Heat rises, and unless an airspace is empty, completely closed, and insulated from outside heat, then there will be convection as the rising warmer air displaces cooler air.
In practice, in your home, you can’t stop convection. All sorts of things happen, even without you making deliberate changes:
You might want to change convection for any of several reasons:
You may want all these things, but notice that several work against one another. If you shut the door to a room, it may save heating costs, but it might also limit fresh air, or air from a purifer. What you want, of course, is total control, but that’s not possible, or even very practical to get close to!
Modern big buildings solve many of these problems with built-in HVAC systems that “do everything”. They heat, they cool, they filter, they dehumidify, they circulate. So there’s a strong temptation to do the same thing for homes. Unfortunately, these systems tend to be expansive, take up space, be noisy, and cost significant electricity.
Many people are sensitive to energy costs, but your biggest concern should be having plenty of healthy air. That’s especially important if you have gas heaters or a gas stove or a fireplace. The output from them is sufficiently toxic, it can easily kill you. Controlling humidity is more of a problem than often realized. High humidity promotes molds, and those molds even in small amounts can aggravate health problems. Very low humidity, on the other hand, can dry out lungs, causing other health problems. Both high and low humidity can be bad over the long term for books, musical instruments and artwork.
So the answer is that there’s no simple answer. You need to prioritize your needs, and decide how much is worth spending on each.
One way to utilize the effects of convection is through a salt pond. I originally learned about this in an energy class I took last semester. Basically, it is a manmade pond lined with a black liner. The bottom contains water with a certain percentage of salt concentration. There is a gradation of salt as the water gets toward the surface (so maybe 20% salt at the bottom later, then 19%, then 18%, etc.) until the top layer is totally fresh water. The sun heats the water. Hot things rise, but the water at the bottom cannot rise to the top because it is a little bit denser than the layer above it. This leads to convection, and a house can utilize the salt pond for hot water.
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