It's Getting Hot in Here

We're giving away a bag made from recycled sails from our etsy shop this week. Don't forget to enter!

We've finally got sufficient (more than sufficient) heat in my office / sun room! You may recall that the heat issue became our must frustrating project yet when we installed a heater that was suppose to be able to heat the space and more, but barely kept it at 60 degrees. Barely. So we put the project on hold while we researched other heaters. We're heard that radiators are the preferred method for supplemental heat, but we didn't want to take up any floor space or be limited in furniture configuration, especially since I've moved everything around twice since we finished the room in June. Plus, we were kind of stuck with wall heaters since we had cut a big hole in the pine paneling, which could not be repaired as easily as a giant hole in drywall.

The first bit of good news came when we realized the wire we had run for the previous heater was heavy enough for a 240v unit. Then we found that we had enough empty spaces on our service panel to accommodate the new circuit without having to re-route too many other outlets, we just had to move around a few breakers to get two to line up vertically for one of these guys:
(We didn't know which version we had, so we bought both and returned the one we didn't need.)

S and I haven't really worked with moving circuits around so my dad offered to fly down to help. How cool is that? We fed him well while he was here and sent him home with cupcakes.

We had to enlarge the hole in the wall slightly, and in hindsight I would have tested the heater to make sure it worked well before enlarging the hole, but we didn't. While we were in the wall, we removed all of the old insulation around the heater box and replaced it with new stuff. We just weren't comfortable having this old paper-backed insulation next the new heater box.
Enlarging the hole and replacing the insulation took the most time during the day-long project. But after a few hours the twin-fan heater was in the wall and ready to be wired at the box.
Once the new circuit was hooked up back at the box we turned the heater on to find that it took the room from 58 degrees to 70 in right around ten minutes. 70 is warmer than we've ever had the house, so it felt very toasty.

We screwed the grill on, squirted a little expandable foam insulation behind the new 240v. outlet under the window, cleaned up, and called it a day. The office went from one of the chilliest rooms to the warmest in a day. And I discovered that if I put a little fan on the chair under the heater, pointed toward the ceiling and my desk on the other side of the room, I can get the heat circulating so the room gets above 80 degrees. That's hot! If I had a TV and a tea pot in here, I don't think I'd ever leave.
As the saying goes, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again." I'm glad we didn't give up, the new heater is way better than the space heater I had been using for the past month, way better.

Thanks, Dad!

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  1. I have a finished attic turned into guest bedroom/craft room. I have been trying to figure out an affordable way to cool and heat the space. This blog entry really got my wheels turning with all the possibilities.

    Could you please give more details about what you used? Where to find it? Does it also cool, or is it only a heater? Would you recommend it? Was it expensive?

    Any information would be really appreciated.

    Thank you,

  2. Hi Marina -
    That sounds like a great project! We used this heater, which cost right around $160: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100094225/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053
    and in the summer we use a window a/c unit. The room would be heated & cooled with the rest of the house just fine, but because I work from home we try to keep utility costs down by just heating & cooling my one room. If you search for "BTU calculations" you can figure out how many BTU's you need for your space. We calculated what we needed and then doubled it to account for all the windows and the old construction.

    My only concern with your attic space is whether it's sufficiently insulated. We spent quite a bit of time insulating the floor & ceiling above our room to make sure our heating and cooling costs weren't just heating the outdoors! With attic spaces it's really important to insulate properly and have cool air flowing above the insulated portion so you don't rot the roof. We installed soffet and gable vents above the office roof. I'll do a full post to explain what I mean.

  3. Oh gosh. We have been having *sorta* similar problems in our sunroom/laundry room/powder room. We bought a 1905 Denver Foursquare with this little addon, but omigosh....it isn't insulated properly and the pipes run along the exterior wall, which we found out the first time they froze. Then they froze again, and again, and again. Granted, it was 40 below the other night, but we even had a space heater running in the powder room full blast all night! I'm groaning at having to rip it apart (maybe this spring?) and redo it...I just don't want the pipes to freeze any more!!!!!

    Sorry for shouting...


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