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making the best of electric heat  RSS feed

 
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Yes, you get to be a featured "Do" on the Good.is home page and probably will go out on their daily email. I'm still getting daily emails from them since you asked us to sign up ages ago for some reason I can't remember. I tend to glance at the headlines and click through maybe 5% of the time. It's how I found the story about the man who planted trees in India--they frequently pull stories from an Indian good news site.

So if you sent them a blanket denial, maybe you should write back and ask about being featured as an example of a good thing to do. (Save money on heating via small conductive heat sources.)
 
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Way to go Paul !! We can say we knew you when ... I'm trying to go a summer without using our A/C unit in Las Vegas ... the opposite ... trying to stay cool in the heat ... which is crazy I know .. but it needs to be done ... maybe i should ask Permies here about some techniques ... its 111 today here ... gonna be 113 & its 97 inside .. only using one fan to cut down on electricity usage ... i also want a small bill .. or no one will notice ... haven't implemented all the permie ideas i hope to in the next year or 2 ... so it has been a struggle ... but we gotta teach people a different way ...
 
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There's a publicity prize?


Yeah Paul. Good thing we are here to let you in on this stuff. Even if it isn't a large number of people. Your are sure to see a large number of the participents signing up for the site. CONGRATS!!!
 
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I just read your piece on CFL's. It's well researched and I've decided I can trust you. I cut my lawn with my battery-op lawnmower on max height today!

Just one question about the heat produced by incandescent lamps: I thought that only a portion of the 100 watts used was emitted as heat. The agencies pushing CFL's put it at 90% as heat and 10% as light. I suspect that 90% is inflated, but whereas a 100W lamp produces light with that energy, it can't be producing a full 100W of heat, too, can it?

Also, I live in the Boston area and heat with a Natural Gas boiler. This boiler heats domestic water as well as heating water for baseboard heat. I use a gas clothes dryer and gas stove/oven, too. I do this because it's much much cheaper to use gas here than it is to use electric. How does the availability of gas heat affect the payback here? My instinct tells me that it's cheaper to use the central heat than it is to use electric personal heaters, but I'm not totally sure. I do make my own electricity with solar panels, but in the short days of winter I'm still buying electricity from the utility company. I have a 3.2 kW system.
 
Julia Winter
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I got the email today that links to Paul's videos about saving energy by heating yourself rather than the whole room!

It was the Daily GOOD for July 09, 2014 "Creative Solutions for Living Well + Doing Good." and it called the list "Top links shared by fellow members:"

--Make More, Waste Less: Five energy saving projects for a more efficient home. magazine.good.is

. . . plus five more topics. I followed the link (removed when I copied and pasted here) to HERE.

And then on to this page. where Paul's specific idea and links to his video and a video of his TEDx talk live.

So, share the links to those who might like to see them, and keep an eye out for new traffic. . .
 
master steward
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Hmph. I thought I was *the* winner. but that makes it look like I came in fifth place.

Here is the page that shows me at the winner!
 
Julia Winter
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Yeah, you wuz robbed in the presentation on that page, but anybody who has a story about saving money by using your techniques should post it HERE.

I bet if the testimonials pile up, that could lead to more celebration of this very good set of ideas.
 
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I saw a webpage of 7 gadgets from Japan that we need. This one fits what Paul is saying about heating your body and not the room. It is the Kotatsu and is a heater you put under a table with a blanket that goes to the floor and you stick your lower body under the table and blanket.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44NE37YSjjU#t=61
 
