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Great Room Warmth

was reading article on selecting space heaters. have a great room (cathedral ceiling) with loft; a sliding door on either side of a centered "gas stove" with 3 windows above each side. the gas stove is mainly for looks but does throw a bit of heat (right in front) out.

this room is COLD. is there a space heater that will heat this room (not hot but comfortable)? there is a constant draft especially on windy days (doors/windows-supposed to be energy efficient, but feel/smell fresh air coming from somewhere.

dont want to turn heat up - makes rooms stuffy/hot - doesnt do a thing for the great room (doesnt even get up to the loft). thanks

Re: Great Room Warmth


I would recommend you consult the Yellow Pages under "Heating Contractors" and have one or two heating technicians come over the house to evaluate the situation before spending additional money on a space heater.

Determining how much heat you need from a heating appliance to replace a room's HEAT LOSS so that the room will stay warm, is pretty much a simple math calculation that tries to equate the heat output of the space heater/stove/convectors with the heat loss of the particular room.

Thus all stoves, space heaters etc., have an output heat rating in BTUs/hour (that is printed on a label on the unit's housing)---this is matched with a HEAT LOSS CALCULATION that considers the cubic ft. area of the room, the number & size of windows, the amount of insulation in the walls & ceiling, how cold it gets in your area, so that an accurate fit can be made between the heat needs of the room & the heat output of the heating appliance.

You can start things off by doing some of your own initial calculations as to the estimated HEAT LOSS of the room by multiplying the room's length X width & measuring the height of the ceiling and consulting several simple internet HEAT LOSS CALCULATORS (below) to estimate how many BTUs/hour the room needs to stay warm on a cold day in your part of the country.

Since you already have a gas space heater in the room, the first attempt would be to work with the existing heater; perhaps changing it out to a slightly larger size, (sometimes a larger burner can be installed in the same unit) or perhaps even a different style heater that can utilize the gas line that already exists there.

From reading your post, you say there is an existing gas heater already in the large room that doesn't quite do the job; & that turning up the heat in the rest of the house makes all the rooms stuffy hot.

Any contractor that you call in will have to do a HEAT LOSS CALCULATION as an initial step---what is the square footage of the room? (length X width) what is the ceiling height? what is the total square footage of all the windows in the room (L x W)? is there any insulation in the walls & ceiling of the room? What is causing the draft that you are feeling in the room?

Once you have this info, you can consult a HEAT LOSS CALCULATOR (below) & get the room's heat loss (per hour); then take a look at the existing space heater & determine its HEAT OUTPUT IN BTUs/hour (printed on a label somewhere on the unit's housing).

For example, if you calculate your room's heat loss at 25,000 btu/hr and the label on the existing space heater says it puts out 15,000 btu/hr in heat, then the EXISTING SPACE HEATER YOU HAVE IS TOO SMALL for the heat needs of the room.

Sometimes heating technicians employ other strategies that are used to make a room more comfortable without changing out the heating appliance, such as adding insulation to the exterior walls of the room or dropping the height of the ceiling using sheetrock so that the room is easier and quicker to heat.


Re: Great Room Warmth

I would say switch out your gas heater with one that has enough output to keep the room toasty. One with a fan in it is likely to circulate more heat.
Assuming you have forced hot air in the house, could the air flow to great room be increased by better balancing, increased duct sizes or more registers.
I would investigate and try to make sure walls and ceiling are properly insulated. Outlet and switch boxes are often lacking.

Re: Great Room Warmth

A vaulted room with a loft on one side is difficult to heat. Add clearstory windows and the problem is even more difficult. Even energy efficient glass only has an R value of around 3-4 at best. R-2 is more likely. When warm room air hits the surface of the glass, it cools rapidly and gets heavier that the air in the room, so it falls. Hold your hand near the bottom of the windows and it feels like you stuck it under a cold waterfall, and thats with no infiltration from the outside.

Just a guess here but is the heater on the wall opposite the loft? That is the worse location in this type room. The best location is under the loft. Under the loft, the heat is forced to circulate around the whole room. I don't know if this will work with your designs though.

Ceiling fans will help, but they should be run in reverse. In stead of pushing the hot air from above straight down, it should pull the air up from the center of the room and force the warmer air from up high down the exterior walls. The whole room will feel warmer that way.

Baseboard heater under the windows are another way to combat that air of cold air coming down the window surface. That won't work in your case as they are sliding glass doors. You have two options that I can see, maybe. One is radiant floor heating right in front of the sliding glass doors or a heated air curtain mounted over the sliding glass doors. If you have d****s over the doors, then the air curtain won't work. It might work for blinds though if they are close to the glass. Blinds between the panes would be perfect but unless you already have them, its not really an option.

A heated air curtain is used in a lot of commercial applications where the doors are in constant use. Its a tube that fits over the door, has a door width squirrel cage fan and a heating element so it blows hot or warm air down over the front of the glass. Most of these are butt ugly because they are for commercial use, but some high end restaurants and stores have clever ways of hiding them.

Re: Great Room Warmth

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Re: Great Room Warmth

A room with this configuration is never going to be really comfortable , even with a larger space heater. Any type of forced air heat is going to make a beeline for the ceiling and loft. A form of hot water radiant heat would be the most comfortable.

Is the room on a crawl space or slab? If on a slab, your options are really limited.

My kitchen/great room with cathedral ceiling was also cool in winter, warm in summer with the A/C running. The 15 x 30 foot area only had two forced air vents at opposite ends of the room. The solution was to get a heating outfit in to run a 8 inch line directly back to the furnace to the midpoint in that long 30 foot outside wall, right under the additional patio door I had added. The furnace was adequate, just need rebalancing with the additional line.

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