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making the best of electric heat

 
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paul wheaton wrote:Crazy idea #185:   One of the problems with any convective heat is that you end up with a whole bunch of heat near the ceiling and very little near the floor.   It gets layered.   Air at the ceiling could be 20 degrees warmer than the air at the floor.   One solution has been to have a ceiling fan that sorta runs backwards - it pulls air up to the ceiling, thus slowly pushing the warm air down.  



 
Earl Mardle
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paul wheaton wrote:
Crazy idea #185:  One of the problems with any convective heat is that you end up with a whole bunch of heat near the ceiling and very little near the floor.  It gets layered.  Air at the ceiling could be 20 degrees warmer than the air at the floor.  One solution has been to have a ceiling fan that sorta runs backwards - it pulls air up to the ceiling, thus slowly pushing the warm air down. 



The ceiling fan is a great idea. I used to have a home with an exposed beam chapel ceiling. All the heat ended up trapped in the space above the beams. We put in a ceiling fan and ran it gently during winter. You don't need to run it backwards, it normally pushes air down anyway, but does it enough to create a breeze that makes you feel cooler. By running it slower you just push the warm air down to create turbulence and the cooler air naturally circulates and equalises the heat in the room. It also pushed the warm air about the whole house, it was about 1200 square feet.

We also had dreadful condensation so we bought a dehumidifier and after running it for a solid week when we first had it, it needed only a few minutes each day to keep the air dry enough to reduce heating inputs. Dry air needs less heating than moist and the dehumidifier also slightly warms the air as part of the process.

Working the two together we could heat the whole place with only one bar of a gas heater. If we could get a dryer heat source than the gas we might have been able to reduce the dehumidifier use as well.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:
heated keyboard (25 watts)
heated mouse (2.5 watts)



Hello

These two items got horrible ratings at Amazon. Are they still functioning for you?
The mouse in particular is made by a company that seems to be selling a 90 days(!) warranty for 10 dollars(!), and the company seems not to be playing nice with users who give bad reviews.

 
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I have since ditched that heated mouse and tried another that was sucky in another way. I am on to my third, which is holding up quite well so far.

The keyboard is working fine with one small problem: they letters on the keys I use the most often have worn off.
 
Jason Broadrick
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paul wheaton wrote:I have since ditched that heated mouse and tried another that was sucky in another way. I am on to my third, which is holding up quite well so far.



Thanks. You may want to update your article then, because I was about to buy it on your recommendation!
 
paul wheaton
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Jason Broadrick wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:I have since ditched that heated mouse and tried another that was sucky in another way. I am on to my third, which is holding up quite well so far.



Thanks. You may want to update your article then, because I was about to buy it on your recommendation!



The article gets so little traffic, and the total purchases for the year are so close to zero ... I have a hundred other things that turned out to be a higher priority.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:The keyboard is working fine with one small problem: they letters on the keys I use the most often have worn off.



Are the worn out keys "Ctrl" and "Z"?

How big of a contributor to the "Heat bubble" effect are the keyboard and mouse? Maybe an heated hand rest would have a similar effect. I did a quick search and found that one. Not sure how good it is though.
 
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Ctrl is gone. Z is looking okay. A, S, C, V, N, M, E and O are gone.

I once tried to write them back in with a sharpie, but that wore off after a week or so.
 
pollinator
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paul wheaton wrote:Ctrl is gone. Z is looking okay. A, S, C, V, N, M, E and O are gone.

I once tried to write them back in with a sharpie, but that wore off after a week or so.



My keyboard from 286 days still has all it's legends. I have to use an adapter to make it work though. It has real switches and nice feel. It was "cheap" at $60 at a time when normal keyboard price was $120. Of all the keyboards we use it is the favorite.
 
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Most ceiling fans have a directional switch. You want to push the warm air down directly to the floor, past you body so you feel warm. Not draw the cold up. past you. Let the cold air draw up on the walls. In summer reverse the blades motion. Draw the cold up from the floor over you and let it return down the walls. This is how to use ceiling fans effectively.

Blankets on the wall like they do in Russia do help.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:Ctrl is gone. Z is looking okay. A, S, C, V, N, M, E and O are gone.

I once tried to write them back in with a sharpie, but that wore off after a week or so.



Use a small sharpened nail to scratch the letter into the plastic then use the sharpie. The letter will last a while longer!
 