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Maybe this isn't the best forum for this reply, but it fits in with the thread.
I met a guy in the High Sierras (Lake Tahoe area) who was planning to spend the winter up there with a shelter of two tarps. He'd done it before.
I thought, "Man, that cat is hard core." Wish I'd been old and wise enough to push him to the limits of his patience answering questions.
Years later, I found myself in a cabin on the California Salmon River, about 3,000 feet. The only heat sources were the propane cook stove and
a couple of propane lights. Their contribution was unnoticeable.
Keeping your core temperature up is the the key. And insulation's how to do it. And activity.
At night, when the activity level goes down, it's nice to have the propane stove, because you can boil water for hot drinks, which gets the heat right
down to the center of your core, and you can fill something with hot water to put under your blankets and keep you warm all night.
I tried hot water bottles, but the seals turned out to be untrustworthy. Dealing with a wet mattress when temps don't get out of the 20s becomes a lifestyle.
What really worked was gallon maple syrup containers. I could boil water on the stove and fill that baby, wrap it in a few towels, and it would still be warm in
the morning. And I would be warm enough to go from the covers to the daytime costume (which had been part of the cocoon) with a minimum of self pity.
 
pollinator
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idea for the "heat the person not the room" for people with electrical sensitivities:

you could create a rocket mass heater with "sockets" in it and flexible metal cables to direct heat away from the heat source to wherever you want it--your arms, your hands, your metal chair, your bum, your employee's bum. You could plug the sockets with something when you aren't using them, like those things for an electrical socket. In fact, you could use electrical cords themselves, insulated heat transfer! and they're flexible! but look, ma, no elecrticity! it'll even get the Amish seal of approval.

For non-electrosensitive people it's still appealing. I don't know if it's just a sentimental thing, but I like the idea of being in a cabin in the woods with NO electricity! so peaceful. I could just curl up with my dvd player and an ipod. Or what if you don't have any electrical supply around? but you've got your rocket mass heater. Well, you can just plug yourself in and be toasty warm.

appliances you used to use for heat can be retrofited: a lamp with metal shade like Paul used can still reflect heat from the bulb-center (replace the bulb with a lump of metal) ; a parabolic heater similar deal. an electric blanket also.

Anyone want to try this out and see how effective it actually is?
potential pitfalls: too hot, you get burned
too cold--not enough heat conduction, too small heat-conducting wire?
too hot and too cold--you have to heat the wire to couple thousand degrees before it carries enough heat to the end of it to heat the heating element lump of metal satisfactory? and so the insulation melts and you catch on fire and get sad?
too slow -- the metal doesn't cary the heat nearly as fast as electric wires carry electricity, but does the level of heat compete with the heatup time of the heating element?
if regular electric wires are too thin, trying something like a chain or pipe-like thing ? like the thing on the back of your drier? if anyone still has a drier around here?


 
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Greg Harvey wrote:I saw a webpage of 7 gadgets from Japan that we need. This one fits what Paul is saying about heating your body and not the room. It is the Kotatsu and is a heater you put under a table with a blanket that goes to the floor and you stick your lower body under the table and blanket.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44NE37YSjjU#t=61



Kotatsu tables are really awesome! Even when the room is very cold, the kotatsu still keeps you warm and cosy. When I went on wintersport in Japan (Hakone, Nagano) there was one at the hostel and even though it was very cold in the room, the kotatsu provided all the warmth me and my friends provided. Strange enough, for some reason, the kotatsu tables always seem to make me fart. I spent some time looking for a kotatsu outside of Japan as well.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:As the cooler days approach, I went and prepared for this years experiments in heat. 

I have set the thermostats to 50. 

I have purchased:

[url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000PWJP7C/rs12-20]a dog bed warmer

[/url]

[url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000GG8DTS/rs12-20]a 300 watt radiant heater
[/url]

[url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000ANOUHQ/rs12-20]A butt warmer
[/url]



and, [url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000P7O5DG/rs12-20]a contraption for converting AC to DC for the butt warmer
[/url]

I expect that I will feel plenty warm and that my electric bill will be a tiny fraction of what it would otherwise be. 

The problem with the pads last year:

1)  they would shut off after two hours - so I would have to turn them back on again.

2)  to do "medium" heat, they would cycle on and off between the edge of "ow! that's too hot!" and "I'm starting to get cold - is this thing on?"

I hope that the stuff I'm trying this year doesn't do that. 

I also stocked up on incandescent light bulbs and am toying with the idea of hanging a chick brooder light over my head (my head comes complete with a bald spot). 

