rocket mass heater dvd*
Permies likes conservation and the farmer likes making the best of electric heat permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies | World Domination!
Register / Login


permies » forums » energy » conservation
Bookmark "making the best of electric heat" Watch "making the best of electric heat" New topic
Forums: frugality conservation
Author

making the best of electric heat

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Here is what is in my head for energy needed for heating the whole house.  Note that I think it has far more to do with temperature difference than actual temperature.

Further, I think the house is going to be 10 degrees warmer inside if you just close all of the windows and don't turn on the heat.  I think this has a lot to do with lights and appliances and the like. 

The first chart shows how much heat I think is needed to maintain a house at 70 degrees.

The second chart shows how much heat I think is needed to maintain a house at 50 degrees.


[Thumbnail for temp-chart-70.png]

[Thumbnail for temp-chart-50.png]


sign up for my daily-ish email / rocket mass heater 4-DVD set / permaculture playing cards
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
And now I am adding in the personal heat device(s) as yellow.


[Thumbnail for temp-chart-50-personal.png]

                        


Joined: May 26, 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
paul wheaton wrote:
And now I am adding in the personal heat device(s) as yellow.


Is this a chart of temperature vs. time, time being on the horizontal (X) axis?
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
temp v time.  Plus an overlay of kwh of heat used.

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Part of this chart is to show a few elements of the algorithm in my head. 

One is that you get the first ten degrees for free. 

The next is that if the second ten degrees uses 1kwh, then the third will use, perhaps, 3kwh, and the fourth will use, perhaps 9kwh, etc.  There is exponential power consumption to maintain a greater heat difference.



paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
paul wheaton wrote:

heated mouse





The mouse arrived. 

I left the reptile heaters off and after a few hours, my mouse hand did start to get cold, so I pluged in the new heated mouse.

I was worried that 2.5 watts would not generate enough heat to even be noticeable. 

It took about 15 minutes before I could feel it.  After about half an hour, the mouse feels really warm!

I think the mouse is a big win.



charles c. johnson


Joined: Dec 02, 2009
Posts: 369
can i put reptile heater in my ceiling fan fixtures or is that a fire hazard
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
charles johnson "carbonout" wrote:
can i put reptile heater in my ceiling fan fixtures or is that a fire hazard



I think they are safer than 60 watt bulbs.  They put out the same heat as a 60 watt bulb, but the ceramic heaters are a lot less fragile.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
52(A)/57(B)/42(outside)

I went all day yesterday with nothing more than the heated mouse (2.5 watts) and the dog bed heater (15 watts).

My face felt a little cool a couple of times, but not distractingly so.  I think the kotatsu helps to direct heat overflow from the dog bed heater to my face.

Just to be clear:  at 65 degrees without these contraptions, I get too cold and cannot focus on my work.  But if I drop the house temp down to 52, add in a kotatsu and 17.5 watts of heaters, I'm doing fine.  I suspect that when I add in the heated keyboard, it might feel too warm.

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I wrote a long post yesterday and it seems to be gone.  Oh well.

44(A)/49(B)/25(outside)

I heard the heater in my room come on as I was going to bed and as I was getting up.

It was a cold day yesterday.  Ice on the inside of the double paned glass.  On such a cold day I feel it is okay to turn on all the lights and all the personal heaters because that would just offset how often the baseboard heaters come on. 

I plugged in the new heated keyboard...  0.42kwh (according to the kill-a-watt) since 2:20 in the afternoon yesterday to 7:25 in the morning this morn.  420 watt hours over about 17 hours makes it 24.7 watts.  About 25 watts.

So far I like the keyboard.  It does feel really warm.  And the mouse too. 

Yesterday I lowered the 100 watt light bulb over my head.  And my head and face felt really warm.  Too warm.  So I switched to a 40 watt bulb.  And then I fiddled with the height and positioning for a while until it felt just right.  My only concern is that the bulb is now low enough that if I get out of my chair the wrong way I will bump the light.

I then spent the rest of the day yesterday in a very cool room with nothing more than the heated keyboard (25 watts) heated mouse (2.5 watts), the dog bed heater (15 watts) and the 40 watt light bulb.  82.5 watts.  No reptile heaters (60 watts each), no radiant heater (300 watts) and no personal heater (1500/800 watts).






paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I like to think that as countries all over the world try to figure out what to do about energy stuff, they delete their silly light bulb laws and light bulb subsidies, and instead, industry comes out with a collection of low watt personal heaters.  To sell those heaters, industry will advertise how the contraptions earn their keep. 

