This is why you feel colder at home than outside on the street

This is why you feel colder at home than outside on the street

They are designed to let hot air out to keep us cool, not trap it in so that it's warm indoors

Even though temperatures have begun to pick up again, there’s a reason why your home still feels chilly, says the former director of the  Hong Kong Observatory. 

Lam Chiu-ying said it’s because the buildings in Hong Kong are built in such a way that the inside temperature takes its time adjusting itself. This also explains why your home might have felt warm even though the mercury started dropping last week. 

“When the temperature first [began] dropping, your house would still feel warm because heat from warmer days was trapped within the walls,” Lam said. “The trapped heat is eventually lost because the weather remains cold. That’s when the room temperature drops, which causes a chilly room even though the outside temperature begins to rise again.”

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People are more likely to feel cold when they are at home than in places like an office or a commercial building, said Danny Li Hin-wa, an Associated Professor from City University’s department of architecture and civil engineering. This is because you’re less likely to run a heater or an air-conditioning unit all day long  at home. 

Hong Kong homes are, he added, generally built for heat dissipation, not insulation. That’s because, for much of the year, it’s hot in Hong Kong, not cold. 


“However, if a house is well designed and insulated, it should keep you warm in winter and cool in summer,” Li said. But he added that the government has strict limits on how much heat can be dissipated in a building through its walls. 

To keep yourself warm over the next few days, Lam says you should wear more layers of clothes, and move around more by exercising or doing chores. 

If that’s not enough, then you should use an electric blanket to keep yourself warm, rather than turn on a heater. This saves more energy, he added, as a typical electric blanket will use 60 watts, whereas a heater will use anywhere between 1,000-2,000W.

Edited by Ginny Wong

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Why do our homes feel so cold in winter?


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