Daniel Morse
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Ceiling fans have a switch. In the winter you have the blades push down the heat. In the summer you reverse the spin to pull up the cool (yes this really workes) so the hot air goes up and around the room to cool better.

For heat Electric IRpanels work so well.
 
pollinator
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Daniel Morse wrote:Ceiling fans have a switch. In the winter you have the blades push down the heat. In the summer you reverse the spin to pull up the cool (yes this really workes) so the hot air goes up and around the room to cool better.



Actually, it should be the other way around. In summer you want the air to be forced down and the higher the temperature the higher the fan speed. During winter you want to reverse the fan direction and operate at a low speed. During summer you want to move air at a high rate, and there is less turbulence when the fan forces the air down. During winter you want to gently move the air to prevent thermal layering.
 
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Marcos Buenijo wrote:

Daniel Morse wrote:Ceiling fans have a switch. In the winter you have the blades push down the heat. In the summer you reverse the spin to pull up the cool (yes this really workes) so the hot air goes up and around the room to cool better.



Actually, it should be the other way around. In summer you want the air to be forced down and the higher the temperature the higher the fan speed. During winter you want to reverse the fan direction and operate at a low speed. During summer you want to move air at a high rate, and there is less turbulence when the fan forces the air down. During winter you want to gently move the air to prevent thermal layering.



I find that is very dependent on the room and where you are sitting in it. If you sit around the edges of the room you want the fan to go the opposite as if you are sitting directly underneath it.
 
Marcos Buenijo
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R Scott wrote:I find that is very dependent on the room and where you are sitting in it. If you sit around the edges of the room you want the fan to go the opposite as if you are sitting directly underneath it.



Yes, it certainly depends on specific circumstances (like the configuration of the room and fan design). However, the standard industry advice is to push the air down during summer and pull it up during winter. However, it is often recommended to reverse this operation with very high ceilings. Basically, I believe most settings will see superior results with the conventional methodology (push air down during summer, and pull air up during winter).
 
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>One of the problems with any convective heat is that you end up with a whole bunch of heat near the ceiling and very little near the floor. It gets layered. Air at the ceiling could be 20 degrees warmer than the air at the floor.

This might be a myth. http://www.builditsolar.com/Experimental/StratificationTest/stratificationtest.htm shows tiny air temp increases with height. Rich Komp says gravity vs diffusion can make a positive difference over thousands of feet, but it seems to me that a room with a heat source near the floor would have a cooler ceiling in wintertime, as in a thermal chimney...

cfm = 16.6Asqrt(HdT), right? So Q = 16.6Asqrt(H)dT^1.5 Btu/h, approximately. Hence, an 8' 70 F R16 cube with a 20 Btu/h-F conductance above the floor would need (70-30)20 = 800 Btu/h on a 30 F day. If air from the floor rises up to the ceiling in a 4 ft^2 central column and 800 = 16.6x4xsqrt(8)dT^1.5, the ceiling could be dT = 2.6 F cooler than the floor, in the center of the room. OTOH, the air near the floor might be cooler than the ceiling near a wall, after it cools and falls in a square toroidal convective loop.

Nick
 
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You can get stickers to replace the letters on the keys.
We used a set at work to convert a keyboard from standard US to Russian for our export department.
I see you can even get glowing ones now, might help reduce the light needed while using the computer.

paul wheaton wrote:Ctrl is gone. Z is looking okay. A, S, C, V, N, M, E and O are gone.

I once tried to write them back in with a sharpie, but that wore off after a week or so.

 
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Max Kennedy wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:Ctrl is gone. Z is looking okay. A, S, C, V, N, M, E and O are gone.

I once tried to write them back in with a sharpie, but that wore off after a week or so.



Use a small sharpened nail to scratch the letter into the plastic then use the sharpie. The letter will last a while longer!




And then a tiny bit of clear coat nail polish.
 
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Certainly a length topic which I admittedly haven't read all of. But this winter in our 1300 sq ft home we shut off the back addition and keep the hallway bathroom door closed. Effectively we gone from heating 1300 sq ft to 1100. The stove also as GK Chesterton suggest serves multiple functions. It provides warmth, keeps clothes dry, warms food, and serves as gathering place for conversation. All of which are generally energy conserving activities.
 
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I spotted a clever invention on a You tube video. It is a device to move warm air from near the ceiling back down to floor level. It consisted of a home made (pretty) cloth tube about 4" in diameter with a 12v computer fan fixed to one end of the tube. The fan end was suspended from a hook close to the ceiling and the open end of the tube dangled near the floor and the feet of the inventor.
 
