Wisdom of adding a sunroom in a hot area


  #1  
Old 01-23-01, 09:44 PM
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Cool

Hi, we live in Sacramento, which normally gets very very hot in the late summer to early fall. At some point in the season it will hit 110 degrees sometimes even higher, with many over 100 degree days. I'm thinking of putting a sunroom addition on the west side of the house which faces an empty horsefield bordered by a line of small trees. Can this be done without creating a huge energy drain? The house is all electric and as you probably have heard, electricity in this area is due to skyrocket in price when we aren't having rolling blackouts.

The options appear to be - having one of those 'sunroom' companies come and do one or have a contractor build us one, perhaps with the fancier glass made to keep the heat out or in. I'm thinking I'd prefer to have a solid barrier between the sunroom and the rest of the house - like maybe folding glass french doors with curtains, on account of the neighbors having full view of the inside of the house as they drive up and down their driveway between our property and the horsefield.

We also have a spa that is currently outside in a small box like container that is falling apart. I'd like to put that into the sunroom and have a new box built around it. I'm wondering if this will cause too much moisture in the room and cause all sorts of problems in the winter with condensation dripping.

Thanks
Kathryn
 
  #2  
Old 01-29-01, 06:24 PM
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Kathryn, I'm 160 miles north of you, and have a sunroom on thre south side of my house. Adding the sunroom won't affect your cooling bills much at all. Just open the windows in it during the summer. (Your summers are milder than ours!) But you will notice a difference in the WINTER. I have a 6' slider between my living room and the sunroom. On a day like today was, or tomorrow is forecast to be, I open that slider and turn on the ceiling fan in the sunroom. I can heat about 1/2 my house with it.

Get several quotes before you decide which company or contractor to go with. What one guy asks $100/s.f. for, the next guy will insist he can't do it for less than $200/s.f. I wouldn't enclose the spa in it. Like you said -- too much condensation in the winter. My spa is under an open flat pan patio cover, and I get "rain" off of the cover at times.
 
  #3  
Old 01-29-01, 09:03 PM
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Do you use your sunroom in the summer? If I am going to put the money into adding a sunroom, I want a room I can use all year round and I couldn't do that in a room with windows open all summer.

It sounds like perhaps it would be better to put an open or screened porch on that side and put the spa there. We've been talking to SMUD (municipal electric company) about their solar equipment program and they were going to insist we re-roof the house to get in, but putting them on a new porch/sunroom roof (or even making them the roof of the porch) was an acceptable alternative.
 
  #4  
Old 01-29-01, 10:53 PM
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Yes, we use our room year 'round. About mid-June I remove both panes of each window, leaving the screens in place. It can't get any hotter in the room than it is outside. With only a 2" wall system and all of that glass, attempting to cool it is out of the question.

A screen room or a patio room for the spa would be a less expensive alternative, and would work just as well.
 
  #5  
Old 01-30-01, 12:05 AM
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Well, that was what my original question was about, whether a sunroom would be impossible to keep cool. A lot of the sunroom companies show examples of sunrooms with large areas of the wall between the sunroom and living room knocked out. I don't see how you can do that in a place that has less than temperate temperatures all year round using glass that isn't double paned.
 
  #6  
Old 01-30-01, 12:17 AM
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We both live in CA. If you install a sunroom or a patio room here, you don't want to take out ANY of the wall between the house and that room. You want to be able to completely shut the room off from the house. That way, it qualifies as a 'patio cover', not an addition to the house. Makes a huge difference, both in what is required as far as meeting bldg. codes as far as energy and electrical requirements, as well as the way it is taxed. Trust me on this one, I build them for a living!

[Edited by lefty on 01-30-01 at 03:22]
 
  #7  
Old 01-30-01, 10:26 AM
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from experience

Hi, I owned a home in Morongo Valley (near Palm Springs). I had a sunroom to the east. I used to open all my windows at night and let the interior cool down. Before the sun rose I would close blinds and windows and doors from the house into the sunroom. The house stayed cool until 2 or 3 in the afternoon when it hit the west wall of the house. I suspect that if I would have had a west room that I could close off that the core of the house would stay way cooler. I think that is the ticket. Thinking of it as a buffer zone that is not in full time use. Also, being able to cool it off in the evening so that the heat doesn't radiate to the rest of the house all night would be a good thing. (after putting on a foam roof..it is flat... and elastomeric coating, the house never needs air conditioning! What I neat thing.)
A second house that I have lived in in S. CA had a porch on the E. a tree on the S. and bath and laundry on the W. When these areas are used as part of an active solar system...the buffer, they very much aided in keeping the core of the house cool. So you may be doing yourself a big favor if you work with nature!
Sounds wonderful, good luck
 
  #8  
Old 01-30-01, 07:20 PM
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Read the "solarium" thread in the 'doors and windows' forum. What J&N said is absolutely right. You need to treat a sunroom or a patio room as a buffer, not a room addition. Suppose if you live in a climate where the temp. doesn't vary more than 15 or 20 degrees from the year's highest high to the year's lowest low, it wouldn't be an issue. CA's central valley IS NOT such a place.
 
 

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