As these sorts of things get optimized, I can imagine that a person can sit in a 50 degree room and find that they feel too warm using 50 watts from personal heaters, so they turn it down to 40 watts.

I think the chair heater will play a big role.  I think 10 watts there could make a big difference.  Mine looked cheesy and lasted only about six weeks.  My butt and back currently don't feel cold, but I think that conductive heat is the most efficient - and it could raise my core temp enough so that the rest of me could feel quite warm.

I think these changes could save ten times more energy than the light bulb stuff ever did.  Without costing a nickel in government money.


charles c. johnson


Joined: Dec 02, 2009
Posts: 369
paul when i have to work in the cold or the heat i always take Niacin (also known as vitamin B3, nicotinic acid and vitamin PP)  It seems to help and its good for you
Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1286
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  15
Hmm, maybe a lower temperature as a weight loss program would encourage people to try feeling a little nippy.

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/01/lower-the-thermostat-to-lower-sixties-lose-weight.php

Might work for a few days.... about as long as the average fad diet.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I've had some company and have been doing a lot of cooking, and the weather has been a bit mild, so I feel like I haven't reported as much. 

I did turn up the thermostat to 55 for the whole house - and to 65 for the bathroom, while I had company for a week.  But with so much extra cooking and the mild weather, I'm not sure if the heater came on much in most of the house.  While the thermostat was set to 55, I checked a lot of the hose and saw temps around 65 most of the time.

I've been leaving the heated mouse and keyboard on all the time.  I set my guest up with the 300 watt radiant heater and the dog bed heater - both of which were used a lot. 

And for watching movies on the couch - a big ole twin size comforter was a huge success.


                            


Joined: Dec 15, 2010
Posts: 105
paul wheaton wrote:
I like to think that as countries all over the world try to figure out what to do about energy stuff, they delete their silly light bulb laws and light bulb subsidies, and instead, industry comes out with a collection of low watt personal heaters.  To sell those heaters, industry will advertise how the contraptions earn their keep. 



Being frank Paul, it really will not matter much. At the rate of population growth pretty much no matter what we do we are going to have energy problems that are huge in the very near future regardless of conservation methods.

IMHO the only saving grace we have is solar as we are drawing energy from somewhere other than our own planet. Lots of debate exist on the subject, but in looking at the energy requirements per person clearly indicates we have a very serious problem within the next 100 years even with conservation and renewable source methods, we basically have just waited too long to address the problem and surpassed the point of no return many years ago.

No offense to those here, but the greenies have an agenda, capitalism on the emotional subject and marketing of products to stimulate that.

Instead of giving a shit about our grand kids lives, next sunday millions if not billions of gallons of oil, millions of pounds of coal will be consumed so men whom have abused their bodies with modern day chemistry can slam those bodies together as hard as possible while trying to carry a ball less than 300 feet.

In other words, folks only give a shit to the point that it makes them feel good, as soon as they get their high from pretending they have done something, they will forget about it and do whatever it is they are told next. There simply is no "value" in it, not because it is untrue but because folks by and large "value" what they are told they should, few think for themselves and put their own values into place. 


Professor of Thermal and Electrical Engineering, Welding/metallurgy: Licenses: PE license, Mechanical license Variety of other "certifications" from industry groups such as Refrigeration Service Engineers Society http://www.rses.org/, ASHRE http://www.ashrae.org/ Ect.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
All power is solar.  Some is just more kinetic than others.

On the type of solar that gets water to go up a mountain and come back down:  I think the micro hydro stuff can be done cheaper than the photovoltaic stuff.

But that's a whole different discussion for a whole different thread. 

Solutions to our problems are getting forbidden by 27 layers of politics that were put in place not to protect us, but to build profits for a few.  Since I am long past weary of saying "stop being bad" and wish to, instead, build something good, I find myself doing this in a feeble effort to unravel one of these inappropriate layers:  the laws banning incandescent lights. 

The claimed reason for the law is to save energy on a national scale.  And my demonstration is to show how ridiculous that claim is.

