More Efficient Heating

A switch and soldering iron along with lead can keep you warm is the story of this long overdue blog post. It has been some time since my last post as even, being a retired person, I seem to have had little time to write anything. There have been water leaks here, there and everywhere it seems. Those are something I’m working on now and are a horrific undertaking.

The lounge and bedroom heating, an unfinished project, even though supposedly fitted and working, are not up to my expectations as far as heating ability goes. The whole situation with home heating in Portugal is a new subject to me, and I’ve discovered much over the last year and have little doubt, will continue to learn more with the passage of time. I initially thought that the fitting of a high output log burner would suffice and provide the desired effect of keeping one warm. Was I wrong or what? Yes, I was. It’s all well and good comparing the output of a heating device such as a log burner to a conventional electric fan heater. If I remember correctly, the output of my recuperador is supposed to be 7Kw to 13 Kw with a nominal output of 10Kw. Now, in the case of three, 3Kw electric fan heaters, one would be roasting for sure given the space I’m trying to heat. Please don’t get me wrong as these recuperadors work wonderfully when everything is taken into consideration. That said, there is a great deal more to consider than just the literature heat output suggestion. In all honesty, I never really considered and understood the true situation. In the case of recuperadors, one of the points is that the heat output is obviously variable and dependent on the wood quality being burned and the quantity also, hence 7Kw to 13 Kw. There is also the fact that if you try to heat the interior of a refrigerator, it’s not going to heat too well as the walls and shelves will all be very cold and therefore, much the the burned wood is going to be used to heat those cold parts and not not the more central area.

Not Finished but Getting There

My property to a large extend is stone build with walls that are 60cm thick. The floors are ceramic tiles and the ceilings are three metres in height to the lower level and nothing is insulated apart from the loft space. All in all, this makes for a difficult situation where heating is concerned. There are benefits. No air conditioning is required during the summer months and the property interior is a most comfortable temperature. On the other hand, winter is a very different story and in the case of last year, it was literally teeth chattering if not jaw shattering. In an attempt to keep warm, I used Calor gas heaters that emit huge amounts of vapour and therefore result in a greater chill factor when not in use due the the far greater humidity levels. There is also the fact this can result in the dreaded mould on walls. Yes, last year, this happened and it was horrible.

Each and every little thing you learn, can be hugely beneficial, and I remembered reading a post on a friends blog where he purchase a small mechanical fan that is placed upon the recuperador so as to circulated the air. The air circulation I was lead to believe was most beneficial to create a more even heat distribution in the given area. My recuperador is inset and therefore, such a unit is not possible to use as they need to be cited upon the burner to operate.

Ceiling Fan to Help Warm

Follows of this blog may recall, I had builders in to fit the recuperador. This was necessary due to the lack of tools available to me and the tremendous weight of a cast iron unit. At the time, the works required a small scaffold tower that was left in my living room that I still possess. When the recuperador was initially fitted, the crazy demolition man managed to screw up my electrics and this resulted in the living room light failing to operate along with all power points. In an attempt to rectify the fault, the crazy man lowered the working ceiling fan come light and managed to break a switch on the fan part, making the unit useless as a fan. The actual illumination problem was fixed in fairness to him but not the fan part. Portugal being Portugal, it was very difficult to source a replacement fan switch but with determination and many hours on the internet, I found a supplier so purchased two. At the time, I never realised the true value of this switch.

Heat Circulation

With the recuperador lit at a later time, I was on the scaffold and only then realised the huge difference in temperature between high in the room and lower down and thinking about air circulation, as read on my friend’s blog, considered that if the fan was working, perhaps the room would feel warmer. I must admit, until then, I’d only considered the fan as a method of cooling an interior space. With now having a switch and soldering iron along with lead, I replaced the slider switch and set it to force air down, this resulted in a cool draught without the log burner in operation. However, and here is the gem. With the recuperador operational and at it’s normal operation temperature and the ceiling fan set to slow, the living rooms warms very quickly with the added benefit of a far lesser amount of wood burned. In fact, the walls are also warmed much more evenly and I can increase the temperature of the interior space in almost no time now and to a far higher temperature also. Next, the walls shall be insulated and that, without question, will make a huge difference in the recuperado’s heating ability. Perhaps it’s only a small lesson I’ve learnt but what a difference it makes.

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