Category Archives: Heating

Radiant Floor Heat – A Review

Radiant-Heating
I often get questions about my radiant floor heat and I realized I never reviewed it… So here we go!
Was it ‘worth it’ –  It certainly served its purpose as a learning project, I learned how to install and operate it, I have no regrets about adding the thermal mass in the floor (and the extra axle that came with accommodating that).  For me this was a learning project and I have indeed learned!
Now, Would I do it again? – Naw.  I would not.
The radiant heat is not the most efficient way to heat the tiny house.  Radiant heat is generally efficient because it heats your feet, generally if your feet are warm you are warm so you can actually keep the heat a little lower and heat rises so it uses heat more efficiently than heating high air like some other set-ups. In a small house, especially one with two doors there is a lot of thermal bridging where the thresholds meet the floor.  There isn’t enough square feet to make up for that deficit, at least in my place.  This makes for a cold space unless heated (paid for) in winter.   I DID use electric rather than hydro or just straight solar to heat it.  I have made it so that, unless I pay to heat the floor I have to deal with an ice cold floor, which is not great for babies to crawl around on (or my feets for late night bathroom runs!).  I found that because of this I have turned it on before I actually would have turned my heat on otherwise so my heat cycle has been extended.
Frankly there are much cheaper ways to heat a tiny house.  I found it to be MUCH better in summer actually, I do night flush ventilation, wake up, shut the doors and windows and it helps it to stay nice and cool even when it’s 100 degrees outside.  It’s been in the upper 90’s+ and I CAN go all day with no A/C (I have an A/C unit as backup forHazel).  I wished I would have done something else for heat in the first winter though. I have made other plans for this winter and am trying out a propane stove as well as an Envi electric convection heater.  Both of which I will be updating about over at www.Planningtiny.com
Now- Just because I am not a fan of the radiant floor doesn’t mean they don’t have merit. This COULD be different if it was hydro or solar.  The problems with those in a tiny though is 1) things move more than in a true foundation and it’s possible to crack a pipe and have big problems with hydro, I marked hydro off early for this reason unfortunately, it is really what I wanted…  2) Collecting solar heat gain is a double edged sword.  You have to have a high solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) on your windows which allows heat to come in.  Most windows intentionally want to block heat gain so there would need to be special windows ordered (possibly costly).  That sort of a system is generally only good to be placed one very specific orientation, if you park off from that you mitigate all benefits and open yourself up to issues.  Both solar and hydro should be very carefully considered.
I guess in short I would not suggest trying to capture solar heat to heat your space unless you are on a true foundation, same with a hydro set-up.  That all being said it is possible, it is just something to be super calculated about.
Most importantly maybe, heat systems don’t seem to be a problem at all, I live in a very cold climate, until it gets about 10 degrees outside my dog, my laptop and myself are pretty much sufficient for heating the house.  It is a small space that really is pretty passively heated just by the nature of it.
COOLING is another story and thermal mass has been SUPER helpful for that!
If there are any other questions please feel free to leave a comment and I will answer it to the best of my ability for you and any others interested in the topic!
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Update 12.3.13

This is not a cohesive update at all, I am back at my ‘better to post something than nothing’ post though.  I do have some very cool miscellaneous updates though, long over due of course!  I have a plan in action that will hopefully get me on a better track for keeping up with my updates!  I am going to try my hand at just setting a schedule to post my updates ,that way it doesn’t all just build up and become a daunting thing to approach! :)  So, after this update I will be shooting for Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a Sunday post, each day posting on one topic, be it my family/pregnancy/Denny, my tiny house, my current craft projects or my miscellaneous day, that is what I am hoping for, if I can stay disciplined it would be awesome :).   But for now there is a little of everything!