I tried the chick brooder light under my desk, over my feet last year.  Feh - not a big help.  Not nearly as good as the heating pad and the heating pad uses a lot less power.  Plus, the light coming from under the desk was kinda bright and weird and I didn't like it.

As winter sets in, I'll try to post the results of my experiments here.





As a butt warmer alternative, wouldnt an hot water bottle do the same thing? Im a big fan of them and they fit in very well with your theory of heating the person rather than the room, which is so much more economical in my opinion. I adapt clothing to make internal pockets into which can be popped a hot water bottle, which is very effective to heat the person, we can even adjust it to our own personal preferences, whereas heated rooms will never suit all the people using the room in question. Your post also on kotatsu heating could be adapted to use HWB (hot water bottle, I find myself spending a lot of time quessing what abbreviations mean nowadays when browsing the internet!) By the time the HWB needed replenishing, we would need a leg stretch anyway. Make a hot cuppa, to help in the process, and water heated for HWB at the same time, all done on our RMH (we all know what they are, thankfully)
 
paul wheaton
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Carol, you are correct: a hot water bottle will do wonders.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Anyone have a low-budget replacement for light bulb that's less bright?  "heat lamps" from the reptile store are about $4 per bulb, I'd like to get at least 3 bulbs for that price.  And it looks like those reptile bulbs are just incandescent lightbulbs anyway.   I just don't want there to be a bright light in someone's eye from the lamp shining in their face.

Is there an advantage to using an incandescent lightbulb over using a small bit of resistance wire in a coil in open air? what is the resistance value of a lightbulb??

I'm also going to look into the heat pads that Paul linked earlier, but we have a wire tripping hazard problem to consider.

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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reviews of the 300w heat lamp: the fuse blew, but the heating element kept working.  short version: you could just replace with a better fuse and have it continue to work...or a circuit breaker.

When looking for loose connections somewhere, I discovered a small in-line fuse under a wire covering that is not visible unless the covering is removed. This was the problem, with mine anyway and probably with others as well. It is a small in-line 10amp fuse that blows once, and then it's done. At 110 volts or so, a 10 amp fuse should allow a bit more than 3000 watts to pass through it without blowing. This little heater is supposed to be around 300 watts... ten times less than the fuse blow-out point. It blew out anyway. I suspect a batch of bad in-line fuses has been installed on an assembly line in China and inadequate quality control has been the problem leading to many returns and unhappy people. Replacing this fuse with a Radio Shack available replaceable in-line fuse has thus far fixed my problem heater. It's working fine again now. I might get another if the ni-chrome element hangs in there. Time will tell. Optimus needs to invest a little in better components and QC... then this will will be a real winner.



Cactus Bob2 years ago

The fuse that you had fail was a combo fuse that fails from over temp or over amp .
Most likely yours went open due to over temp. almost all do.
just make sure it's clear in front of the heater and the reflector is dust free .
I have had a few of these fail and all where due to the reflector getting dusty and not reflecting the heat , allowing it to back up into the small compartment where the fuse is .
the heating element never fails and i have one i use heavy for the last 6 years. it just goes and goes.
 
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Anyone have a low-budget replacement for light bulb that's less bright?  "heat lamps" from the reptile store are about $4 per bulb, I'd like to get at least 3 bulbs for that price.



I'm not sure what kind of heat lamp that you speak of, but most of them that I've seen are PAR type halogen bulbs, or parabolic reflector spot bulbs.  You're going to pay too much at the pet store anyway.  You should be able to find whatever wattage you desire from 300 watts down to 40 at Wal-Mart.
 
