How do we keep our sunroom-turned-bedroom insulated?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ November 25, 2013 ~ Comments

We just had our second baby and are converting our sun room to an extra bedroom - it's perfect just as long as the weather is not too hot or too cold. How could we turn this hot and freezing room into a third and cozy bedroom?


Jeffrey Anderson

Lynn, when considering changing any room into a bedroom, the first issue that should be examined is whether proper egress can be met. Check with your local building inspector or inspection office to find out what your jurisdiction's requirements are. Since the room is a sunroom, it shouldn't be too much trouble meeting egress even if a few of the existing windows need to be replaced.

I would imagine that if the room was designed to be a sunroom, the exterior walls don't have much insulation, if it's even there at all. How about the windows in the room? If there are a lot, and many sunrooms have quite a few, then filling in some of the openings might be a good idea. Sunrooms often have windows that aren't very efficient as the room may not be used during the colder months. I suggest removing the existing windows and closing off many of the openings. Where you want windows to remain, replace them with newer energy efficient models - make sure the clear openings meet egress requirements and that issue should be resolved as well. If the exterior walls are four inch, they should have at least R-13 insulation.

As far as heating and cooling the room, it sounds like there may not be any conditioning of the space at all right now. Again, that's not unusual as most sunrooms are only used during the warm months. My suggestion would be to have an HVAC contractor do an inspection of your existing system and to determine the new bedroom's requirements for heating and cooling. It may be possible to run one or two new supply lines to the room off of an existing trunk line (assuming that your existing unit can handle the additional load).

If that's not a possibility, there are quite a few options for supplemental heat, and if needed, air-conditioning. Electric baseboard heaters can often be added without too much cost or trouble and it wouldn't take many to heat a small room. A through the wall split type system might also be an option. An HVAC contractor will take into consideration the size of the room, number of windows, and your local climate to determine just how much heating and cooling is required.

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