The New Place

Yesterday, I moved into a new residence! The old one was nice, but was kind of dingy, and, in any case, not large enough for both myself and my girlfriend. The only thing that it is missing, at present, is any furniture whatsoever, which is problematic admittedly, but not unduly so. My landlords here seem like a nice couple (although I am concerned with how much face-to-face interaction I have with them, compared to the old couple, who I saw only about once or twice a month). They have taken care to ensure that we are stocked with energy-efficient appliances, which brings me to the subject of today’s post. You see, a couple of the aforementioned energy-efficient appliaces were space heaters, so I’m just wondering, from a thermodynamic perspective, what does it really mean for a space heater to be “energy-efficient?” Surely, if they were efficient they wouldn’t be producing much heat.

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About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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3 Responses to The New Place

  1. Lindsay says:

    That’s a good question!

    Here are my intuitions as to what “efficiency” could mean in the context of a space heater: a relatively high ratio of thermal energy output to electrical energy input. I think its design would also, somehow, need to hasten the rate at which convection occurs, to heat a whole room more quickly/cheaply. That would entail some pretty careful control over *where* the system loses energy as heat — it would be less optimal for it to lose heat inside, in the electronic “guts”, than to lose it at the actual heating element. So for me it would include two things: 1) efficient circuitry (i.e., NOT prone to losing energy as heat!) and 2) a heating element that is a good conductor of heat. Plus, whatever design features on the heating element might work to maximize convection.

    (You’re right, though … at first, an enfficient space heater does sound like an oxymoron!)

  2. Memo to Past Self: Get OUT! GET OUT NOW!!!
    And fuck the fucking energy efficient fucking appliances!

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