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Running the fan with PV would help bring down the energy and environmental costs of using typical grid electricity.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:

Crazy idea #184:  Wouldn't it make sense to increase the amount of stuff in your home to the point that there is less air to heat?  Kinda like how a fridge works more efficiently when full.  Heating 10 cubic meters of air has to be way cheaper than heating 100 cubic meters of air. 

No.

I can only speak from my own experience and I believe the opposite of this is true. I lived in a house with way too much stuff and furniture in it for many years. Big modern house with very lovely high ceilings, a very nice wood stove, ok wood insert and a forced air furnace. It was ok to heat but took a lot of wood or high furnace bills or both and still a little cool and drafty at times. Then when we decided to sell the house we removed 80-90% of the stuff and furniture to put the house on the market. We had it on the market from November til February (winter in Washington state). That house was so snug and warm and easy to heat with the one stove and only a little back up from the furnace (natural gas bill was $15 per month).

I also noticed this at my dad's house when we he moved.

I think it takes a lot more energy to heat up all the cold stuff than to warm open flowing air.

Of course my inner hippie wonders if there is perhaps something to the "stuck" or stagnant energy of all that stuff and clutter vs. the free energy exchange of all that open space.


 
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I just spent over an hour writing about my experiences trying these techniques this past winter in my own home, with both successes and failures, and when I tried to submit it, the entire post was completely lost due to an error!
 
Creighton Samuels
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I moved into a house on a mini-farm this past August with my wife and five kids. House has an existing propane force air furnace, and I added a woodstove. In December, I bought some heated mattress pads for my teenagers and my wife (& myself), with fancy electronic controllers. I didn't buy any for my toddlers, because the twin boys cannot be trusted to leave the controllers alone, due to an abunance of buttons and lights. No one makes one that can be 'locked' in any way.
 
Creighton Samuels
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Also, no one seems to make any such thing for a baby bed; probably for sound reasons. My infant was fine all winter, though, because she now has a set of 'sleep sacks', which are a cross between a blanket, sleeping bag and sleeveless jacket; intended to go over the pajamas. No one seems to make these things for toddlers, though, and my boys are notorious for kicking off their winter blankets overnight. We often find them curled up into a ball, or cuddled up together in the same bed (or in the closet, with carpet).
 
Creighton Samuels
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Also, I've not done anything towards the daytime micro-heaters. Additional incandecent lighting around the kitchen table and counters would help there, but additional lighting isn't going to work for the couch. Does anyone know of a cushion heater?
 
paul wheaton
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So I got my stuff entered in a race about saving energy. Vote for me!

http://homeplanet.maker.good.is/projects/microheaters


 
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#192 Eat lots of butter and put on a couple extra pounds to stay warm. [has any one done a price calculation of cost for putting on pounds and reduction of heating/or electricity. (how many pounds extra = to how much warmer you would be. or is this just completely ridiculous? ]


 
paul wheaton
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paul wheaton wrote:So I got my stuff entered in a race about saving energy. Vote for me!

http://homeplanet.maker.good.is/projects/microheaters



I win!

http://homeplanet.maker.good.is/projects.homeplanet
 
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Congratulations!
 
pollinator
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Yay! Paul, you won!!! And thereby infected more brains!!!
 
pollinator
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Hey, hey, congratulations....Would have won if it had been done properly too...ie checked out by engineers.
 
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Congratulations, Paul – Permies rule! Did you win a prize?
 
steward
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According to the website, he gets a Nest thermostat (super fancy thermostat) and a featured "Do" on Good.is

Congratulations, Paul! Also, maybe thousands of new views for the video, that educates and directs people here, to permies.com

Excellent.
 
Diana Robertson
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Thanks, Julia - yes, hopefully some new folks will learn about Permies and permaculture!
 
paul wheaton
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Diana Robertson wrote:Congratulations, Paul – Permies rule! Did you win a prize?



I declined the prize.

I was kinda hoping they would have a ticker tape parade or something. I found out by going back to the website.

 
Julia Winter
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I can see why you wouldn't want the fancy thermostat, but you're going to take the publicity prize, right?
 
paul wheaton
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Julia Winter wrote:I can see why you wouldn't want the fancy thermostat, but you're going to take the publicity prize, right?



There's a publicity prize?
 
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