So, Denny is getting neutered this weekend, he’s excited ;-).  I think he thinks I say ‘tutored’ though, he loves learning! ;-)  Terrible joke!  It’s time, I feel bad for kids when I take him on walks, Great Danes are big dogs… any way you look at it… we are also going to go to our first Great Dane Meet-up, I am excited to see how he does with other danes, when we go to the park he mostly loves hanging out with the littlest pups there, I think it will be good for him to meet other big dogs!  I am excited to meet new friends too, it seems that dog parks are really great places to meet people in general!  He is pretty funny at night, when I let him out before bed he does a perimeter check around the house, its always a counter clockwise motion, he circles the whole thing, then does his business then comes in ready to zonk out, in the morning though the last thing he wants is to get out of bed, turns out if a hundred pound dog doesn’t want to do something then there is not very much I can do to change his mind… fortunately James is usually around to let him potty a little later in the mornings…

My pregnancy update, this is fun, I am back on track with my weight gain, I am not sick as a dog all the time, I am perpetually uncomfortable with my lady parts apparently being the size of a soccer ball right now.  Turns out that makes me hunch over which isn’t good for a newly broken back, I got a sling thing though and it seems to help… if I can just find out where Denver hid it… I definitely look pregnant now, there is no mistaking it!  She is SUPER active still and her kicks are getting stronger and stronger, I guess the calcium is hitting her bones and making her less like rubber, so that’s good!  Yesterday I was working on my laptop and it was just barely against my stomach and she kicked it and it moved… not real impressive of a story but I was alone in the house and it freaked me out!  When my midwife measured me I was bigger than ‘normal’ by 5 centimeters (they measure from the top of my pubic bone to my belly button), so apparently that means she had her growth spurt early, even though I think she hit her growth spurt just after the appointment, I will be excited at my next one to see if my midwife agrees.  I have gained a total of 15 pounds even. That is right on track with where I ‘should be’.  MiniMiller’s heartbeat is right on point and she measures right around 14 inches long and comes in just under 2 pounds.  The most shocking part is that technically she is able to survive, with help, outside of me right now, that blows my mind.  I will go ahead and try to keep her in there as long as possible though, it’s probably best for everyone :).  In the following weeks we will be working on putting some body fat on her!  Other than all that, it still sucks to be pregnant, some girls just rock this, it is NOT my ‘thing’!  oye!  I think I should have been born a guy, it seems so much easier!  I’m sure I’ll get on with the whole ‘miracle of life’ thing after MiniMiller comes but for now oye!  BTW, Hazel Annabelle is the name that is sticking the hardest… Stays with Greg’s astute observation of her initials being H.A.M. too! :)

Tiny house update!  My water froze last night!  Oh noes!  thankfully it happened AFTER the hard piping and nothing broke!  When I went and checked this morning it looked like in one of Denver’s perimeter checks he may have bumped a panel of my skirting apparatus… there was a big hole in the insulated portion so I am pretty sure that is what went wrong.  Still, it’s going to get a lot colder (down to 9 degrees tonight!) so I am going to have to figure out something else… For now, because its dark when I get up for work and its dark when I get home (I hate daylight savings, even though it really isn’t what’s to blame for the short days) I just shut off the water and I will figure it out this weekend when I have some daylight to work by.   These are those cold weather things that you folks down south don’t have to work with :)  Lucky!  Other than that the house is doing awesome!  The radiant floor heat is NOT enough to keep things heated but with my small supplemental heater it’s not a problem.

So this evening I am in the process of transferring my website (paying WordPress to transfer it since I have had a few difficulties with how the site transfers) to a hosted site so if anything goes awry that is why, I wish I could stay on the free WordPress site but I have enough pictures and data to use up my allotted space, so I must move on! :)

A couple quick things, Ryan and I are doing another Tiny House Chat on Tuesday night, log in if you can!  We have Hari and Karl from TinyHouseFamily.com and Ms. Kristie Wolfe from TinyHouseOnThePrairie.net, we are going to talk about tiny houses for the holidays, get some awesome creative ideas from Kristie and some family advice from Hari and Karl, it’s just going to be a fun one.  I nice end to wrap up a great year of Chats!

Ryan has been organizing the first annual Tiny House Conference which is coming up at the beginning of April 2014.  There are going to be some great opportunities to meet some neat people and learn more than you want to know about tiny houses and tinyhousers!  I am stoked to get to go, and MiniMiller will be making her way so long as all goes as planned!  For a little while Ryan is offering $50.00 off if you use the code MM2013, so if you can’t think of what to get the minimalist in your life it could be a good option… ;-), experiences are always better than ‘things’ (well, that is just opinion I guess).

I think that that is all I have for now, below are a couple other things including a tremendous act of kindness I was the lucky recipient of, my interview on Aljezeera with Christopher and Merete a co-sleeper mini-update and some misc. stuff, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!