I think that over the next 100 years, we will find lots of ways to save energy and lots of ways to make energy that is cheaper and easier.  but, of course, along the way, people need to stand up and point out some of the obvious paths.

(it would help if our government would look out for us, rather than look out for the profits of a few - but that's a political discussion and, thus, not for this forum)

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I have turned all of the thermostats down and probably won't be doing any cooking for a while.  And it is snowing out.  The forecast is calling for sub zero temperatures.

It is now 55 in the house.  I am not bundled up.  I am using only the heated keyboard, heated mouse and the dog bed heater (37.5 watts total).  I'm feeling perfectly comfortable. 



maikeru sumi-e


Joined: Dec 14, 2010
Posts: 312
Len wrote:
Hmm, maybe a lower temperature as a weight loss program would encourage people to try feeling a little nippy.

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/01/lower-the-thermostat-to-lower-sixties-lose-weight.php

Might work for a few days.... about as long as the average fad diet.


Combine kotatsu with several cups of green tea. Presto, toasty warm. Usually it's traditional to sit at a kotatsu, drink tea, and eat soups, spicy foods, and other things. Green tea has a thermogenic effect on the body and increases your metabolism a little, so you crank out more heat, about 100-200 kcals if you drink several cups from what I've read. I've noticed it gives me considerable cold resistance and makes cold days more pleasant and bearable.


.
                            


Joined: Dec 15, 2010
Posts: 105
paul wheaton wrote:
(it would help if our government would look out for us, rather than look out for the profits of a few - but that's a political discussion and, thus, not for this forum)




Was not trying to flirt with the line, more or less playing captain obvious.

My point was less specific than politics, it was far more fundamental actually.

Your efforts in education, if nothing else than trying to stir thought are not the norm.

My point was simply that as long as more folks care about the superbowl than they do about the world they and their kids live in, our problems shall do nothing but increase. Because pretty much so 99% of the population care more about that game than they do conservation of energy, as long as the price is low enough at wally world, they will eat whatever they are fed.

Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1286
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  15
Professor Rich wrote:
My point was simply that as long as more folks care about the superbowl than they do about the world they and their kids live in, our problems shall do nothing but increase. Because pretty much so 99% of the population care more about that game than they do conservation of energy, as long as the price is low enough at wally world, they will eat whatever they are fed.


I agree. I also think that when the dying starts, those who have done what they can to prepare for the future may not really be in a better position to survive. The exception might be those who live in inhospitable places and are already living survival on a day to day basis (unless they happen to be close to a military base). I think farmers will be finding people camped in their fields.... that they may die trying to run them off. Those people themselves probably won't survive as most farmers fields are pretty dead anyway. Interesting times.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
42(A)/48(B)/5(outside)  I can use all the personal heat I want today since the baseboard heaters will be coming on anyway.  But I seem to do that anyway. 

As for the superbowl:  I think one of the permaculture principles is that the problem is the solution.  On a really cold day, bring a dozen friends over to watch a football game and that reduces your heat bill.  And your friends can turn their own thermostats down because they aren't there.

As for people having to choose between the superbowl and saving energy to be better on the planet:  I am not attempting to persuade them to make choices for the betterment of the planet. I'm attempting to offer them choices so that they can save money.  If they have a really big house, the choice might be to save $1000 over the winter.  After a couple of winters, they could buy a big screen TV with the savings.  If they follow my other advice, (such as turning off the lights instead of switching to CFLs) they might save enough to buy lots and lots of beer.

I think these folks do care.  But they are fed a mountain of misinformation, so they are confused.

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
40(A)/44(B)/5(outside)

I kept my personal heat power usage under 100 watts all day yesterday.  I was mostly bundled.  There were a couple of times I thought about firing up a reptile heater, but it would take all of about eight seconds worth of effort (I had sort of moved it to the back of my desk to make room for a beverage or something).  I was using the heated keyboard, the heated mouse, the dog bed heater and my 40 watt incandescent bulb.  82.5 watts.  And the sun came out for several hours and warmed me through the glass, so I turned the bulb off because i was getting too warm.  So for a few hours it was 37.5 watts.

Thermometer B should never read less than 50.  It seems that is outside the boundaries of the experiment.  I turned the thermostat up a little to compensate.  Although I am surprised at how comfortable I've been at these low temperatures with less than a hundred watts of personal heat.

