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making the best of electric heat

 
paul wheaton
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First, let's limit this discussion to where you cannot modify the house.  So this becomes suggestions for folks in rentals as well as for folks that own their homes, but are looking for simple changes.

Last winter I did a lot of experimenting in this space.  I often let the temperature drop to 50-54 while having a standard heating pad under my butt and under my feet.  That worked out really well.  Each heating pad used 35 watts.

Another thing that occurred to me:  if you have electric heat, then doesn't it make sense to have lots of incandescent lights on?  Especially in whatever room you happen to be in.  If you were in a room with six 100 watt bulbs, they would pump out the same amount of heat as a 600 watt heater, plus you would get TONS of light, which has to be really good for you in the winter time.

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. 

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.  I wonder if you had a 3/8 inch copper tube painted black and put it near an incandescent light.  If the tube went from floor to a foot above the bulb, then wouldn't it suck the cold air from the floor and help to eliminate the layer of cold air near the floor?

Any other ideas?

 
Jami McBride
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#186  (cold air sinks and moves over the floor) so - Stay off the floor - or at least keep your feet up, keep feet covered.  Move your bed away from the window, return it in the summer. 

#187 Sleep on a bunk bed.  Pre-warm the foot of your bed with an electric heating pad, [s]turn it off[/s] unplug it when you go to bed - toasty without any EMF poisoning. 

#188 exercise in the evening when the temp drops, you'll be toasty for hours!  Exercise on a tramp, stair stepper or treadmill while you watch TV in the evening, rest on the commercials   Burn calories, heat yourself up and leave the room temp alone.

 
paul wheaton
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I like 186.

186.1:  get your bed closer to the ceiling

EMF poisoning:  do we have a thread about that?

 
charles c. johnson
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Paul do you have a nice terra cotta pizza stone in ur oven?

Does your oven have timed bake?

I almost never bake between may and september the rest of the time I bake like crazy.

with timed bake you can put stuff in for in the morning and go to sleep

p.s. get your baking stone at landscape store not chef store
 
                    
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Re: #184, replacing air with lots of solid goods. I don't know that would make any difference in the heating (or cooling) bill? The extra "stuff" would still have to have its temperature maintained, by absorbing or emitting heat from/into the air.  What more solid stuff would do though is moderate the temperature swings by providing thermal mass.


Having lights for summer (CFL) and lights for winter (incandescent) would make sense in an all electric home. Better stock up on the incandescents while you can.

 
                            
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I used to be on electric baseboards in my old house - with a well and septic tank.  When we sold, the real estate agent told us that people perceived electric heat as being extremely expensive.  Now I pay $20 each for gas, electricity, and town water.  You know $40 per month can buy lots of electricity!

One good thing about electric heat is that you can waste all the electricity that you want in your living space during heating season, and it's free since the wasted electricity is typically dissipated as heat - which offsets the baseboards.  For example, save up your baking, ironing, dehydrating, etc. for cold days - and it's free as long as you would otherwise be heating with baseboards.
 
Len Ovens
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Rabid Chipmunk wrote:
I used to be on electric baseboards in my old house - with a well and septic tank.  When we sold, the real estate agent told us that people perceived electric heat as being extremely expensive.  Now I pay $20 each for gas, electricity, and town water.  You know $40 per month can buy lots of electricity!

One good thing about electric heat is that you can waste all the electricity that you want in your living space during heating season, and it's free since the wasted electricity is typically dissipated as heat - which offsets the baseboards.  For example, save up your baking, ironing, dehydrating, etc. for cold days - and it's free as long as you would otherwise be heating with baseboards.



I got rid of gas heat a few years ago... Gas is cheaper 60-70% than electric, but lots goes up the vent... and the vent continues to remove heat even when the gas is not burning. All heat from electric appliances is good. baseboards and oil filled heaters are low temp. and do not burn the dust in the air... better for the sensitive nose/eyes. I have a timer control for each and every room as rooms needs are different by time of day... I do this even with portable heaters... take an extension cord drop an electrical box in the middle and insert a timer/thermostat. this can be some distance from the heater. I find a 200 to 400 watt oil filled heater takes care of a 100 sq/ft room.

