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You might have a point about air currents especially since the cold is not so noticeable when sitting in the chair furthest from the windows.....We haven't tried a thermometer but maybe we'll do that once the cold weather begins (too soon).
I had a window person take a look yesterday, and he felt the windows were not worth replacing. They are only double glazed, with air in between the glass, but they are hung in a 'fancy' way so that they are cantilevered about 6inches beyond the insulated stud wall to form a wide windowsill inside. He thought triple glazing would add too much weight and possibly make some 'evil' stresses because of the cantilever, so even if it helped solve the problem, it could create new, worse issues.
He did suggest that the outer 3 or 4 inches beyond the stud wall to the glazing is probably uninsulated. So each window is like a box projecting from the house exterior wall, and that box itself is not insulated except whatever R value you get from 3 inches of wood. (hope I am explaining clearly). Which I suppose is very bad and maybe not repairable.
So I guess we should thicken the insulation in the crawl space exterior walls, and make sure it is on the inside of the concrete too and not just on the outside. Then insulate the heating ducts if possible so the air that comes out of the heat registers is a bit warmer. But still let some warm air heat the crawl space so the plumbing lines don't freeze.
As for radiant heat, is that the same as electric floor mats that would go underneath the new floor surface? That was my first idea to fix the heating issue but I didn't realize that the heat from the floor would only rise a few inches. But maybe we should do the crawlspace insulating plus the radiant heat since the windows might not be fixable. If you meant something else by 'radiant heat' please let me know...
Thank you all for your input....feel free to keep adding ideas, I really appreciate it.
Chicago Cooperator, PS: did you mean radiant heat at the walls as in an electric baseboard? Is that why you thought it might be ugly, as opposed to it being invisible if under the floor?
With Radiant heat will rise well above a couple inches. It will evenly heat the whole room. Heat will naturally rise and stratefy near the ceiling. For small spaces, floor radiant can be electric pads. But for larger rooms you want hot water heat from a more efficient source such as natural gas. Electric resistance and propane cost about the same however.
Best option is to sealmair leaks, seal ductwork,make sure ductwork is evenly distributing air and sized rigth an dthen properly size the furnace bigger is not better. Oversized furnaces make temperature imbalances worse and are hard to balance between rooms. They will not push air better to farther rooms. Thats a myth.
Thank you Motoguy128.
I think you are saying that we shouldn't discount the use of underfloor electric pads afterall......but that more importantly we have to also fix air leaks and insulate the ducts at the same time, and make sure the furnace is ok, right? Especially since changing the windows does not seem possible without huge modifications to the exterior walls.
Do you think our space (about 110 sq. feet not counting the rest of the kitchen it is part of and which has no heat issues) would be considered small enough to benefit from electric floor pads? From what we've been told, electric mats would be easiest because the area (and crawl space underneath) is quite a distance from our hot water tanks and chimney etc., and it is a really awkward and convoluted route between the furnace and the crawlspace (plus all our basement ceilings are drywalled so access is limited). So I suppose there are a lot of corners and extra-long ducts already, feeding the 4 hot air registers but that can't be helped.
We have had several furnace and duct people in to have a look since we first added the eating area-over-crawlspace 24 years ago. My husband and I are not very knowledgeable so must rely on their expertise, but I think/hope they did calculate the furnace size and and fiddle with the balancing etc and no one came up with the suggestion that anything was amiss, nor did anyone have a solution to offer.
Because of our addition, the room is L-shaped instead of rectangular, and all but the eating area has a full basement under. I put a thermometer on the table and it does seem to be slightly cooler there than on the kitchen counter (which is from the original house so has a full basement plus about 1/4 of the window area as in the eating section) and both those spots are cooler than the hallway which has no exterior walls or windows. Of course it is still "warm" here so probably the temperature difference will show up stronger in a month or two.
I apologize for being so wordy, am just trying to give the best description I can since I don't know how to send a photo. And I am so grateful for everyone's opinion.
Unless I hear differently, I think we will assume that although the ducts and crawlspace etc must definitely be better sealed and insulated (and that can be done at any time), we won't be wasting our money by installing heating pads in the 110 sq.ft. area as long as we do it before the new floor gets installed. And we'll bring in one more furnace man to make sure it is the right size (ps it is not high-efficiency furnace but no idea if it is considered a 'big one'......)
Sorry for not responding earlier. What did you end up doing, if anything? I wonder if there were a way to add insulation to the outside of your window cantilever (sounds like the windows are "boxed" out from the building to create a big windowsill, right). A radiant mat or baseboard (maybe like an oil filled electric panel kind of thing) would certainly help.