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Creating Thermal Mass For An Electric Space Heater

 
Posts: 129
Location: Elgin, IL
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Our space heater is the sole source of winter heat for our tiny house (besides the oven, warm water, and body heat). I'd like to improve it's efficiency by adding in some thermal mass above the heater. What materials and shapes would be great to use?

Here is our heater: http://www.amazon.com/Lasko-5622-Profile-Silent-Heater/dp/B005FA2YCW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444834503&sr=8-1&keywords=baseboard+space+heater
 
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Alex Veidel : 1st) What are you plans to protect your plumbing pipes ? Irregardless of whose responsibility it is to manage your water supply,

Living with buckets of water to heat on a stove and for flushing with gets old fast ! The heater described in your link has a tip-over cut-off switch

so I am assuming it is portable !

My best idea would be to put it under a big table and drape the table with blankets this will maximize your comfort. Five gallon buckets filled with damp

sand will allow you to move your hot spot- but i really don't expect it to get you through a upper mid-west winter ! see link below :


http://richsoil.com/electric-heat.jsp

For the good of the Craft! Big AL

 
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Alex,

Great question!

I went looking at your heater at Amazon, I always like to read the reviews of any product to get an idea of any issues.
Evidently one woman had a fire started by your style of heater, so having a radiant/thermal mass surround around the
heater would not only be good for catching and retaining heat, but also provide a barrier to keep the fire threat to a
minimum. It sounds like it generates a great deal of heat. Erica Wisner talks about your situation sort of at the
following thread Rocket Mass Heaters Without the Mass

In the thread she mentions some workarounds for different applications.

Workarounds:
- Portable / Pebble style rocket mass heater: You could consider a lower-mass heater such as Paul Wheaton's pebble-style / box-and-fill construction (also removable should the need arise).
- Smaller masonry heaters: European apartment heaters, and a few American manufacturers, include moderate-mass masonry heaters. You could look into a Tulikivi heater, or a soapstone woodstove, then use it as a springboard to discuss less-expensive "hybrid options" (rocket mass heater). Kiko Denzer's 'Heater Hat' is a clever example of a tiny masonry heater built onto a woodstove.
- Improved radiant heat: If the apartment already has a fireplace or wood-fired heat source, you could look at improving that heater (e.g. with a Rumford retrofit) and/or creating more storage to sustain the warmth after the fire is out (a brick hearth or backsplash designed to catch radiant heat from the stove, dense 'art' or brick 'end-tables' in front of the fireplace, a heater hat as above, or just pile bricks on the stove....
- Passive-solar techniques: You could also look at improving your thermal mass heat storage for sunlight. Jars of colored water or oil in the sunny windowsills, stone-slab or tile (even over carpet), stone or glass coffee-tables and curios, and other thermal mass additions can store a lot of heat while spreading it out at acceptable loads for an apartment floor. Insulating drapes or wall-hangings can help you trap that heat at night. Use shady / exterior walls for storage, e.g. wardrobes or enclosed book-cases, with insulation between furniture and wall.



I mention YouTube so much in my posts I think I should get a kickback from them, here is a link to Build a Hearth Pad

 
Mike Feddersen
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Allen,

From a previous post of Alex he showed pictures of his "tiny house". Alex said,
his wife and he lived in it since November of last year so he know how darn cold
it gets. Already struggled through those issues, just looking to maximize heat
for better warmth.

Alex, I wonder if you had a small ceiling fan, if that would help remove the the
pool of heat at ceiling level? With your loft sleeping arrangement, I can imagine
not wanting to crank the heat up too much since heat rises, so having a mass
down where the heater is located would be smart.

I lived in AZ and used a thermal barrier on the windows to keep the Summer heat
out of an RV we lived in. Reflectix
I was perusing this site and they used bubble wrap to help keep some of the Winter
at bay. Bubble Wrap on Windows

An idea would be to have a exterior insulating barrier for your bottom side of
your tiny house. A fairly cheap idea is strawbales, stacked two high. I also
saw this radiant barrier that might be added to the bottom side of your tiny
house. Radiant Barrier

The Build it Solar site also has active and passive solar collector projects that
may be of good use to you. Active Air Solar Heat

This guy used aluminum baking pans, the disposable kind for his project.
Mentioned using gloss black, someone suggested a flat black would work
better. Ypsilanti, Michigan on a 6 degree winter day, harvesting 140 degree
heat. The clear plastic sheeting show even using cheap materials you can
still harvest great BTU's.