Anyway, I save $10 a month all summer on gas service and while my winter electric went up it is still much less than the two together in years before.... gas is a rip off.

One utility off grid.... 4 to go.
 
Al Loria
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Lowering ceiling height (suspended ceiling) by 1 foot or more would lessen the amount of cubic feet of air you need to heat and move the hot zone down lower.

Raise humidity level within the home in winter.  Big help when we did that.

More objects in rooms does work like it would in reverse in a refrigerator.   





 
                        
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Al Loria wrote:

Raise humidity level within the home in winter.  Big help when we did that.



Yes, but don't raise it above 50%.  You go above 50% and you start growing mold and other beasties.
 
Al Loria
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Muzhik wrote:
Yes, but don't raise it above 50%.  You go above 50% and you start growing mold and other beasties.


Correct.  I should have mentioned that.  Thanks.
 
Brice Moss
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you can redirect your dryer vent t inside (an old nylon makes a good lint filter) and add moisture and heat while drying clothes guilt free
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Most ceiling fans have a switch to reverse the direction they run. It's common to flip this switch twice a year, and use ceiling fans to counter convection.

Late winter might be a good time for installing an incubator in the kitchen to raise chicks. Not only the lightbulb, but their body heat and companionship would probably be a good addition to the home at that time of year.
 
paul wheaton
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Rabid Chipmunk wrote:

One good thing about electric heat is that you can waste all the electricity that you want in your living space during heating season, and it's free since the wasted electricity is typically dissipated as heat - which offsets the baseboards.  For example, save up your baking, ironing, dehydrating, etc. for cold days - and it's free as long as you would otherwise be heating with baseboards.



THAT is an excellent point!



 
paul wheaton
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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:

a dog bed warmer


a 300 watt radiant heater


A butt warmer


and, a contraption for converting AC to DC for the butt warmer


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.



 
charles c. johnson
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paul how about a link to that 300w heater

i
have a heated matress pad love it http://cozywinters.com/shop/pf-shplmp.html
 
Len Ovens
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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. 



50F which is 10C. I have had it recommended not to go below 16C or 60F... something about causing cracks from contraction I think. Please let us know how it goes

paul wheaton wrote:

I have purchased:

a 300 watt radiant heater




I prefer the oil-filled heaters as they don't burn the air. I had to switch to one in my son's room as he was having runny eyes. They do radiate in too many directions though... A foil covered wall behind them may help.

With all portable heaters I have found that cutting an extension cord and inserting an electrical box in the middle with a timer thermostat helps even out the temp in the room and gives better control. It also allows simple turning off the heat when the room is not likely to be in use. In our climate (Vancouver Island BC Canada) I have found that 200w seems to warm a 100 square foot room no problem. Our house is not super insulated being 25 years old. The timer also allows you to set a minimum temp. when the room is off (58F in my house 50F in yours). Running portable heaters on low watt settings means you are much less likely to pop a breaker because two rooms are on the same circuit. Cheap heaters with NO electronic control are best because they can be controlled externally. Most heaters can be set to less than 1400w but check before you buy, some of the electric fireplaces run at 1400w and rely on switching off and on to keep things right. I modified mine to be 700w only... I also added a separate plug to run just the display.... not sure what that does to the warranty   but it has run just fine for 1.5 years so far.

Electric blanket... only stays on for 3 hours... doesn't reset itself on after a power out. But seems not too bad in a room that only goes down to 58F and a warm wife (its my feet that get cold). I am sure I could rewire it to stay on and use a wall timer to leave it on only 6 (or whatever) hours a night.

The big thing is wrists and ankles. Keep them covered. I have found fingerless gloves are just as warm as long sleeves... maybe cut the cuffs off of old (clean) socks to wear on your wrists whilst laying about in front of your radiant heater.

In case you are wondering, I work for Canada Post as a letter carrier. I find long sleeves quite warm by the end of my shift, so gloves for when I start let me wear short sleeves. Humans can stand a much wider range of temperature than we want to.
 
                                
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Y'all are kind of going crazy in here.

1. Incandescents are not as efficient as baseboard heaters, generally.

As you've observed, it's more than just about *how much* heat, it's also about *where* you heat.

