As all Calgary residents know, winters in the city can be brutal. They seem to go on forever, and the temperatures can stay below freezing days, and even weeks, on end. As you look to expand your home with a sunroom, it’s essential that you build with the winter months in mind. You also need to take steps during each fall to maintain your sunroom to keep you warm and comfortable all winter long.
Building For Winter
The most obvious step to take to build a sunroom that is ready for Calgary’s winter is to choose a four season sunroom. This design is meant to be connected to your home’s heating system so that you can heat it when there’s no sun outside. A four season sunroom is also designed for colder temperatures, with double walls and glazed windows. You can boost your sunroom’s winter credentials by talking to your sunroom contractor about:
- Ceiling height – it goes without saying that the bigger volume of air in your sunroom, the harder it is to keep warm during the winter. A-frames or gabled sunrooms have higher ceilings and thus take more energy and effort to heat, while a flat studio roof will keep your sunroom warmer throughout the winter. If you do choose a high ceiling sunroom, ask for a ceiling fan to be installed to help circulate the warm air that accumulates at the top of the room.
- Insulation – wall and ceiling insulation should be a no-brainer for any sunroom being built in Calgary, but you’ll want to check in with your sunroom builders to make sure it’s being added during the construction, as insulation is much harder to add retrospectively. You’ll also want to have conversations about the thickness of the insulation, and what it’s made out of, as both of these will have quality and cost implications.
- Weather stripping – finally, there’s little point in installing double (or even triple!) glazed windows if you don’t add weather stripping around the edge to stop all the heat escaping. Weather strips should be installed with the windows by a professional to make sure you get a tight seal around the edge of the window to block hot air escaping and cold air blowing in.
Maintaining Your Winter Sunroom
Once your sunroom has been built, there are a few steps you should take each autumn to make sure that you’re ready for the Calgary winter. Firstly, go around to check the weather strips, and fix any damage to the insulation on your external doors to trap all your hot air in. Secondly, touch up any external damage to door and window frames, as well as the walls, as the cold winter conditions can make these problems worse. This will lead to bigger repairs once the snow has melted. Finally, make sure your HVAC technicians check the ductwork and heating into your sunroom as part of their annual check up so that you’re being as energy efficient as possible.