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One tactic that is used is to use a tent inside the home to keep heat in one area.

http://www.dudeiwantthat.com/household/furniture/ddasumi-bed-tents.asp

A DDASUMI Bed Tent provides the best of both worlds: the comfort and coziness of your own bed and the fresh air and starry skies of the great...wait. No. No outdoor air or stars. Just the polyester, temperamental poles, and low head clearance of the tent you agree to sleep in as a tradeoff for being able to enjoy those things. So I guess it's more like a DDASUMI Bed Tent provides the best of one world and the worst of another? For their part, the Japanese company promotes the privacy and additional warmth their indoor tents offer. Especially the warmth. I guess if you're trying to save money on heating bills, are cheap, or are living with a polar bear who insists on keeping the thermostat at 45, a cold-air-blocking, warm-air-containing tent could keep your costs down without giving you the shivers. But I'm pretty sure so could blankets. Kiddos will still probably dig the Bed Tents on their fort aesthetics alone, and if you're a die hard camper, maybe you will too. Tents set up for use on a queen bed at 88" long x 59" wide x 53" high.



I was thinking about an ice tent which is insulated brought inside, then heating that tent with a space heater or electric blanket.


But the more I have been thinking about it, I am thinking why not just sleep in your car, then insulate it with comforters and then put a tarp over that?  

I have been watching people who live in their cars and I was thinking it should not be hard to super insulate a van from the outside.


 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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My update--it's 1 1/2 months of wintery weather in NE here and I have not turned on my radiator (natural gas heated furnace) and I am %90 comfortable sleeping/getting ready for bed.   And my girlfriend hasn't dumped me (she likes the cold, actually, to a point; permaculture, not so much...;) ).  

A few tweaks here and there, learning the ropes still.

I use:

one 60 watt-ish computer charger from a junker laptop (runs about an hour, probably less, when the battery fills then the charger stops heating but keeps thermal mass for a little while)

OR (occasionally)
one 40-watt bulb, incandescent, if I need immediate heat (but it can burn me if I'm not careful)

OR (occasionally; if it weren't wearing out I'd use it most of the time, maybe only this)
one 6 watt computer charger (more modern laptop mac computer).  This one is actually the best, it's not too hot to burn me so I can put it directly on my skin.  Problem is hte cord frays on those things.  So I worry that it'll get worse and worse. Tape has only sort of helped, I'm not sure if it was electrical tape or not but it's so small that it loses adhesion quickly to tape something around such a tight circle.  Otherwise I might be fine with just 6-12 watt-hours per night!!!

AND
One quilt and one 15-year-old sleeping bag laid flat/open over me

Im in a loft bed, about 4 feet below the ceiling.

It's gotten down to the 20's one nihgt, 30's many nights.



I tried a dogbed heater, 60w--it's nice but it's actually too large.  It can work for other purposes perhaps, like if I'm teaching by video conference from my room, I may sit on it.  I wish it were much smaller, maybe a heated mousepad is best.

I'm steering clear of electric blankets--to breakable, too large (the heat would just be everywhere, not directly on me).

I'm also thinking pipe tape might be the best solution--direct contact with the heat source.  may be I'm being too extreme?

OR (don't hit me, Paul!) LED lights--just because their low enough wattage they won't burn me! haha.  Or CFL's whatever I have lying around.

Total cost to me: $40, zero if you count the dogbed out which you could because I really have only used it once and could have been fine with the clunker laptop charger instead.

Also, the clunker laptop itself gets nice and toasty--I put htat on my lap, the real laptop on top of that, the charger between my legs or my feet, and do my nighttime journalling.

summmary:

Erica and Ernie and Paul are right about conductive heat being more effective.  Like they're not even stating it as strongly as is actually the case.  It's HOT.  It BURNS even if you're not careful.  The fact is, the amount of watts-worth of heat you need is very small.  Getting it to heat your body and raise core temp instead of heating the air is the only tricky part, but if you're under the blankets and it's 40 degrees in the room and you need to raise your temperature from what would just be naturally there from body heat to a few degrees hotter, that means the wattage (from human body's wattage being about 100W) to say 110 watts over night--or maybe body heat is actually but you just need a jumpstart to warm up the blankets and bed.  [Note--if anyone's going to try turning off the heat to your whole house, make sure you have a way to handle keeping your pipes warm/keeping flow through them somehow, burst pipes are no joke; I am not turning off the gas to the whole house, just my room in a house of 5 people, as I have not persuaded them to join me in my madness and devious plots yet)

I'm ASTONISHED how little energy this really takes!!! It gives me a feeling that we can really really discharge our responsiblity for our carbon footprint with minimal effort, and just a bit more thought and actually paying attention to our experience!
 