I wasn't very bundled yesterday - I went all day barefoot.  I've added a bit of bundling today:  thick socks and a thick shirt.

I had trouble getting to sleep last night.  I think the heated mattress cover is working only at foot level now.  I just now turned it on and will go down in 15 minutes to see if it is working.

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
The mattress pad heater appears to be working fine.  Although after fifteen minutes it isn't very warm.

So I want to wish for a new mattress pad heater that would work well with what I am trying to do.  I would like the stuff under the covers to be something like 90 degrees in about three minutes.  Maybe even warmer.  It currently draws something like 100 watts and I have the timer set for 30 minutes.  I would much rather that it draw something like 500 watts for the first three minutes and then settle to 100 watts for the remainder of the half hour.

It seems that if I end up taking longer to get to bed, I get to sleep better.  I think this is because if I turn it on, and then brush my teeth and all that stuff quickly, by the time I get in bed, it isn't warm yet.  But if I take a bit longer, it is warm.  I'll experiment with that a bit tonight.
Bradon Wesche


Joined: Dec 20, 2009
Posts: 38
Bradon Wesche wrote:
My bill states I used 675 kWh between 11/23 and 12/28.


My new bill with 100% of my heating coming from the oven says I used 640 kWh between 12/28 and 1/28.  There was basically no change in my usage. 

I'm even more skeptical now about using the oven because I've been keeping half my apartment unheated and still used the same amount of power.  So, for the same price, I can heat the entire apartment with the built in electric forced air heating system.


http://www.bradonw.com
charles c. johnson


Joined: Dec 02, 2009
Posts: 369
maybe you should fill your oven with bricks
Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1286
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  15
charles johnson "carbonout" wrote:
maybe you should fill your oven with bricks

I don't think that would help. The problem with using the oven as a heat source is location, it heats up a portion of the house where you generally aren't. Make a stack of bricks where you sit and put a $35 oven element in the middle and heat the pile and that may help... if you can get 220V to it.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Right, the bricks will store heat, not make more or multiply it.  Now if the bricks were heated and taken to where you were (assuming you are not in the kitchen), that might help. But unless you are trying to create a micro climate in the kitchen I doubt that using the oven for heat will do much good.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3099
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
sew the bricks into your clothes.  personal thermal mass.  the extra effort to move around with bricks sewn into your clothes heats them up.  make sure to place the insulation outside of the bricks.


find religion! church
kiva! hyvä! iloinen! pikkumaatila
get stung! beehives
be hospitable! host-a-hive
be antisocial! facespace
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
40(A)/46(B)/4(outside)

So it seems that my turning the thermostat up didn't change things much.  I turned it up some more.

I turned the mattress cover on a half hour before bed.  That was really nice.  Getting into bed was warm as toast. 

I spent the whole day yesterday, in thick, fuzzy pajamas, with thick socks and 82.5 watts of personal heat and was luxuriously comfortable.  At no time did I feel even a little cold. 

It occurs to me that part of my strategy for saving this much energy is to use a 40 watt INCANDESCENT light bulb as a heat and light source.  And I am saving far more energy using and incandescent light, than any home is "saving" with CFLs. 

ronie dee


Joined: Mar 04, 2009
Posts: 587
Location: Cosby MO
    
    2
paul wheaton wrote:
40(A)/46(B)/4(outside)

So it seems that my turning the thermostat up didn't change things much.  I turned it up some more.

I turned the mattress cover on a half hour before bed.  That was really nice.  Getting into bed was warm as toast. 

I spent the whole day yesterday, in thick, fuzzy pajamas, with thick socks and 77.5 watts of personal heat and was luxuriously comfortable.  At no time did I feel even a little cold. 

It occurs to me that part of my strategy for saving this much energy is to use a 40 watt INCANDESCENT light bulb as a heat and light source.  And I am saving far more energy using and incandescent light, than any home is "saving" with CFLs. 




So at this time are you recommending incandescent lighting in winter and another light for summer?


Sometimes the answer is not to cross an old bridge, nor to burn it, but to build a better bridge.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
The best light in the summer is sunlight.

I use only incandescent light all year.  Although I am a big fan of LED nightlights. 

