It’s worth checking if you’re not sure, as it’s an inexpensive way to stop heat leaking through walls.
This normally comes in rolls, and is installed either in joists or rafters, depending on whether you want a ‘warm’ or ‘cold’ loft. It’s effective, affordable and can be done yourself. Sheep wool insulation is a great choice, because the unique shape of its fibres helps regulates humidity, improving thermal comfort and discouraging damp.
PIR board – but you lose room space. Recently, a new alternative was launched which gives great performance at smaller thicknesses. Aerotherm is a paste which can be applied to the wall like plaster and stores heat which would otherwise be lost through walls, gradually radiating it back into the room,
External wall insulation wraps your home in a protective coating and cuts heat lost through walls by up to 40%. It helps hold radiant heat in your home, meaning that money spent on heating isn’t wasted and thermal comfort increases.
All of these measures are worth considering to improve thermal comfort in your property as well as saving you money on bills.
How well your heating system works will dictate the radiant temperature of your home, and therefore be a major factor in thermal comfort. There are lots of ways to heat your home, and you can find out more about the different technologies here.
Our favourite form of heating is infrared panels. In terms of thermal comfort, infrared’s radiant heat is more effective than convection heating because it is not affected by air velocity. It heats objects and people directly, meaning that it’s really efficient and draughts do not affect the heat it gives off.