Creighton Samuiels
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:
OR (occasionally; if it weren't wearing out I'd use it most of the time, maybe only this)
one 6 watt computer charger (more modern laptop mac computer).  This one is actually the best, it's not too hot to burn me so I can put it directly on my skin.  Problem is hte cord frays on those things.  So I worry that it'll get worse and worse. Tape has only sort of helped, I'm not sure if it was electrical tape or not but it's so small that it loses adhesion quickly to tape something around such a tight circle.  Otherwise I might be fine with just 6-12 watt-hours per night!!!



This is what you want.  Trust me....

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0068DKWKQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

...It comes with a controller that you can adjust to 5 levels; it has three heating loops, shoulders, mid-section and feet; and the heat is a gentle kind that rises up from below you, so you aren't chilly on one side and hot on the other like a heated blanket.  It's also waterproof and has a safety feature that shuts off if the controller detects a short (but not an open, which isn't unsafe but eventually one of the heating loops stops working, but the rest of the mattress pad continues to function).  If you buy the king or queen sized, there is an independent controller for each half of the bed.  My wife likes it too hot for me, and that works out.

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Thanks!  Looks comfy, what is the wattage?
I don't see specs on the Amazon page.  

Creighton Samuiels wrote:

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:
OR (occasionally; if it weren't wearing out I'd use it most of the time, maybe only this)
one 6 watt computer charger (more modern laptop mac computer).  This one is actually the best, it's not too hot to burn me so I can put it directly on my skin.  Problem is hte cord frays on those things.  So I worry that it'll get worse and worse. Tape has only sort of helped, I'm not sure if it was electrical tape or not but it's so small that it loses adhesion quickly to tape something around such a tight circle.  Otherwise I might be fine with just 6-12 watt-hours per night!!!



This is what you want.  Trust me....

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0068DKWKQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

...It comes with a controller that you can adjust to 5 levels; it has three heating loops, shoulders, mid-section and feet; and the heat is a gentle kind that rises up from below you, so you aren't chilly on one side and hot on the other like a heated blanket.  It's also waterproof and has a safety feature that shuts off if the controller detects a short (but not an open, which isn't unsafe but eventually one of the heating loops stops working, but the rest of the mattress pad continues to function).  If you buy the king or queen sized, there is an independent controller for each half of the bed.  My wife likes it too hot for me, and that works out.

 
Creighton Samuiels
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Thanks!  Looks comfy, what is the wattage?
I don't see specs on the Amazon page.



IIRC it's either 120 or 125 watts for each controller, so a double bed would be no more than 250 watts at full power.  And you aren't likely to need it running at full power unless you're sleeping outside.  My wife won't let me lower the thermostat to less than 68 overnight, but I typically run mine at the lowest setting or not at all; or roughly 20 watts.  My wife will keep her side set to level 2 or 3, so 60 watts at most.  So if you're using it as your only overnight heat, you will likely set it higher and/or use more blankets than we do; but a 300 watt inverter would be enough to get the job done if you are on solar.  Worst case you'd consume about 2.5 Kwh overnight, but that's unlikely.
 
Creighton Samuiels
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Another method of heating the person, not the air is a"happy rock".  Not an electric solution, but of you have a strong heat source such as a woodstove (or RMH) you can choose some fist sized stones and keep them on the heat.  After a time, you put your hand into a thick sock (such as a wool blend) and grab the stone.  Then you quickly pull the sock over the stone, quarter twist the sock, and shove your hand (and stone) back again.  Then pull your hand out.  You want to be able to do this maneuver pretty quickly so you don't burn your fingers, but when done you have a hot rock inside two layers of wool sock.  You can put two of these in the pockets of an under-coat layer if you are working outside, or put a couple in a bed to pre-heat it before bedtime.  I use cast-offs from soapstone manufacturing, which can be had pretty cheaply.  If you use rocks you find in the wild, test them in a fire first, as some rocks retain water, and can explode from steam pressure without warning.