I use the 40 watt bulb to give me light and heat in the winter.  I use that same bulb, further away, to give me light in the summer for the two or three hours in the evening that I need light.  In the summer, that 40 watt bulb for two hours a night is costing me about 12 cents per month.  It is possible that I could switch that to CFL and get that down to about 8 cents per month, but frankly I find the quality of light from an incandescent better, and the incandescent feels cleaner (less toxins in my home). 

Here's a thought:  why is the incandescent bulb being banned, but the humvee isn't?

                            


Joined: Jan 26, 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Asturias - Spain
paul wheaton wrote:Here's a thought:  why is the incandescent bulb being banned, but the humvee isn't?


You can't scare other drivers out of your way with a bulb.

Just *half* kidding.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
paul wheaton wrote:
40(A)/46(B)/4(outside)


Paul, I think you reached a new low      

(2 degrees F here outside)

I really don't know how you do it?  I spent the morning in the workshop resawing and planing boards. It took two hours for the wood stove to raise it from 15 F to 50 F before I started. I was still cold/cool even though I had long johns under the cold weather work clothes. More power to ya'.
ronie dee


Joined: Mar 04, 2009
Posts: 587
Location: Cosby MO
    
    2
The sunlight is best all year for energy. Incandescent lights have a place as do Humvees. I don't use incandescent in the summer unless it is a use that is where the bulb comes on for a short while then right back off. I had to turn my incandescent light off last night as the wood stove was hot and the incandescent was putting off too much heat.

It is easy to see where you can be comfortable with just warmers and the incandescent light. (And fuzzy slippers.)
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3099
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
paul wheaton wrote:
Here's a thought:  why is the incandescent bulb being banned, but the humvee isn't?


I understand that this is probably a rhetorical question, but the answer seems pretty clear to me.  a great many North Americans' identities are very much tied up in automobile ownership.  what they drive is an expression of their freedom.  automobiles also hold a special place in the public psyche as a primary example of formerly great domestic industrial production.  for those and other reasons, automobiles are just short of sacred in this country.  far fewer people have much emotionally invested in the light bulbs they choose.

those aren't good reasons, but our political process rarely requires sound reasoning.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
43(A)/49(B)/11(outside)

I spent half of yesterday bundled and warm as toast.  Then I changed and went into town for errands.  When I came back, I wasn't bundled.  The tops of my legs were a little cold and I put a throw on my lap sometimes.  I probably should have gotten bundled or turned another personal heater on.

I heated the bed up a half hour before going to bed.  Getting into bed was luxurious and I fell right to sleep.

I really don't know how you do it?  I spent the morning in the workshop resawing and planing boards. It took two hours for the wood stove to raise it from 15 F to 50 F before I started. I was still cold/cool even though I had long johns under the cold weather work clothes. More power to ya'.


One big advantage I have is that I spend most of the day in the same spot. 

I wonder how your shop would feel if it was a wofati shop.

Incandescent lights have a place as do Humvees.


I agree. 


Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1286
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  15
mtnDon Miller wrote:

I really don't know how you do it?  I spent the morning in the workshop resawing and planing boards. It took two hours for the wood stove to raise it from 15 F to 50 F before I started. I was still cold/cool even though I had long johns under the cold weather work clothes. More power to ya'.


What was the temp of the walls? If you got the air temp to 50, but the walls were still 15, your body would be still radiating heat to the walls as if the air was 15. Paul's walls will be 50ish because he keeps the temp pretty constant. If your walls have any mass at all (gyroc) or no insulation, their temp will effect how warm you feel more than the air temp.

Its funny, We talk about mass heaters and the effects of radiated heat, but tend to forget cold masses are very effective at sucking out heat too. I wonder if tin foil on the walls would make your shop "feel" warmer.

I wonder if a better electrical heater might be a brick "coffee table" with an electric heater element hidden inside.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
My workshop:

The permanent residence is on a table top flat desert mesa. No slope at all for wolfati methods. The property is also not huge, it is suburban and as such is subject to the usual array of building codes.

Conventional stick built, well insulated, lots of mass with workbenches, tools, machines etc, so yes when it cools off it takes time to warm all the mass. The walls and contents started out at 15. It is doubly worse when I roll a vehicle inside to work on in winter. Then it needs an overnight warm up. It would be better/nice to keep it warmer all the time but I don't use it everyday. I do have solar air heater collectors (fan driven with its own PV panel) that usually warms it and the house. But this was a bad time as we had been cloudy for several days in a row with lowest temps in a long time. Normal winter temps with normal sunny days keep everything in there above 45. But with many consecutive cloudy days there is no net gain. This morning the sun is finally out and the fans have kicked in twice already. But it's so cold they are not supplying much heat yet. (note to self: if winters continue to be this cold, (a) insulate the backs of the collector boxes better, or (b) move.

