In November 2019 there was just me living here, and I was working in the office 3 days a week. Now there are two of us, both at home all day every day, me on the ground floor and my daughter working in the loft. The gas central heating is now on 16 hours a day, and household electricity use is around one and a half times what it was when it was just me here.
These are snapshots of energy use compared with November last year.
The loft room is big - dual aspect with great daylight and views (on sunny days like today at least) but it’s cold.
My daughter is currently using an old fan heater to keep her warm at her work desk.
What’s the most efficient (£ to buy and run, and carbon) way of heating a large room?
I don’t have the answer, but it’s worth thinking about whether you can heat the person rather than the air:
I investigated this for my home office but ultimately found it easy to heat as it’s a small, well insulated room. I run a dehumidifier in there for drying laundry (lots of it as we have a new baby). That kicks out about 200W of heat. Before that I used to burn between 1 and 3 tealights which completely heated the room, remarkably. Not zero carbon (and a little eccentric) but much better than heating the whole house.
Thanks Paul for a link to a very interesting article! I can remember the first 8 years of my life living in a house heated by coal and electric fires. Sofas and chairs were moved closer to the fire in winter, and my grandmother’s high back chair was really cosy. I still go to a camp with fire circles every year, taking two sheepskin rugs which I put on top of my air bed to sleep on and which I also put in my camping chair for evenings around the fire. Keeping my back warm until I get into my sleeping bag is really important to get a good night’s sleep!
Maybe we can make some kind of screen around the back of the office chair to help. The fan heater is already under the desk to focus the heat on the person.
Have also been wondering whether we could clear enough space in the single bedroom, to turn it into an office, but at the moment we can barely get into it for junk (haha).
I’d suggest this kind of heater - radiant heat instead of convection means the person feels the most warm for the least amount of energy used. Also, this has three 400W elements to it, so you can only have on as many as you need. I use it to heat the ‘main part’ of me (torso/head), with big thick warm hiking socks on for my feet and a double layer of PJ bottoms
I’d agree finding a way not to have the central heating on seems sensible.
Do you think they would work for someone sitting working at a desk which is against the wall? The gas c/h is on around 16 hours a day by the way, because I’m at home all day as well. It just doesn’t heat the loft well enough. It’s a big space!
I love this article.
It gives inspiration to my growing idea to have a mini retrofit downstairs at the back of the house rather than a whole house retrofit.
I have wondering that once insulated and draught proofed, perhaps the two rooms I refer to can offer cosy and comfortable living conditions - with less reliance on cranking up the whole house heating to heat the main living rooms v heat just the main living area for my family v just put an extra layer on in a room made more temperate.
Hi all - here’s a random thread from me on efficient energy use whilst WFH, on the principle of ‘heat people, not space’
Options for me here are:
keep the whole house heated with central heating
heat only the room I’m working in
heat only me
Options for 2. above are convection heating of the whole room - take about 1kW of fan heater
Option for 3. above I’ve found is draping an electric blanket on my chair, wearing hiking socks and a fleece.
Options energy use analysis:
Option 1: my combi boiler is about 25-30kW and is on about half the time when I’m heating the whole house - let’s call this 14kW on average
Option 2: my fan heater is 1kW and heats my little office quite nicely. A more efficient option could be a 3x400W radiant heater which would provide me with direct radiant heat - I did have one of these but it broke. I was usually using 400-800W with this method
Option 3: the electric blanket I’m using now is just 15W!!! And it keeps my rear facade nice and toasty !
Caveat: I’m very aware this doesn’t work if you have good reasons to need to keep the whole house warm e.g. kids, other people etc !
We already have an Air Source Heat pump, but don’t really want to heat the whole house when we are in our studies in the attic.
After attending a PowerShaper group meeting, where one chap mentioned IR heaters, I researched and then bought one of these: Klarstein Wonderwall Smart - Infrared Heater
It’s a 350W panel, nicely controllable and does a better job of keeping me cosy than the 2kW fan heater I was using.
I’m thinking of getting a couple more so that I can turn them on if it’s a sunny day and our solar panels are generating more than we are using. Sadly, I haven’t yet found a way to automate that.
I have it hung on my wood panel ceiling. 10 minutes to get it set up, isn’t hot to touch. Easily controlled from a mobile app.
To add my setup here: I have gas central heating, however in Key rooms (bedrooms, living room) I have recently put in simple electric heaters. These can give more instant heat than the central heating, and only need to turn on one at a time - useful to boost the temperature in just those rooms. I have an automation set up so when the solar level is high, they turn on (if its cold) to dump excess energy as heat into those rooms, and also they turn on during the night at cheap rates. Each room has a temp sensor in it as well to toggle them off. Compared to last year, my heating rates have halved
I have now added a pair of attractive glass panels (the Klarstein ones are somewhat utilitarian in appearance) in our en-suite and kitchen, 700W and 500W respectively ( “ThermoGlass-MAX” - infraredcompany.com). Very handy for using up any solar surplus
I have them coupled to Sonoff smart switches, to enable Alexa control and automation routines (“Alexa, warm the kitchen” runs the kitchen heater for 30 minutes then turns it off again)
There are some decent offers of the smaller Klarstein panels here: manomano.co.uk
It’s a shame I can’t find any with built in home automation
Herschel stuff seems a bit pricey, IMHO. Probably good quality though.
The bathroom fitting worked well - I have mine running on the same feed as my wall light/shaver socket - the current draw is low enough. Note that the Pion glass panels don’t have any inbuilt controls of thermostat (unlike the Klarstein). That’s fine in my application with the Alexa routines, but might be a limitation for some scenarios. You can get panels that are also mirrors, which is what I almost went with
It’s far to expensive but I was lazy, I wanted something with a stand and decent remote controls. It works well with the Smart Life app and I have it set to come on 15 mins before I get to my desk so it’s toasty.
Your bathroom setup sounds good. We have existing heated towel rails so I can use the power from them. Undecided if I’ll get an IR towel rad (then remove the towel rads) or just have regular IR panels using the power from the existing towel rads.
I’ll have a good look at the Klarstein, they look well priced.
Hi Oscar ,
thanks for sharing this. You mentioned that your heating rates have halved - is that running costs or output of heat.?
As I’m writing this I’m realizing one is relative to the other anyway I’m not very technical minded , but perhaps I’m getting there