Archives for posts with tag: office

So the first part of the sloping insulation is up in the office and it’s such a dynamic photo I had to upload it.

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Classic stuff. It’s held up by massive screws into the sloping beams and penny washers to displace the weight a little. Next is a layer of plaster.

Now that I’ve installed that, there is just this pile to work through.

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Laura watched a video about a convection heater powered by tea lights and suggested I try it in my office on chilly days.

I tried it out a couple of times and it does make my little office reasonably warm. First the inner pot with the hole blocked up. It sits on a bread tin, which contains the lit candles:


Then on goes the outer pot; note the second bread tin to keep the first off the book underneath. The first bread tin gets very hot:

P1020872The Internet has picked over this a lot, trying to decide if it’s better than having just four candles burning without the fire-hazard construction on top of them. I’ll add my thoughts: the amount of heat generated is not changed, rather the way the heat is distributed is. So four candles send the heat straight up, with a weak convection current caused by the hot air rising. The pot heater increases that convection current to help circulate the heat a lot better and also stores the heat before releasing it as radiation, which travels in straight lines outwards. Both these contribute to making me warmer than the four candles would.

In other words, it’s a simplified masonry heater:

The same source has a diagram of the pot heater:

If I had the inclination, I could come up with some more mass to store more of the heat and so on. Maybe once I’ve done my rocket stove I’ll get to that.

A recent article in the Guardian summed up the steps to take to to increase the efficiency and cosiness of an old, leaky house. We’ve done quite a few things mentioned and plan a few more. It advocates a less invasive approach to start with, rather than investing in modern systems designed for modern houses. We’ve already installed a wood-fueled heating system and turned off the oil-fired range. We’re a stove or two short of the ideal of heating the whole downstairs with wood, though we do heat each room individually as recommended.

I am steadily draught-proofing floorboards, skirting boards and window alcoves to cut down cold draughts into the house. Other sources of heat loss are thermal bridges: these are uninsulated areas within a larger insulated area. The classic one is the loft hatch, so I got to work on it after inheriting an old duvet (the loft hatch is in my office).

P1020868A lovely duvet sandwich, with a loft hatch underneath somewhere. I made the top battens a little too long to start with, so the sides of the duvet wouldn’t flip up enough to fit the hatch. Once they were shorter it dropped in nicely into place. So far it seems a little better in the office, especially with a little simple heating during the day (another post to come).