If you have a microwave, this same trick can be done with an old sock filled with dry rice by putting it into the microwave for a minute.

Because polyester has the habit of melting above about 400 degrees, I only use natural cloth socks.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Wow!!--"This thread has been viewed 242315 times."
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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we microwave corn bags here in the city. by any chance do you know the efficiency of microwaving?

Creighton Samuiels wrote:Another method of heating the person, not the air is a"happy rock".  Not an electric solution, but of you have a strong heat source such as a woodstove (or RMH) you can choose some fist sized stones and keep them on the heat.  After a time, you put your hand into a thick sock (such as a wool blend) and grab the stone.  Then you quickly pull the sock over the stone, quarter twist the sock, and shove your hand (and stone) back again.  Then pull your hand out.  You want to be able to do this maneuver pretty quickly so you don't burn your fingers, but when done you have a hot rock inside two layers of wool sock.  You can put two of these in the pockets of an under-coat layer if you are working outside, or put a couple in a bed to pre-heat it before bedtime.  I use cast-offs from soapstone manufacturing, which can be had pretty cheaply.  If you use rocks you find in the wild, test them in a fire first, as some rocks retain water, and can explode from steam pressure without warning.

If you have a microwave, this same trick can be done with an old sock filled with dry rice by putting it into the microwave for a minute.

Because polyester has the habit of melting above about 400 degrees, I only use natural cloth socks.

 
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:we microwave corn bags here in the city. by any chance do you know the efficiency of microwaving?



"Efficiency" in this context has so many different meanings as to be a useless concept.  The energy transfer efficiency of using a microwave to pre-heat a mattress is terrible, but using a natural gas forced air furnace to do the same thing is exponentially worse.

I prefer dry, white rice over corn because if you overdo it, your corn will pop.
 
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OK, so I think you're saying that the microwave is not very efficient, within the terms "efficiency" being somewhat vague in its application.  

Let's put it this way--if you could heat a rock on a resistance heating element (direct contact) and then stick that rock into the middle of the corn bag, so you again get conductive heat transfer, would that end up with more heat in the corn bag or less than the micowave, for the same amount of watt-hours?  

Personally I've never had a problem with popcorn, but rice does seem like a good alternative.  

We also moisten the bags before putting them in the microwave, try to keep it not too dried out and help the microwaves have some water to heat.   (This is humanities majors, not engineers here.)


 

Creighton Samuiels wrote:

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:we microwave corn bags here in the city. by any chance do you know the efficiency of microwaving?



"Efficiency" in this context has so many different meanings as to be a useless concept.  The energy transfer efficiency of using a microwave to pre-heat a mattress is terrible, but using a natural gas forced air furnace to do the same thing is exponentially worse.

I prefer dry, white rice over corn because if you overdo it, your corn will pop.

 
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:OK, so I think you're saying that the microwave is not very efficient, within the terms "efficiency" being somewhat vague in its application.  

Let's put it this way--if you could heat a rock on a resistance heating element (direct contact) and then stick that rock into the middle of the corn bag, so you again get conductive heat transfer, would that end up with more heat in the corn bag or less than the micowave, for the same amount of watt-hours?



No, you'd end up with fewer btu's in the corn bag than if you had just used the microwave, and fewer still between your mattress and your blanket.  As far as electric consumption, nothing is going to work better than the heated mattress pad I linked to above; but the "happy rock" method will work if you don't have power but do have fire.  If you have seen the candle heater under a ceramic pot thing, that works in a similar way.  The heat from the candle rises and pools inside the inverted pot like a tiny heat bell, storing some heat inside the ceramic mass of the pot and radiating from the pot through infra-red light.  Then after about an hour of candle time, you put the pot under your blanket just as you would with the "happy rock".  This last method would be a great way to keep an off-grid tiny house above freezing, when you didn't want to fire up that tiny woodstove.  The candle under a pot trick isn't magic, however; as ultimately the candle is the heat source.  Some of the youtube videos about how to do it seem to make it into more than it is.



