reducing heatloss to upper level from lower level

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reducing heatloss to upper level from lower level

Postby gvm » Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:42 pm

I live in a double story house but live most of the time downstairs. When we run heaters in the downstairs area, a lot of heat is lost via the stairwell to the upper floor. The height between floor of the lower level and the ceiling of the upper level measured at the foot of the stairs is about 6 metres. If I installed a ceiling fan above the foot of the stairs so that it blew air downwards, would it make any significant difference to the amount of warm air that rises to the upper level? TIA ... Greg
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Re: reducing heatloss to upper level from lower level

Postby zzsstt » Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:01 am

Very unlikely. It's more likely to stir the air in the area above the stairwell, possibly increasing the movement of air!

How large is the stairwell "hole"? When I was young, my father made me a bedroom in the attic of our house and it created the same problem. His solution was a horizontally hinged "door" that simply closed off the upstairs. Made of thin plywood in a frame, it weighed very little and was easy to open and close. It is probably illegal these days, because school forgets to teach people to use their common sense and refrain from walking on such structures, but it was very effective at reducing the heat transfer.

Heat movement around the house can be good or bad, depending on what you're trying to achieve, but the modern trend towards "open plan living" means that we can no longer just warm a small room. These days the entire house must be heated, whether we use the space or not!
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Re: reducing heatloss to upper level from lower level

Postby Tracker » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:39 am

.
interestingly, I have lived with the same issue and frustration..
What I had considered was a LONG roller blind and concealed draw-strings, that would be sensor-activated to roll back and forth on approach.. Naturally, it could be either horizontal or vertical, depending on the staircase.

There is another thought also.. If you can enclose the sides, then you could go real-simple, and construct a fixed curtain..
Remember the TV ads for the fly screens with magnets, that you flick aside and they close behind you..
Same principle but without the fly-screen.. ie an attractive material.. :D
..
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Re: reducing heatloss to upper level from lower level

Postby PeterC » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:20 pm

Simple. Install a 'door curtain' across the opening, top or bottom. Use a rail to hang it from. In summer unhook the whole thing and store. In winter just push to one side to walk through and let if fall back into place behind you. We did this to create zoning in a house with open connections between various room. We found some heavy curtain material, a bit like damask table cloth material, that looked good from both sides.
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Re: reducing heatloss to upper level from lower level

Postby Tracker » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:34 pm

PeterC wrote:Simple. Install a 'door curtain' across the opening, top or bottom. Use a rail to hang it from.

Wish it was that simple.. Most stairs these days have landings and winders and open sides etc. etc.
I suggested the same as you (using magnetic closures) but first you have to enclose it all to a simple/basic opening..

You could have shaped (removable) curtains for those inconvenient and complex voids..
..
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Re: reducing heatloss to upper level from lower level

Postby zzsstt » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:02 pm

Tracker wrote:Most stairs these days have landings and winders and open sides etc. etc.
I suggested the same as you (using magnetic closures) but first you have to enclose it all to a simple/basic opening.


One day, if energy prices keep increasing, we are going to have to face the reality that there was a very good reason why old houses were built with small rooms - it is far easier and cheaper to heat a small room than to heat the entire house! "Open plan" is very trendy, feels delightfully spaceous and modern. Unfortunately from a practical point of view it is an absolute nightmare and inherently costs far more to heat or cool. Most people tend to spend their time at home sitting in one place (often in front of the TV). If they were in a room that was sized to take the couch, TV and a coffee table, they could close the door and heat that room for very little. In an open plan house they are still in front of the TV, but now must heat "acres" of unused space.....

I seem to remember that BASIX insisted we have zone switching on our heating, to redirect the heating between daytime and sleeping areas, which is an admission that heating dhould be directed to "in-use" areas. Yet we still design houses where the "in-use" area is the size of a tennis court because it looks nice, even though we sit in one tiny corner of it!

Edit: On a phone call I have just made to my electricity retailer about an unrelated issue, I was presented with the normal "hold messages". One of which was;

"Did you know that doubling the area also doubles the heating cost? So to minimise you bills, close doors to other areas or install curtains across archways"....