Incandescent bulbs heat the ceiling - the least useful place for heat. (most useful is the floor... mmm, radiant floor heating...)

2. Gas heat is way more efficient than electric heat.

If you get a 90% efficient furnace, it's approximately twice as efficient as standard electric heat - the price should reflect this. We're assuming for these purposes that you're not able to do this, but still, if you have one, *use it*. Best of all would be a nice condensing boiler that also produces your hot water and powers your radiant floor heat. nom.

3. Heat pumps are more efficient than gas heat - unless it's *very* cold out.

If you can get an air conditioner that has a heat pump mode, it should fit into a window frame nicely. They will be approximately 300% efficient until the temperature goes below freezing. (no joke, they have efficiency above unity)

For example, this guy here will produce 14000 BTU of heat per hour with only 1100 w of electricity:

http://www.soleusair.com/soleusair/ph1_14r_03.html

Get one, plug it into your window, insulate the gap really well, and save a ton of money. Keep the compact fluorescent bulbs. Being efficient doesn't mean being uncomfortable, people.

Also, go ahead and get an energy audit from the electric company, while you're at it. They'll usually do one for free. There's a surprisingly large amount you can do even as a tenant - plugging drafts, insulating the hot water heater, etc.
 
paul wheaton
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charles johnson "carbonout" wrote:
paul how about a link to that 300w heater

i
have a heated matress pad love it http://cozywinters.com/shop/pf-shplmp.html


I think I put links on all of them.
 
paul wheaton
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sparger wrote:
Y'all are kind of going crazy in here.


If we're all getting on alright and you're the odd man out, doesn't that make you the crazy one?

1. Incandescents are not as efficient as baseboard heaters, generally.

As you've observed, it's more than just about *how much* heat, it's also about *where* you heat.

Incandescent bulbs heat the ceiling - the least useful place for heat. (most useful is the floor... mmm, radiant floor heating...)


I suppose I could along with that if the ceiling in question was black and the light was blocked.  I feel pretty good that light is the quintessential example of radiant heat.  Further, I think it is easy to optimize light for human warmth.

As for Gas:  well, that's violating the limitation set forth at the beginning of this thread. 

As for the heat pump:  that does sound spiffy!






 
                        
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Incandescent bulbs heat the ceiling - the least useful place for heat.


You are assuming that incandescent lights are located ONLY in or at the ceiling.  In my apartment, only the kitchen and the bedroom have overhead lights.  Cheapie fixtures -- can't use anything more than a 40W in them, so in order to read, etc., I have table lamps and light stands where I need them.  These lamps, in the winter, use incandescent bulbs.  They also are located close by or at head height, so they may EVENTUALLY heat the ceiling; but then, so does my own body heat.
 
                                
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My ultimate point is that for 100w of electricity, you can get either 100w of heat and light, or 20w of light and 240w of heat from a pump. Your choice.

For myself, everywhere is CF lighting, and my central heat is a heat pump with gas auxiliary - about the best you can hope for.

I think the real solution, long term, is to make energy efficiency matter to landlords. Right now, they have a strong incentive to bang in some baseboard electric heaters (dangerous AND inefficient) rather than do the smart thing and install a heat pump. I was lucky enough to rent a place that the landlord lived in - so they did the proper thing and insulated it well, plus the efficient heating systems.
 
Brice Moss
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did we cover in here how vital ceiling fans are for even temps in a room, I can stand 4-8degrees cooler real temp with the ceiling fan in winter mode as it keeps that nasty cold layer from making my feet miserable.

I'm getting my girl a set of these with rechargaqble batteries fro xmas though http://www.google.com/products/catalog?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=electric+socks&oe=utf-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=2636441128986852817&ei=8UWqTLzqIIOCsQONpqC_Aw&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCcQ8wIwAA#
 
Len Ovens
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sparger wrote:

2. Gas heat is way more efficient than electric heat.



Say what? Tell that to my wallet. I got rid of my gas and went all electric. My electric bill went up, but not near as much as my gas bill was before. Gas is hard to vary by both time and room at the same time. Electric heat all goes inside my house, gas sends at least some of it outside... even when it is turned off (not something efficient percentages count). Gas may be a bit cheaper... but efficient? Not cheaper around here though. It did used to be, but it has been going up faster than electric.

