Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Incredible Shrinking Room


Our living area is shrinking.

As Fall advances and winter approaches, the sun rides closer to the horizon and reaches deeper into our southern exposure. Each day it extends a just a smidge, give or take, and each day we inch the couch and lounging chairs closer to the center of the room, exposing more and more of our polished concrete floor. That four inches of dense heat sink soaks up the warm radiation and later, as darkness falls and the evening progresses, it gradually re-releases the gentle solar comfort back into the space.

The balance is immaculate. As the days grow more frigid, the sun reaches deeper into the room and heats more of the floor. The yin and yang of passive solar consumption. Come winter solstice, half the room will be given over to this process (as well as to the plants that come in from the cold) and our sitting area will be compressed into a cozy little jumble. There, we'll be conveniently squeezed closer to the other heat sources that we've come to appreciate here in this place...

...the firebox and one another.

5 comments:

Mel Moore said...

Hi, Mike...........

Nice! Solar heating and cooling for that matter is pretty unique. Hope you continue to enjoy the Fall and Winter.

Mark Coleman said...

Which one puts out more heat?

Mike Sepelak said...

That's the plan, Mel.

Marc, the answer to that is not as obvious as you might think. As the sun drops, we stuff the masonry heater tight and burn it fast and hot. Surprisingly little of the heat comes through the glass. Instead, like the floor, the heat is absorbed into the fire brick that encloses the box and it slowly seeps out during the night, usually starting around the time that the floor begins to lose its warmth, thus maintaining a nice, comfortable balance. There's nothing better than getting up on a chilly morning and putting your back to that still toasty box. And it's usually still warm when we pack it again the next evening. A good burn will radiate for up to thirty-six hours.

Between it and the floor, who needs electric heat?

Ken G said...

The wife recently brought all the plants into the house that she lets have fresh air all summer. This puts them in a state of shock for a little while, but they eventually adjust.

She has them sitting in the south windows, recovering in the sun.

Now I wait... for the bug hatch. It never fails.

Love that floor you got there.

Mike Sepelak said...

I hear you Ken. Many men move furniture around for their wives. We move plants. Cheers!