Made me laugh!
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Re: reducing heatloss to upper level from lower level

Postby Tracker » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:00 pm

zzsstt wrote:...... if energy prices keep increasing......,

What an optimist you are..!

How can they not keep rising and rising, when we have no real plans for Base-Load power generation..
but - they continue to spend billions on the network, especially the EHT under-grounding in the big-smoke.

I worked out how I can curtain the stairs...
Forget the stairs and curtain it's approach passage in the kitchen.. Derrrrrr.. Wot a dope.. :oops:
Sometimes our brains just don't THINK.. Especially MINE..!... :lol:
Sometimes the keyboard is faster than the brain.. :roll:
..
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Re: reducing heatloss to upper level from lower level

Postby zzsstt » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:55 pm

Tracker wrote:How can they not keep rising and rising, when we have no real plans for Base-Load power generation..


Because when the prices start to really bite, and I mean "really" bite, then people won't be able to pay their bills. The increased prices will also push up the price of everything that uses electricity in it's production, transport, storage etc. At that time the economy will suffer, the government will have to bail people out in growing numbers and the power companies will start to have serious problems with unpaid bills. And not just from a small number of unfortunates, the impact will be far more widespread. At that time the country will have to make a choice - remove power from those who can't pay, or pay their bills for them (in ever increasing numbers) or reverse the price increases.....

At present, with some power companies making $500million a year in profits, I'd be tempted to think that some form of price restriction might be considered?
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Re: reducing heatloss to upper level from lower level

Postby Tracker » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:56 am

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zzsstt wrote:...At that time the economy will suffer....,

I do hope that you are right, but the tone of AGW crowd , supported by JULIAr, seems to be that prices MUST rise, and we must suffer, so that the Cola-Fired plant will be replaced..... WITH WHAT.. :?: ... :roll:

I wonder if anyone in power cares that profits are being made..
.. I get the feeling that they think that at a time, some entrepreneur will pull a cold-fusion plant out of the back room, or we will develop a plant that reduces CO2 to O2 and produce power..

I do hope YOU are right.. but, I still feel that they are going to make a lot more money out of Supply Charges, as we are forced to control Usage.
..
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Re: reducing heatloss to upper level from lower level

Postby zzsstt » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:25 pm

Tracker wrote:I do hope that you are right, but the tone of AGW crowd , supported by JULIAr, seems to be that prices MUST rise, and we must suffer


Indeed, but those AGW guys are the same ones that thought that a 60c GFIT was a good idea (and even pushed for higher). At present they haven't caused enough damage to have too many people turn against them, but I'm sure they will. Inflation is currently low, but I read this morning that imports have dropped in price by 2% whilst local prodcucts and services have increased in price by 3%. People will start to buy less local produce, hurting the local producers. The local producer's costs will go up, imports won't, and the spiral will continue as people buy more imports. Local producers will struggle, and lay off staff. More dole, more people struggling with higher power prices. Fewer kwh's sold, so service charges increase - people have the same or higher bill but sit in the cold and dark, and they'll wonder why.

Eventually people will question why they can no longer afford to light their homes or watch TV, and why they have no job. They will also notice that some days are still warm, and some are cool.

The trouble is that doing this wrecks the economy, destroys local industry and removes both the ability to move to green power, and the belief that it is required at all. At present Australia has a reasonably strong economy, and both the ability and desire to invest in greener forms of energy. I suspect that using that "goodwill" as an enabler for wealth redistribution and profit making will cause much pain and reduce the chances of ever doing anything useful in the longer term.

Already it is having negative impacts. Some of us are looking at less "green" forms of energy simply because they're cheaper. Out local council have stopped some recycling services because the costs are too high. Rubbish tips have started charging for waste disposal, so now waste is being dumped on the roadside.

I remember when I was younger there was a sudden massive increase in petrol prices. Some people purchased more fuel efficient cars, but EVERYBODY had to purchase lockable fuel caps (unheard of previously). A couple of years ago diesel hit $3/litre and the same thing happened - earthmovers had to sit guard over their machines to stop people cutting the fuel lines and stealing the fuel!!

We have been told for years that we are entitled to big screen TV's and every other luxury. Now running those luxuries is "bad" and we are being punished. I'm sure there will be a backlash!
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