Gas has health problems:
    - it's fumes (aside from co2 and water, gas is not just CH4)
    - It has to burn hot ... A small furnace has to heat a small amount of air very hot to
          heat a big house.  This burns the air and dust and feeds those fumes through
          out your living area.
    - air movement... blows the dust all over the place... in order to heat from the bottom up
          the air movement is at floor level where the most dust is to be found.
    - ductwork and whatever lives there.

Are baseboards great? Not along an uninsulated outside wall, but otherwise all the heat stays in. for safety sake, they don't get that hot... I can put my hand inside and not burn, so air and dust won't burn either. Each room can be individually controlled... get rid of those round knob controllers that baseboards come with (and a 5 or 10 degree temp spread) and put a timer control in each room (.5 degree temp spread and low power settings as temp nears set point prevents overshoot). I prefer the oil-filled heaters. They can be out in the middle of the room and radiate where you need the heat. 200 watts can do wonders.

I guess one just has to say "your mileage may vary".
 
charles c. johnson
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It just depends on where you live and what you have . Your best bet is to have multiple sources for heating/cooling. One things for sure the cost of energy will only increase.
 
                    
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brice Moss wrote:
you can redirect your dryer vent t inside (an old nylon makes a good lint filter) and add moisture and heat while drying clothes guilt free


Only try that with an electric clothes dryer.
 
                    
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Len wrote:
50F which is 10C. I have had it recommended not to go below 16C or 60F... something about causing cracks from contraction I think. Please let us know how it goes


It really won't make any difference to the structure. Our mountain cabin is typical stick construction (2x10 wood joist floor, 2x6 walls) with both 5/8 sheetrock interior walls and some T&G wood walls.  When we leave it vacant in the winter between weekend use there is no heat at all. The interior temperature drops to below freezing at times. Even with heat cycling from below freezing to 75 degrees for a couple of winters now there are no cracks in any walls or anywhere else. We can hear creaks and groans as the building warms, but those are from hidden sources it would seem. Also keep in mind that the entire exterior shell goes from summer highs to winter lows as well as the daily warm-cool cycle that occurs from winter sun heating the exterior siding in the day and the cool off that happens overnight.

The real question is how low is a person willing to allow the temperature to drop for their own personal comfort vs saving dollars spent for energy.

 
                        
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don miller; MountainDon wrote:
It really won't make any difference to the structure. Our mountain cabin is typical stick construction (2x10 wood joist floor, 2x6 walls) with both 5/8 sheetrock interior walls and some T&G wood walls.  When we leave it vacant in the winter between weekend use there is no heat at all. The interior temperature drops to below freezing at times. Even with heat cycling from below freezing to 75 degrees for a couple of winters now there are no cracks in any walls or anywhere else. We can hear creaks and groans as the building warms, but those are from hidden sources it would seem. Also keep in mind that the entire exterior shell goes from summer highs to winter lows as well as the daily warm-cool cycle that occurs from winter sun heating the exterior siding in the day and the cool off that happens overnight.

The real question is how low is a person willing to allow the temperature to drop for their own personal comfort vs saving dollars spent for energy.




The "not to go below 16C or 60F" isn't for the structure.  It's for the plumbing.  Our landlord passes out notices every December that if you leave for the holidays (I'm in a university town) to keep your thermostat at 60 degrees.  Last winter some idiot not only turned off his thermostat, he left a window open "just a crack".  The resulting water damage when his pipes froze seriously damaged both his apartment and the one immediately below his.

The landlord was, shall we say, "miffed." 
 
                    
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My comment was directed at "causing cracks from contraction".


Landlords tend yo be conservative in their rules, at least I am. The minimum interior air temperature to prevent freezing is going to vary a lot though between buildings. Whether or not plumbing is located in exterior walls and how well the walls are insulated are a factor, as well as how cold it drops outside.  Sixty as a minimum seems rather high to me.



I was also going to comment that when renting apartments or condo's if one has a choice of a unit on an end or a unit with neighboring units sharing both side walls the "sandwich" is better as you take advantage of the heat from the neighboring units. And of course an upper unit might be preferable in winter as heat rises. Not so good in summer though.
 
