Winter Is Coming: Keeping Heat Where It’s Needed

Wall fans for circulating hot ceiling air

If your workshop has ceilings as high as [Niklas Roy]’s 3.6 meters (11.8 feet), then you’re familiar with his problem. Hot air rises, and there it usually stays until the heat is transferred outdoors. But in the winter time we need that heat indoors and down low. One solution is to install ceiling fans that blow that hot air back down. However, [Niklas] often builds tall things that would collide with those fans. And so he had to hack together some wall hugging fans which will be both high up and out of the way.

Corroded industrial controller
Corroded industrial controller

For the fans he’s using six of those ubiquitous standing fans, the ones that normally sit on a post a few feet off the ground and swivel back and forth. Discarding the posts, he mounted the fan bodies to a horizontal wooden frame with a wheel attached to one end, one that he’d made for another project. A rope around the wheel, and hanging down, makes it easy to tilt the fans. For controlling the fans, a friend had given him an old industrial controller, and opening it up, all he saw was corrosion. Cleaning it all out he installed an old Russian 3-position switch from his collection.

In the future he’d like to add a closed-loop control system that would not only turn the fans on and off but also adjusting their speed. For now, however, he reports that it works really well. Check out his page for build photos and more details.

Meanwhile, winter really is coming to these northern latitudes and so here are more hacks to prepare you. For automated shovelling snow, how about an RC controlled 3D printed snow blower. And while you’re snug and warm inside remotely controlling your snow blower, you can still be getting exercise using a DIY bicycle roller. But if you do venture outside, perhaps you’d want to zip around on a dogless dog sleigh.

19 thoughts on “Winter Is Coming: Keeping Heat Where It’s Needed

  1. Unless floor space is at a premium, a floor fan pointing up will remove the cold air from the ocupied area better and without a draught from an overhead fan that creates a chilling effect.

    1. Thanks, that was my first thought as well. Creating turbulence up there, basically mixing the warm air with cooler air from the layer just below will create a lot of draft and leave the coolest air almost untouched hovering around your feet. If instead you move the cold air UP first, you are creating a “vacuum” that is way more directed as a sucking device than the turbulizers above …
      But, yes, floor space can be an issue. But hanging in a second, lower ceiling might be a solution to that …

      1. Yes exactly this. In winter you run a ceiling fan backwards to pull air up from the center of the room so the hot air circulates around and down.

        Common knowledge not sure why this is a hack it probably wont even work.

    2. Guy with six fans here: I don’t really see the difference. During winter, the fans will be adjusted so that they blow the air along the ceiling. That creates higher air pressure below the ceiling on the other side of the room, which causes the warm air to push down there (that’s where I have a sofa, so this is what I want.) The fans will not blow down in a 45° angle in winter. Indeed, that creates a chilling effect. That’s an adjustment for Summer – or if I want for some reason (experiment, photo shoot, etc.) wind blowing in my workshop.

      1. If it’s about blowing air horizontally across the ceiling would not a ‘tower fan’ (or should I say centrifugal fan) be a possible better alternative?
        Those you should also be able to attach near the ceiling. And interestingly I read that large building cooling and heating systems normally use a cage fan (a version of centrifugal fan as used for tower fans).
        And then you can even duct the input from another point.

  2. Next he gets to build a temperature-differential control system that operates the fan when the temperature difference between floor and ceiling becomes great enough to warrant turning the fans on. A couple of LM73 and an “A-word” handles the logic. DHT-11s will add a humidity function at about the same price.

  3. Those fans gotta be noisy out in the open.

    Duct in the corner from ceiling to floor, air in at top, out at bottom. Make 4, one each corner. Just flat of paneling foot and half or more wide mounted in corner to form a triangular duct ceiling to floor, hole in top and bottom. Want quieter? Then mount fan inside duct pushing air down, it’ll be muffled by the enclosure.

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