The big difference is I don't stay in one spot I guess, coupled with the fact that I am one of the heaters for the space. It's not a fair comparison.

                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Len, I don't see how a brick/heater setup would help. It would provide a nice warm mass, but it can't multiply the effect os the watts used by the heater. Might be nice to warm your feet on though.


Sort of on topic... Anyone with an electrically operated refrigerator knows that it gets cold in the box because the heat is moved from the box interior and dissipated into the room. So some of the energy used to run the refrigerator helps heat the room. Here in the winter desert that is welcome. But here in the summer desert that is most unwelcome. Refrigerators do throw off a lot of heat when it is in a warm/hot room. I have a Rube Goldberg solution.

This may void your warranty.  Our refrigerator has the condenser coils located underneath. Some are on the back, some are under the metal skin. maybe that is only freezers; not sure.

I vent the heat from the condenser coils outside the house in summer. The refrigerator sides have rubber gasket material between the refrigerator and the cabinet alcove sides. Air to remove heat from the bottom mount coils enters from the front bottom, flows over the coils and then up the back and out over the top of the refrigerator. This is normally done by simple convection. This warms the room.

There is a wall cabinet above the refrigerator. I have a panel board (baffle ?) that I use to block off the space between the refrigerator and the cabinet bottom. The cabinet contains a squirrel cage fan. It is ducted to pull air from that space above the refrigerator and send it into the attic. In summer I insert the panel. When the refrigerator compressor runs the fan comes on and blows air out the vent pipe. That causes fresh air to slip in under the fridge bottom and flow over the condenser coils removing heat.

The key to this is the control box. The box is plugged into the wall receptacle. The refrigerator plugs into one port and the fan power cord into another port. When the control senses a power draw it turns on the fan. The only annoyance is the control senses the light coming on every time the door is opened. This helps immensely in summer as the heat is sent out of the room rather than place more load on the house cooling system.

The control is actually one that is made to turn sawdust collectors on and off as the machinery is turned on and off. (table saw, shaper, band saw, anything that makes wood dust in a workshop). Good power woodworking tool stores should stock them. I've had mine for probably 20+ years by now.

Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1286
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  15
mtnDon Miller wrote:
Len, I don't see how a brick/heater setup would help. It would provide a nice warm mass, but it can't multiply the effect os the watts used by the heater. Might be nice to warm your feet on though.


That is correct, watts in is watts out. I want to try it, but my thought is that normal electric heaters (baseboards, portables etc.) are convective and heat the air. Even an oil filled radiator relies on convection to heat the air. The idea of a high mass coffee table is to heat people by radiation so they can be comfortable at a lower air temperature. For this to work, the heater would have to be in such a position that most of a person in the room would be facing the heater and their back side was insulated. The living room situation with people sitting on couches  (where most fireplaces are BTW) seems to fit that idea, and the coffee table seems to be in the right place. The dining room table might work as well, but most dining chairs are open back. Perhaps a reflective wall might help (light coloured paint might be enough). A desk? A bed? Paul is already doing both, but not using mass. I do not know if there is an advantage to using mass with more power but shorter run time over lower power all the time. The advantage I see, is that mass can (if built that way) spread out the shape of the radiator. This would mean a greater angle that heat is radiating toward a person's body. This means less angles for the body to radiate heat away.

A person standing in front of a window (no curtains) in a heated room when it is cold outside will feel colder on the side facing the window because their body can radiate to the cold objects outside. The effect is most noticeable with light or no clothes on. Perhaps clothes that collect radiated heat towards the body, but do not transmit heat away (selective coating like they make for solar panels?) would help.

I would like to try it at some point... I am just thinking what sort of heating element to use and what mass to use... Cast iron might work well. The mass can't weight too much as the floor has to be able to support it. Masonry heaters have their own foundation for this reason.

Paul has the right idea, heat people, not air.
 
 
subject: making the best of electric heat
 
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books