Disposable Aluminum Pans



This gal built a gorgeous solar collector, she goes through step-by-step
and under the video there is a link to where she has a list of materials.
She talks about being so proud of the project, she should be it really is
awesome.



This guy compares a steel can vs. the screen style, with temperatures,

 
Posts: 520
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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heya ...
that solar-collector is awesome. i ve seen some videos before.

why does aluminium perform better than just painting the osb-board black? is it about physics like "heat absorption rate of the material"?

would a "crumbly" surface work best? imagine (re-used) aluminium-foil wrapped into loose balls and stacked into the box.

i saw some good ideas in video:

- use heat resistant black stove paint

- use insulated glass window as covering

- insulate whole thing

- use PV-module to power fans (it might be equipped with heat-measuring thing that will start the fan when a high enough temperature is present in the system)

- some ppl built the modules against the wall and just used the updraft of the hot air to create airflow

- make sure to vent/cool-down the system enough. Some plastic constructions did melt

- plan for summer. plan for easy removal or covering/shading of the boxes

- some ppl used these solar collectors to go into a small "hut (box like a beehive" for drying the veggie-harvest)


blesses
tobias
 
Tobias Ber
Posts: 520
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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concerning thermal mass for electric heaters:

what would be the benefit of that? frankly i do not see any.

these systems react super quickly. they bring heat as soon as you flick the switch.

you would not save money by storing the heat in thermal mass (unless you get energy cheaper at certain times).

so best would be to bring the electric heat just where you need it most at that moment. that would involve having several small units of electrical heating. and having them running (maybe on small power) most the time.

that idea with the fan would be helpfull to distribute the hot air better (not just on your ceiling). but even better would be radiant heat where you need it most.

there are modules (looking like big metal boards) with electrical heating. they radiate the heat.

one could use heating blankets to warm the sofa or bed. one could even use them to make a floor or wall heating (with proper insulation behind/under) it.


but best would be to have better insulation and other heat sources (solar, wood, propane whatever might fit your situation)


i hope it might help.

blesses
 
Alex Veidel
Posts: 129
Location: Elgin, IL
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allen lumley wrote:Alex Veidel : 1st) What are you plans to protect your plumbing pipes ? Irregardless of whose responsibility it is to manage your water supply,

Living with buckets of water to heat on a stove and for flushing with gets old fast ! The heater described in your link has a tip-over cut-off switch

so I am assuming it is portable !

My best idea would be to put it under a big table and drape the table with blankets this will maximize your comfort. Five gallon buckets filled with damp

sand will allow you to move your hot spot- but i really don't expect it to get you through a upper mid-west winter ! see link below :


http://richsoil.com/electric-heat.jsp

For the good of the Craft! Big AL



Sorry guys, got a little distracted and forgot to come back :/

As far as plumbing goes, we're using heat tape with an insulating cover built around it to keep it from freezing. Yeah, we hauled our water by hand the first winter. That got old fast

The space heater I linked to got us through last winter well enough. This year we've skirted and we'll also be replacing our door, so those things should help considerably.
 
Alex Veidel
Posts: 129
Location: Elgin, IL
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Mike Feddersen wrote:Allen,


Alex, I wonder if you had a small ceiling fan, if that would help remove the the
pool of heat at ceiling level? With your loft sleeping arrangement, I can imagine
not wanting to crank the heat up too much since heat rises, so having a mass
down where the heater is located would be smart.

An idea would be to have a exterior insulating barrier for your bottom side of
your tiny house. A fairly cheap idea is strawbales, stacked two high. I also
saw this radiant barrier that might be added to the bottom side of your tiny
house. Radiant Barrier




I've been thinking about putting in a ceiling fan. We've thought about using straw bales, but it's really too much of a fire hazard. We skirted with 1" foamboard insulation over the summer in preparation for winter.
 
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