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don miller; MountainDon wrote:
My comment was directed at "causing cracks from contraction".

Landlords tend yo be conservative in their rules, at least I am. The minimum interior air temperature to prevent freezing is going to vary a lot though between buildings. Whether or not plumbing is located in exterior walls and how well the walls are insulated are a factor, as well as how cold it drops outside.  Sixty as a minimum seems rather high to me.



I was thinking of flooring like tiles or some of the laminates... but I am thinking I have seen tiles used outside here with no problem. I don't have tiles here anyway and my floors are bamboo. My low temperature is for when a room is empty or no one is here. It has been 15C, but the outside rarely gets much below freezing (-5C or so), soon as it clouds over the heat from the ocean melts everything. Awake living spaces are 19 or 20C (I find I need it a bit higher first thing in the morning than in the afternoon) Sleep temp is 17 or 18C (quilts are nice) I will try setting vacant to 10C this year and see where things go.

I live in a split level, bedrooms and WC on  top, living/dining/kit on main, rumpus downstairs. We generally don't heat the downstairs portion except for a space heater pointed at the computer... my yf doesn't even use that. I think the lowest I have seen it is 12C last year. The kitchen has an in wall blower heater, but we use that very rarely first thing in the morning as it is open to both the dining and living room both of which have a baseboard with their individual timer thermostat. It is interesting that even with a 5ft wide arch between living/dining room, there is often 2 or 3 degrees difference.  On the top floor, the bathroom has no heat, nor does the spare room even last winter, but both have their door open most of the time. The spare room never seems to go below 14C. The two bedrooms in use are 17 or 18C at night, 20C first thing in the morning and off the rest of the day. The whole house goes down to 15C from about 8am to 3pm unless some one is home and on weekends. The water heater turns off at 1130pm and back on at 6am. Almost every room has a window open at least a crack year round.... health is more important than saving every penny  

As a side note the heaters in the bedrooms are low power (200 to 700w) 120v portables. I put an electrical box in the same stud space as an outlet but shoulder height. I split the hot side of the outlet so the top plug is normal then run power from that to the upper box and install a timer thermostat to control the lower outlet. An oil filler heater set to it's lowest power level gets plugged in to this. Works great. Normally a 100sqft room would have a 1k baseboard, but the biggest one of them had a 220 1k baseboard running at 120v (250w?) and was (just barely) able to keep that 168 sqft room at temp even on the coldest days. I am not sure if it is better to have a low power heater on longer and more often or a high power heater on less time.

Anyway, I think I will try a lower vacant temperature.... I may require a "warm box" for Kieffer and sourdough starter...
 
                    
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Len wrote:
I was thinking of flooring like tiles or some of the laminates...


Rest easy. The cabin I mentioned has 432 sq ft of regular ceramic tile flooring mortared down to 1/4" cement board underlay. That is all screwed down to standard 3/4" OSB sub flooring. Not even a hint of a crack in the grout anywheres; all tiles as good as new as well.

 
                        
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Len wrote:
Anyway, I think I will try a lower vacant temperature.... I may require a "warm box" for Kieffer and sourdough starter...


Couldn't you rig up a pile of compost to do that for you?      
 
Len Ovens
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Muzhik wrote:
Couldn't you rig up a pile of compost to do that for you?      


That would be a different thread..... I do keep them in a "cooler" just because it seals, but I could put a jar of warm water in too. I tried keeping it on top of the fridge, but our new one doesn't seem to get warm up there, not even 1 deg. warmer.
 
paul wheaton
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Update.

Yesterday there was a time when it was 56 degrees F according to the thermometer near my desk.  I felt warm and toasty.

I had the dog bed heater at my feet:  about 60 watts. 

The butt warmer set on low: about 30 watts. 

I rigged a brooder-style lamp to hang from the ceiling.  At first I tried a 250 watt white heat lamp.  That did something weird to my eyes. So I changed the bulb to a regular 100 watt incandescent bulb.  Now, when I touch my bald spot, it actually feels warm.  Plus, I think this helps to warm my hands as I type (radiant heat).

