I live in a medium-sized airy house whose bedrooms are all in the main part of the house, with the exception of one bedroom which is above the unheated garage. This room gets quite cold even in the autumn, and has an electric heater that we use along with lots of blankets.

The living room at the opposite end of the house has a large fireplace which is able to keep most of the rooms warm just by keeping the doors open, but the room over the garage is quite isolated and is accessed via a few corridors - the warmth doesn't get that far (the ceilings are higher than the tops of the doors, so heat gets stuck).

What options are there for warming this room?

Ideally we should use the fireplace, but I am not sure how. Some relatives (a long time ago, in another house) used to put a brick in/near the fire and then place that in their bed - is there something similar that could achieve the same safely today?

I have also seen tea candles (the small circular candles used for keeping plates warm in some restaurants) under upturned ceramic pots being used for heating but I'm not sure if the air in the room becomes dirty this approach.

edit: while ducting is possible, it's not very appealing aesthetically.

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    In addition to heat it's worth checking the insulation underneath (and on the other faces). – Chris H Oct 27 '16 at 18:37
  • BTW The under upturned ceramic pots is bogus. You don't gain anything from the pots. – Jan Doggen Oct 27 '16 at 20:25
  • @JanDoggen although without something above a candle to absorb and radiate heat, the hot air would just rise and accumulate at the ceiling where it doesn't help you feel warm... not sure how much heat a candle puts out, but putting something over it might help. – Highly Irregular Oct 27 '16 at 22:08
  • Can you create an air duct/pipe from one room to the other? It would have to be thoroughly isolated, of course. – Jan Doggen Oct 28 '16 at 7:18
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    Thanks for making the link with car exhaust. Luckily we haven't used the garage for this since the room above became a bedroom but it was planned for the future. Something else to bear in mind. – Rich Nov 7 '16 at 7:55

Water has a very high specific heat capacity, which means it can store a lot of heat for its weight compared with most other materials.

If you want to warm something in front of the fire and then move it to the bedroom, a container of water would store about 4-5 times as much heat as the same weight of bricks.

For safety, just make sure that the container you use isn't going to break or spill if the water is hot enough to scald you.

  • What should the container be made of? I assume ceramic is a good option but obviously there is a risk of it breaking? Any other possibilities? – Rich Oct 28 '16 at 8:37
  • I want to point out that if the fire is hot enough to heat the extra room using this water "heat battery" while still heating the rest of the house, then the fire has been too hot (a.k.a. wasteful) during its operation. If you're so worried about efficiency, you may want a smaller fire in general. – pheidlauf Nov 15 '16 at 17:58
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    @Rich for something strong and long lasting, perhaps stainless steel is the way to go? – Highly Irregular Nov 16 '16 at 8:54

I have a similar problem, where my home office is in a small extension that was added to the house. I currently use an infra-red heating panel, it is quite low power at 300W and a lot of the time I can run it off surplus from my solar panels. It works a little differently to most heating systems, it heats the structure (walls etc.) of the house through radiation, rather than heating the air through convection as radiators do. The effect is subtle, but it definitely keeps the worst of the chills away.

This may be outside the range of what you want to spend, but if it's a big room you could consider a heat pump, which pulls in heat from the outside, rather than creating heat through electricity or combustion. Within the last 10 years the technology has advanced and there are heat pumps that work even in Canadian winters now. And they're more efficient (in terms of electricity) than a space heater, because space heaters have to generate heat, whereas heat pumps just move it. A mini-split heat pump is a kind without any ducts. You stick one half on an inside wall, run a tube through your wall, and put the other half outside.

http://energy.gov/energysaver/heat-pump-systems

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