Personally I've never had a problem with popcorn, but rice does seem like a good alternative.  

We also moisten the bags before putting them in the microwave, try to keep it not too dried out and help the microwaves have some water to heat.



The water is probably why you don't pop any of your corn, but also reduces the absolute BTU's that the sack of corn can hold.  Since the water will readily evaporate, pulling heat away from the corn, at 212 degrees; your corn bag cannot rise much above that until the surface water is gone.
 
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Thanks, that's a good point about 212 on the corn bag.  I think the issue is that they dry out too much if we don't moisten them.  And I also had this notion that microwaves only heat water molecules.  But if that's not the case, then we should moisten them only when they're _not_ about to be heated (microwaved).  For example, when you're done with it in the morning, moisten it and then leave it to absorb its moisture.  (I forget why my landlady's concerned about their becoming too dry, but she said that at some point.)

 
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UPDATE--we had NO GAS HEAT in the whole house for two days and I was toasty warm (they were replacing the furnace).  I even woke up overheated at one point.  (This is not as good as it sounds--though better than the opposite problem.  The issue is regulating temperature, I don't want a heating system that wakes me up in teh middle of the night.)  

The total wattage I am using is 60+6, generally speaking.

The 40-watt add-on is too much, generally, I mostly only use it for a few minutes when I really need it but it gets too hot to touch quickly and it has burned my sheets a few times.

Don't hate me Paul, but I am prepared to switch to CFL.  Why? the heat is still plenty (13 watts), and it is less likely to burn me in the middle of the night.  The mercury is a sunk cost, the manufacture, the light is not affecting me as it's under my blanket...so may as well use it for what it wasn't designed for: heat.  I hope we all appreciate the irony here.  (Wouldn't it be nice if there were mini resistance heat elements that could be got cheap/free? I'm thinking of pipe heating tape that's for preventing pipes from freezing...or Christmas lights)  I had thought Paul was stretching the numbers to make his point with the original article--now I think he was being actually very conservative, we can easily go much further.

It is December, we had temperatures in the 20s during this time, and my housemates heated the rest of house with space heaters (not my idea, but I kept my door shut and only heated myself, not my room.)  Our neighbors are awesome and generous and came through for us!

I do use the 40W bulb a bit to heat some of the air, and give me nighttime (reddish) light.  The air is above the bed, about 4 feet below the ceiling, so I get the heat trap effect.

I'm at a total of about 200 -300 watt-hours per evening, I estimate.  It's really astonishing how little it takes when you contact the heat source directly.

Also, this is using materials I already had, I only bought one thing (the dog bed heater) and haven't used that for sleeping, only for working sometimes.  It's far far far too big, it should be the size of the soles of my feet and no bigger.  A big step forward, but I wish they would design things that were more congruent.

Again, 200-300 watt-hours per night I estimate, in 20-degree weather, with the rest of the house heat also not gas-heated.
 
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re: candle heater

I LOVE that candle idea!  I was thinking there has to be a way to trap that heat--using a candle to start a rocket mass heater had produced more heat than I expected.  I was picturing showing up at services with a 55 gallon metal drum...oops, no carrying on Shabbas anyway.  A ceramic thingy is more viable--will a mug work?  I might try that.  (For folks who don't know, on Shabbat (Saturday) observant Jews do not light candles or build a fire of any kind, including turning on an electric appliance, but you are supposed to light 2 candles right _before_ Shabbat begins and then let them burn for the whole day. So, along with the wattage of our bodies
 
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One friend had an issue with breathing cold air (she has poor heating in her room, not by choice but because of lack of insulation and her radiator is farthest from the furnace).  The cold air would irritate her throat.  I had a thought that maybe something like a candle heater under a tiny bit of water--like those essential oil "diffusers"--might be the ticket.  Of course, you'd want to block out the light so it doesn't wake you.
 
