Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hot Cool Yours: Simple DIY for Saving Money

It seems all to fitting that they Olympics and my heating situation could both have the same slogan.
Hot Cool Yours
Though, I think it more apt written this way:  Hot?  (No.) Cool = Your[s] (home)
This explains how my apartment feels.
At night it is downright cold.  But there are certain pockets of the space that feel hot.
Such is the condition of a place built in 1913.

One aspect of the apartment that I found appealing aesthetically were the radiators.
Beautiful to look at, and functional, but I haven't utilized these as well as I might have.

After TGBD'13 (the gas bill of December 2013), I found a tip that could help my heated pockets spread the wealth.  The radiators can get quite hot to the touch, so I wanted to increase its thermodynamic radius*.

*I made that term up.

The tip suggested using aluminum foil.  The foil, when placed dull side to the wall has the shiny side facing the radiator.  The logic goes like this, since the heat source is next to a reflective surface the heat should bounce off instead of straight into the wall.
I decided to fix the foil to each wall using Washi tape.
Washi tape is growing to be a popular way to decorate apartments, and I've been looking for a reason to use it.  Since it is adhesive but doesn't leave lasting marks that could jeopardize my security deposit it's great for apartment livers like myself.  I found my tape at Target.

It's difficult to capture, since the behind the wall space is so small, but I pre-folded the edges of the foil, measuring and tearing sheets of about 2 feet each.  I found managing tinfoil longer than that was difficult.
I don't like wrestling with tinfoil, it just crumples under pressure.
Be ready for the foil to fly up towards the radiator.  I put the Washi tape on the tinfoil to troubleshoot this.

Then I fixed Washi tape at the top and bottom.  I wanted to ensure I had enough tape to place foil behind every radiator.  But now that I have them up, I will be framing the sheets along all edges to help it look a little more polished.

Essentially the foil serves the same function as it would in an oven.  The shiny side reflects heat off in a more useful direction than the wall.  Because who needs a warm wall?  I need warm toes!

Nerd alert: The science behind this intrigues me.  I hope to place thermometers around my apartment and take readings with the foil in place and without to see if there is a difference, or if this project was just had a placebo effect on me.