Supplimental Wall Mouted Electric Heater for Small Space.


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Old 02-17-11, 09:28 AM
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Supplimental Wall Mouted Electric Heater for Small Space.

Last year my son and his new wife moved into a second floor condo in Pennsylviana that uses a heatpump to heat the main living areas. The entrance is a small (3' x 4 ') area located at the lower level. The heat pump system was not designed to heat the entrance area. There is a long stairway leading from the second floor living area to the very small front door entrance area which is located on the lower level.

Because the heatpump does not heat the entrance area, the builder installed a 2' long base board electric heater by the front door to keep the area warm during the Winter months. The electric baseboard heater has a built in thermostat. Running the existing electric heater adds approximately $35.00 to $45.00 a month to the electric bill.

The front door is good quality, insulated door and all the seals are in good condition.

We considered installing a storm door but I am not convinced the storm door alone would make much difference in the cost of heating the area and that installing a more economical heater might be a better alternative. Maybe intalling both a storm door and a more economical heater would be the best answer.

I have found a small, electric, wall mounted heater named Envi with a built in thermostat. Envi advertizes the heater cost 4 cents/hour to run. Envi also claims it is 50% more efficient then "normal" heating methods. Based on thier advertisement, it seems like it might be a good alternative but I have no experiece with the product.

You can learn more about the Envi heater here: eHeat

Any suggestions about an alternative electric heater that could be mouted on the wall and would be more economical to run then the existing baseboard heater and/or comments about the Envi heater are welcome. Space is limited, so placing a temporary heater on the floor would be problamatic. I am open to any solutions. Bill
 
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Old 02-17-11, 11:59 AM
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Hi Bill,
There are a few ways to get more heat out of your electric bill, like a heat pump, but this is most likely not one of them. Your big problem is probably those stairs. Any heat you generate will quickly go up and be replaced by a flow of cooler air coming down. Most stairs are a big convective loop.

If you have access to the basement ceiling directly below, some electric radiant floor heat might help. Being right where you need it might allow you to use a bit less.

What is the current heating system and any way to branch that over to this area?

Bud
 
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Old 02-17-11, 12:24 PM
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Thanks for the reply Bud.

The main area is heated with a heat pump and it does a good job of heating the living area which is upstairs. I considered tieing into the existing duct system in the attic and runing a small duct to the entry area. Unfortuately, I would have break into walls in the living area and some of that living area is in the adjoining condo. There is just no place that I can access the wall and fish the duct to the entry area. It's a real bummer.

I live in Florida and my son lives in PA. We visit him for a few weeks in the summer. I would like to help him out but I am just not certain what is the best way to address the problem. It started by my son asking me to install a storm door but I honesly don't think that will fix the problem.. The door is a high end door that is well insulated and the seals are in excellent condition. The basic problem is there is no heat being delivered to the area except for the base board heater which is expensive to use.

Did you have a chance to look at the Envi heater that I linked? What is our opinion?

Bill
 
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Old 02-17-11, 04:42 PM
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Unfortunately it doesn't sound correct. I can't say what I really think, but we can look at some of their information. The wall mount Envi heater is listed as an average wattage of 450 watts. A typical electric baseboard heater will be 200 to 250 watts per foot. So, you already have a 450 watt heater there (2'). The heat produced per watt would be EXACTLY the same. No one has figured out how to get 50% more heat out of a watt of energy. Heat pumps work more efficiently because they move energy from outside to inside. But one kilowatt/hr of electricity will produce 3,412 btus of heat and that's it, whether it the one you have or this new unit.

They say it will cost $0.04 per hour. Well at $0.08 per KWH, that is exactly what the one you have is costing, if it is the same size.

If it really is costing $45 per month, then it is either much larger (as in a high output unit) or your cost of electricity is very high. If it is just much larger, then a smaller unit will cost less because it is smaller. Not because it does anything different. If the electric rate is higher, then their unit will cost more than what they state as well.

Bottom line is, maybe it is a smaller heater, and smaller will cost less, if you can get away with less heat out there. But that is what the T-Stat is supposed to be doing, turn it down.

Bud.
 
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Old 02-17-11, 06:48 PM
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If there isn't a door at the top of the stairs you might consider one.
 
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Old 02-17-11, 06:59 PM
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Thanks Bud. I agree with your analigy. My son lives just few miles from a nuclear generating plant so his electric bills are probably below average. I was hoping to help him out but it appears the builder's solution to the cold entryway was probably the best answer to the problem. Thanks again for your imput. Bill
 
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Old 02-19-11, 04:16 AM
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Installing a door at the top of the starway is a great idea but not practical because the upper half of the stairway on the left side is open to the living area. I would have to close in the wall on the upper left side of the stairway, all the way to another stairway that leads to a loft and is over the entrance stairway.

So far, I have found half the attic uninsulated, two miswired 3-way electrical switches, a water heater with only one heater element working, two toilets with leaky tank seals, a plugged condensate drain line on the air-handler and leaky seals on two insulated windows.

He paid $595.00 to have the condo "inspected" before he purchased it and the only thing the inspector found was 2 missing knobs on the stove timer and a defective GFCI outlet. Sure wish he had consulted me before buying the condo. Bill
 
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Old 02-19-11, 05:09 AM
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Bill, I know I don't have to tell you, but to emphasis for other readers that when buying a house they need a good inspection from a qualified independent home inspector, and before they sign, a friend or relative familiar with the trades doesn't hurt. Too many stories to go into, but yours is another good example as to why.

One more thought on that entrance. They make electric heat mats for under carpets. Since electric is reasonable, perhaps a mat and or some controls for the existing heater and mat if used to limit when it is on. That entrance probably doesn't need to be heated 24/7, so reducing the time cycle by 50% should reduce the cost by the same.

Bud
 
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Old 02-19-11, 11:18 AM
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Just noodling but a ceiling fan directly over the entry way might draw air from the the central heat and push it down. Then the electric heat would have to work less.
 
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Old 02-19-11, 11:54 AM
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Hi Ray.

Now that's thinking out of the box, Ray. A fan just might work. At least it should move the air around. Who knows it might even solve the problem. I will have to check with my son but I believe there is enough room overhead to install a small ceiling fan. Thanks Bill
 
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Old 02-19-11, 03:30 PM
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Just to remind you they make close mount fans for mobile homes with seven foot ceilings. You wouldn't maybe need a light kit. If the only good spot is an overhead light you could replace it and add sconces for light.
 
 

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