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:
Don't hate me Paul, but I am prepared to switch to CFL.  Why? the heat is still plenty (13 watts), and it is less likely to burn me in the middle of the night.  The mercury is a sunk cost, the manufacture, the light is not affecting me as it's under my blanket...so may as well use it for what it wasn't designed for: heat.  I hope we all appreciate the irony here.  (Wouldn't it be nice if there were mini resistance heat elements that could be got cheap/free? I'm thinking of pipe heating tape that's for preventing pipes from freezing...or Christmas lights)  I had thought Paul was stretching the numbers to make his point with the original article--now I think he was being actually very conservative, we can easily go much further.



Here's a pack of 6...

https://www.amazon.com/Decorative-Incandescent-Medium-Standard-Household/dp/B079J57616/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1544824554&sr=8-8&keywords=15+watt+incandescent+light+bulbs

They are available in 7 watt as well.  And colors, if that's your thing.
 
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:re: candle heater

I LOVE that candle idea!  I was thinking there has to be a way to trap that heat--using a candle to start a rocket mass heater had produced more heat than I expected.  I was picturing showing up at services with a 55 gallon metal drum...oops, no carrying on Shabbas anyway.  A ceramic thingy is more viable--will a mug work?  I might try that.  (For folks who don't know, on Shabbat (Saturday) observant Jews do not light candles or build a fire of any kind, including turning on an electric appliance, but you are supposed to light 2 candles right _before_ Shabbat begins and then let them burn for the whole day. So, along with the wattage of our bodies



I have and use one of these...

https://www.amazon.com/Chefman-Instant-Electric-Water-Safety/dp/B01CNOUJ0Q/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1544825122&sr=8-7&keywords=chefman+electric+kettle

It has a 'shabot' button on the top that, when pressed, prevents the electric heater from engaging automatically.  But it is insulated, and will hold water hot for a long time, and has a manual pump on the top as well.  This is an excellent way to keep your core body temps up from the inside out.  It could also be used very effectively in conjunction with a hot water bottle or a thermos.
 
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Yes, those are good.  What I had in mind was a plain old resistance wire without any bulb around it...I guess a resistor but a bit larger than most resistors and not too insulated?  I don't know how hot a regular resistor gets.  
I'm thinking I could probably get a TV that's thrown out on the street and take parts out of it.  

Creighton Samuiels wrote:

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:
Don't hate me Paul, but I am prepared to switch to CFL.  Why? the heat is still plenty (13 watts), and it is less likely to burn me in the middle of the night.  The mercury is a sunk cost, the manufacture, the light is not affecting me as it's under my blanket...so may as well use it for what it wasn't designed for: heat.  I hope we all appreciate the irony here.  (Wouldn't it be nice if there were mini resistance heat elements that could be got cheap/free? I'm thinking of pipe heating tape that's for preventing pipes from freezing...or Christmas lights)  I had thought Paul was stretching the numbers to make his point with the original article--now I think he was being actually very conservative, we can easily go much further.



Here's a pack of 6...

https://www.amazon.com/Decorative-Incandescent-Medium-Standard-Household/dp/B079J57616/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1544824554&sr=8-8&keywords=15+watt+incandescent+light+bulbs

They are available in 7 watt as well.  And colors, if that's your thing.

 
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Yes, those are good.  What I had in mind was a plain old resistance wire without any bulb around it...I guess a resistor but a bit larger than most resistors and not too insulated?  I don't know how hot a regular resistor gets.  
I'm thinking I could probably get a TV that's thrown out on the street and take parts out of it.  



Sounds like you are trying too hard to me.  A basic drop-light with a plastic cage will protect you from the 15 watt bulb just fine.  And again, the heated mattress pad that I linked to before is the best solution there is for this problem; even though it costs a bit more.  Sometimes the best value solution for the problem that you are trying to solve is simply to buy the product designed specifically for that task.
 
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