Freezing in Fresno

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“Ask The Experts” is written and provided by Scholarship Media. It does not reflect the views of The Collegian or its advertisers.

My dad’s a savvy guy, so when he heard that my friends and I were looking for an off-campus apartment, he decided to buy a property near the school and rent it to us. He figures he’ll hold onto it for a few years after I graduate and keep making a little cash renting it out. It’s not a bad idea, but I don’t know who he’s going to find to rent this place when we leave, because it gets way too chilly in here! At night, it’s kind of miserable walking from my bedroom to the bathroom on the cold tile and hardwood. Maybe I’m just a spoiled California guy, but I think there’s something wrong with this place. Any guesses as to what?

When there’s a problem with a building’s indoor temperature, the first and most obvious place to look is at the HVAC systems. Heating and air conditioning are tricky systems, and it sounds like the one in your father’s building may not be working as it should. And even in California, you do need a reliable heating system. We asked the experts, and HVAC service pros told us that debris and dust are a big cause of problems for heating units. Check and clean things like the vents, filters, and coils.

Beyond this, your father could choose to remodel with comfort in mind. It sounds like there is an awful lot of cold flooring surfaces in your space. Home remodeling pros suggest carpet as a room-warming alternative. Experts say that carpets don’t transfer energy as efficiently as hardwood or tile. In your situation, this is a good thing, because heat won’t move as quickly from your feet to the floor when the floor is carpeted–meaning that it won’t feel as cold to you.

Whatever the solution, it’s important that you keep your apartment at a reasonable temperature. Your health relies on living in a comfortable environment, and the list of bodily systems affected by hold cold or hot you are is long: everything from your skin to your heart reacts to temperature changes, and while the worse effects are reserved for the most extreme temperature swings, even moderately uncomfortable situations may be bad for you in the long term. Experts say that the temperature can even affect your ability to make complex decisions (the sweet spot, they say, is cooler temperatures–but not too cold, of course).

So what temperature should your apartment be? That depends on what you are doing. Experts suggest 68 degrees for sleeping, for instance, but the Department of Energy suggests going as high as 78 degrees in the summer and as low as 68 in the winter, with the goal, naturally, of saving energy. You can save as much as 10% per year with this advice–but first, of course, you’ll have to get your apartment’s HVAC systems in order and your rooms to a liveable temperature!

“Nothing burns like the cold,” – George R.R. Martin

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