Dog Days of Summer: In Which Things Get Steamy on a 3-Season Porch


Sweating much? Hot and sticky, with high temps and almost oppressively uncomfortable humidity, Mother Nature has been pretty busy keeping deodorant companies in business and hair frizzed. Maybe she’s making her case with you for choosing a 4-season porch over a 3-season, too.

This time of year, a 3-season porch (often called a sun-room) can get to feeling like a clone of the outdoors or, worse, like a sauna. Things like ceiling fans, room location, and window placement can sometimes help with warmer days but only to a limited extent—and aren’t enough during sticky hot days like we’ve been having of late. Who wants their sun-room rendered useless during this brief, beautiful time of lush green, singing frogs, and fireflies twinkling at dusk? Certainly not a bunch of Wisconsinites who just emerged from a long winter and a bleak spring!

Adding a 4-season sun-room—or converting your 3-season room—is primarily a matter of your contractor using the right insulation, glass, and HVAC to create a space fortified for year-round comfort:

  • In a 3-season room, the windows are typically single-pane and offer minimal energy efficiency. Meanwhile energy-efficient, high-performance windows are used throughout the entirety of a 4-season room. They make for minimal loss of radiant heat in the winter, and in the summer, a reduction in UV rays and heat.

  • Many people think of insulation only in terms of keeping the heat indoors during cold months, but done right, it also helps keep the heat outdoors during hot ones. In 3-season rooms there is little to no insulation. The additional insulation found in the walls, roof, and floor of a 4-season room mean you will never be at the mercy of sultry hot days like we’ve been experiencing lately.

  • The 3-season room’s lack of insulation also means that an added HVAC unit can’t work quite as much magic as it does in a 4-season room. For the same reason, the unit will be ineffective on those extra-chilly days that pepper Wisconsin autumns and springs, too.

If you’re more of a fireside person in winter—not one to curl up with hot cocoa in a roomful of windows so you can watch the snowfall—it could be tempting to assume a 3-season room is all you need. Just remember Mother Nature makes no guarantees. Sometimes even the supposedly mild seasons could render that room a bust for days or even weeks at a time. If you’re thinking about a sun-room addition, give us a call. We’ll be happy to talk you through all the factors and options to consider before you take the leap!