Oh - and this was all while sitting in my bathrobe. 

I have fired up the radiant heater just to see what it's like.  It does put out a lot of directional heat.  But based on it using 300 watts, I kinda wonder about other solutions that might use less juice. 

I have the baseboard heaters in my house all set to 50 degrees.  We've had a lot of frosty mornings here in montana, but so far I think none of the heaters have come on yet. 

I plan to have the room temp drop to about 50 and see how comfortable that is. 

 
charles c. johnson
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is your computer by your feet ? they put off alot of heat .
 
paul wheaton
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Here is the biggest bump I've had so far this winter. 

I took two reptile heaters and put them into desk lamps and set them up to shine on me and my keyboard.  Temps in the house today were around 53 degrees, but it felt like 72. 

Here is what the heater looks like.  It's a ceramic thing that goes into a regular light bulb socket.  60 watts each.



Below is a pic of my setup.  I got the lamps for free from a friend that was going to throw them away. 

They kinda point at my hands and kinda point at my chest.  I can feel the warmth on my face.

I'm going to do some more experimenting through the winter, but I think these two are going to be more valuable than a 1500 watt heater under my desk!

hand_heat.png
[Thumbnail for hand_heat.png]
 
paul wheaton
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paul wheaton
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We are halfway through november, and here in montana we've had some snow flurries, and several hard frosts.  This place has baseboard electric heaters.  I'm pretty sure that none of them have come on yet - although one time somebody was here and feeling a bit cold, so I turned the thermostat in the living room up to 65 for about an hour. 

During the coldest times, I fired up the heated mat, the heated seat, the radiant heater and the 100 watt light bulb over my head and I felt warm.  Now, I've replaced the 300 watt radiant heater with the two reptile lamps and feel pretty warm. 

Today has warmed up - the house is 58.  I want it to get down to 50 and I'll experiment with just the two reptile heaters (60 watts each) and the floor mat (65 watts).  185 watts total.  I think it would be pretty excellent to end up feeling perfectly comfortable at 50 degrees with the total heat in the house at 185 watts.

Imagine if this works and millions of people try this.  Not only could each of those millions of people save hundreds (thousands?) of dollars each year, but it could save a lot of energy - which would save a lot of pollution.

Is anyone else trying anything like this?  For those that go to work all day, I would think that this would be even cheaper for you:  you only need a bit of heat in the morning and a bit of heat in the evening.  Your power bill could even be far cheaper than mine!



 
paul wheaton
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58 degrees.  Just the dog bed heater and the two reptile heaters:  fail.  The tops of my legs started to feel cold.  I turned on the 100 watt bulb.


 
Len Ovens
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paul wheaton wrote:
58 degrees.  Just the dog bed heater and the two reptile heaters:  fail.  The tops of my legs started to feel cold.  I turned on the 100 watt bulb.


Really? Hmm, 58F is the same as 14.4C... where our computer station is sitting the temp reads 14.5 right now, but hit 12C much of the time last year. This did not stop my wife or I from using it... a sweater was needed... and I don't think we did much typing. Our hands did get cold though (after being there for a few hours) but over all it was not uncomfortable. The heaters you have sitting over the keyboard would have been nice. I am guessing 12C is about a cool as the earth gets around here (at leaast to 6ft down). BTW that is what "lap dogs" were bread for

As for everyone using just a small amount of heat as you do... if they are not willing to wear socks and a sweater in the house as needed, I can't see them setting up local heaters for every activity either... Timer thermostats are cheap, yet most people have central heating set to the same temp 24hours if they are home or not. They don't even close the heating vent in unused rooms.

I would like to try more radiant heating for things like watching TV with the room air temp lower. The problem would be placement of heaters... they would probably have to be on the roof not to be in the way.... which would mean lots of wasted heat or a reflector above.... might not look too nice.
 
paul wheaton
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Len,

I think what I am trying to do is to show that there is choice.  After all, what folks really want is comfort.  And if somebody spends $2000 on heat for the winter when they could be spending $100 on heat for the winter - but still be comfortable, then:

A)  they have more money, and

B)  if enough people did it, a few coal plants could be shut down. 

 
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