Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kotatsu Heating

Blessings Darlings!

Winter has finally arrived here on the east coast of the US. It's 31 degrees F as I type, and not due to get much warmed today.  A second round of freezing rain is due tonight/early tomorrow morning.  Nothing particularly out of the ordinary.

Being broke, cheap, and green, I keep the heat here turned low.  The house is set for 60 F right now.  Spawn has a tiny space heater he occasionally runs in his bedroom, Chubby Hubby has a larger space heater in his lab. My areas - the kitchen and my office - have no space heaters.  I feel the cold less than they do, for one thing.  Second, when I'm in the kitchen I'm cooking and otherwise moving.

But in my office I'm sitting at my desk all day. And my office is in the basement. With the heat vent closed. What I do to keep warm on days like today is, well, first line of defense is dressing warmly, but what I'm typing about today is a modification on the Japanese Kotatsu heating system.

Kotatsu heating is having a small heating element under the table you are working at.  Houses in Japan aren't the Tyvak'd air-tight things we aim for here in the US - they allow air in, so here weren't problems with carbon monoxide poisoning!  So you'd have the tiny smoldering fire under the table, a light table cloths, and you'd be kept warm in a cold room.

Now they use electric heaters.

Me, I've got another system going. I have one light tea light candle, in a glass jar.  My desk has a partition (so my legs don't show if you were sitting across from me) so that side holds in the heat, and it has sides on the left and right.  My legs go into the cubby hole ... and I have attached a curtain (using Velcro) to that opening.  This keeps the heat in.

It really makes a HUGE difference in my comfort level on cold days.  I'm not saying my upper back is very warm, it's not (I might put on a sweater on colder days), but my legs are VERY happy and my hands are very happy (I can put them under the curtain for warmth, but they don't seem to need that with my legs warm.).

And tea candles are cheap!  Craft stores have them for about a dime each on sale, and I get the for way less at garage sales. 

One candle. An unused piece of material. Hours of warmth for a nickle.

I'm a happy Fern.

Frondly, Fern


  1. Interesting article - I'm not sure many people could use it at their desk for health and safety reasons - but if it works for you! We use flame proof heaters in our office.

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