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is a portable electric heater my best option?  RSS feed

 
ari gold
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Hello there good people,

I've recently started working in our daylight basement (new remote gig) and, well, I need heat. We're in Eugene, OR and it can get - and stay - very cold down there.

There is a fireplace but it seems about as efficient as a Hummer with the AC turned up to full blast in winter. So I was looking at other options, reading all about rocket mass heaters and what not. I even just got back from the local fireplace store and they said that a wood burning insert (we have A LOT of wood) would run from $3,500 on the low end to $5,000 on the medium end.

A large part of the reason for that was that a liner would need to be put into our basement fireplace would would be 2+ stories of liner and liner supposedly ain't cheap. Seems I'd need that regardless if I built a rocket mass heater, tho there ain't a lot of space for one - not like those couch style heater's I've seen which seem like the capture the most heat.

So I'm honestly thinking of buying a portable electric heater and just having it near me. Kinda like Paul shows in his TED talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_7I-hgtQo4).

Any ideas? I'd love to be able to burn wood for many many reasons but reality is reality and I'm cool with it. I'm also pretty handy.. heck, after I send this I'm going to see how cheap I can get chimney liner for and see if doing a self-install with a used, efficient, stove is an option (gonna research that for a whiiiile).

Thanks a bachillion and y'all are the tops!

Ari
 
ari gold
Posts: 30
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Well, to answer my own question, I found this:

http://www.permies.com/t/4906//making-electric-heat

and this:

http://www.richsoil.com/electric-heat.jsp
 
R Scott
Posts: 3351
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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You found it.

There are these new ceramic heaters you mount on the wall, popular with tiny house people. Supposedly ultra efficient. But I have never seen the actual specs.

electric heat is efficient when it is right sized.
 
allen lumley
pollinator
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Ari Gold : It depends on your reason for being down there ! You called it a 'remote gig -when I ran that through my translator it said working from home,
only quite place in the house !A lot depends on the amount of lack of activity you are comfortable with ! If most of your time is spent stationary
like at a computer, then it is even likely that a series of electrical heating units and lap robes will serve you well !

A slightly different version with more facts can be found at :::-->Richsoil.com/electric-heat.jsp <--::: hint highlight the part in BOLD and-

right click it, then you should be able to open it in a new window, or as a google search w/out re-typing !

Make sure that your economy efforts do not place any plumbing at risk, pipes buried in an outside wall that have survived really cold temps in a well heated
space will be likely to freeze if the thermostat is set to low ! Running water, at just a trickle will not freeze, however a hot water pipes or a water heater in
the unheated space will quickly get expensive, and there is a water meter to consider, it can turn a trickle of water into ante loss in moneys saved !

With home wi-fi You may be able to remove your office to a car parked in an unheated garage, and find that you can teach Paul W. something about greater
savings of Electricity, and have a Mobil office, Handy if you get a call for a document when you are on the way to the store for kids cereal, tell them 5
minutes, and stop at star bucks to use there wi-fi to send the document on its way ! Just a variant thought, I hope this is helpful and timely. Big AL
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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ari gold wrote:A large part of the reason for that was that a liner would need to be put into our basement fireplace would would be 2+ stories of liner and liner supposedly ain't cheap. Seems I'd need that regardless if I built a rocket mass heater, tho there ain't a lot of space for one - not like those couch style heater's I've seen which seem like the capture the most heat.


True, triple walled chimney pipe is expensive but it does last! Ours is exposed for its 2 1/2 stories and looks pretty cool so we decide not to box it it. If you own this house you should consider it. Do you have a backup source of heat? I think Paul was renting when he cut 87% off his heat bill so his options were limited.
 
ari gold
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Thanks for all of the help everyone!

So far I've got an electric oil heater which seems to be more than enough. Once we save up enough we might do the 2+ stories of double walled liner. Or, heck, a rocket mass heater.

I might actually use our fireplace for a bit since it does provide a little heat and will help me deal with some of our yard waste. Good ol' ash for the good ol' compost.

For now, the electric heater will do. Cheap and simple is the answer (for now).

Thanks!
 
Peter Ingot
Posts: 131
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I would question what you are being told and shop around. What is the liner? is it a safety feature against chimney fires? Building code legal requirement? Never worried about this myself, but safety standards are lower where I am.

I have seen stoves made very cheaply from old gas cannisters. A door cut in the side and a chimey fitted in the top. I moved from Britain where agas and rayburns are expensive luxuries for yuppies, to Bulgaria where 50-100 euros can get you an equally good cooking and heating stove. Stove prices vary a lot. If I was hearing this much nonsense from stove salesmen, I would improvise a stove within the fireplace using bricks and sheet metal. The flue could be a pipe running right up the length of the chimney, or just into the first part of the chimney and then sealed with cob or even screwed up tinfoil to stop smoke leakage. Just consider that you might want access to clean the chimney especially if you burn pine (that's why I haven't suggested cementing the flue to the chimney).

You are looking for simple solutions in a small space and have lots of wood, but rocket stoves would be even better by all accounts. I fitted wood burning stoves into a friend's modern home and he was very grateful for the massive reduction in energy bills.

Electricity is never really efficient IMO because at so much of the source energy gets wasted in the generation process before it even gets to your home. Also powercuts due to winter storms can be a potential problem in many areas. I would never want to be dependent on electricity for heating.
 
Glenn Herbert
gardener
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Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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If you are installing a woodstove, then insulated stainless or masonry are the safest bets for a chimney, and may be required if you have to deal with inspectors or insurance people.
If you build a rocket mass heater, you will actually need only a solid tube to carry warm gases to the sky and help the draft. You would most likely still be "required" to build to code at great expense. There is also the factor of future owners... if someone inherited your house with RMH and wanted a woodstove instead, they might hook it up to a bare pipe and cause a fire where the original usage was perfectly safe.
Just a few points to consider...
 
When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven't - Edison. Tiny ad:
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
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