The BluBox™ Thermal Fan
The IMMEDIATE Solution to Lowering Your Heating Bill!
The BluBox™ Thermal Fan pumps the Warm Air from Overhead down to Cold Floors (and Cold Feet!). It effectively and efficiently re-circulates the Warm Air you have already made and Reduces your Heating Expense while actually Making You Warmer! The BluBox™ Thermal Fan runs on a 12 volt DC computer cooling fan that draws .63 watts; it can be operated 24 Hours a Day for a Month for as little as a Nickel (5 cents!) (based on $.10 kWh).
The Blue Box™ Thermal Fan is composed of two duplex outlet boxes mounted open face to open face. The upper part contains a 80mm 12vDC Quiet Fan. The lower part contains a 2 position switch (Off/On) and a female input jack for the 12vDC power supply (included). The fan is mounted on noise reducing silicon mounting pins (the little white dots on top) and can be easily replaced when, after 3-5 years, it starts getting too loud (or it quits). The lower part also houses the swiveling multi-directional exhaust nozzle.
The upper part has a 3 inch white plastic sleeve fitting permanently adhered to it. This sleeve fitting is designed to accommodate 3 inch Drain Pipe, a light weight inexpensive common pipe product that comes in 10 ft lengths. You will find this pipe at most hardware/home improvement stores and usually sells for less than $1/ft (be sure to purchase the "non-perf" pipe). You mount the Blue Box™ Thermal Fan to the wall or corner (corner mount shown in photo), buy some pipe and cut to fit. We also include an Upper Retainer Fitting to secure the upper part of the pipe to the wall (not pictured).
The Zalman fan draws .63 watts of electricity and can be operated 24hrs/day for a MONTH for less than a nickel, (.63 watts x 24 hrs x 30 days / 1,000 = .4536 kWh) or operate it for 6 months (all winter, and then some) for about a quarter. (Based on $.10/kWh.)
Our goal is to give you an inexpensive immediate solution to a very expensive problem -- Space Heat Costs a Lot of Money! -- you will save a considerable amount of heat (and money) by recycling the warmest air above your head back down to cold floors and feet. We expect this unit to pay for itself in 2-3 years, and maybe even sooner in some more dramatic/inefficient heating situations (10 foot ceilings, ceiling registers, wood/pellet stoves). The important thing is that You Will Be WARMER in Your Home! Excellent for renters . . . just take it with you when you move . . . and only 3 small holes to repair.
(. . . an you can easily paint the pipe to match your wall.)
This photo shows the Blue Box™ Thermal Fan opened. You can see the fan -- the little white things sticking out of the corners of the fan are the silicon mounting pins. The large White Thing in the center of the photo and between the two boxes is a joined male and female connector. When the fan fails (3-5 years, probably longer, since it is not running 12 months per year) -- it is easily replaced by simply uncoupling the connector, "pulling" the fan off its mounting pins, and replacing with a new fan.
The backside of the switch and female power input are visible in the lower part. These components will last for a long long time. The switch is rated for 10,000 throws. The fan is the only other moving part (well . . . besides the warm air).
The Blue Box™ Thermal Fan is not permanently attached to the wall. If you are a renter, you just take it down and take it with you. Rentals often have inefficient heating systems -- now you can stay warmer, save money, and take your Blue Box™ Thermal Fan with you when you move -- and if moving the pipe is a problem, you can "donate" it to a construction site and get a new piece where ever you resettle.
Another goal with this design is to create a solution for commercial spaces which often have very high ceilings and inefficient heating systems. The Blue Box™Thermal Fan can be equipped with a much more powerful fan than the Quite Fan designed for the home. Please email if interested in a unit that can move 50, 75, or even 100 cubic feet of air a minute. Higher ceilings are accommodated by simply adding more pipe and using a sleeve fitting to join the pieces. You can go up 20, 30, 40 feet or more to pull the warmest air down from warehouse or industrial ceilings.
This photo shows the fan with a length of Plastic Drain pipe fitted into the sleeve connector on the upper part. Plastic Drain pipe is usually "ribbed" and offers a visual improvement over just plain pipe. It is very light weight (thin wall) and fits easily and snugly into the sleeve fitting.
You determine the length of pipe you need by first mounting the Blue Box™ Thermal Fan to the wall so that the exhaust nozzle is 1-2 inches off the floor (all mounting hardware is included). Then you measure from the ceiling down to the top of the sleeve fitting. Subtract 1/2 inch from this measurement, and that is the length of pipe you will need. Most hardware stores will cut the pipe for you to the length you ask . . . just be sure to ask them to do it as close to your measurement as possible (or take a brochure down with you and show them what you are doing . . . word of mouth is our only form of advertising ^-^).
I first invented the HEATSTICK™ Thermal Fan in 1989. It was a heavy wood cabinet system designed to "look good" in the living room; but it weighed 37 pounds! We have scaled it down to the essential components . . . and you can always paint it to match the wall. There is a lot more general information about the science and the principles involved in creating gentle thermal convection currents in the extensive discussion below.
If you have any additional questions please call 707-442-5459 or email vegalot<at>gmail<dot>com.
It is not magic; It is Applied Science!
Warm Air Rises! That is a fact you can depend on. Make some warm air with any kind of heating system and what you are doing is loading the room with warm air from the ceiling downward to the floor. Thermostats (those things that turn the furnace on and off) are mounted at a midway point between the floor and the ceiling. That means, typically, that if you have your thermostat set at 65 (60), then it is probably 75 (70) on the ceiling and 55 (50) on the floor when it turns off. (If you are heating with wood, different story, it is well over a 100 degrees on the ceiling! More about that later.)
Warm Air Escapes! No doubt about it. Warm air is seeking to go outside faster than a kid home from school on a sunny day. That is why it is so important to have all your leaking cracks around windows, doors, outlets, light switches sealed; to help keep the warm air in. But warm air will still find ways to get out, meanwhile the actual heat (thermal energy) of the warm air is being transferred to the outside right through the ceiling and the walls. That is what good insulation does, it slows down the transfer of warm air from inside your home to the freezing cold outside. But all it takes is a little time, and pretty soon the warm air has partially escaped and partially transferred its thermal energy, the room gets cold, and the furnace comes back on to pump some more warm air into the room and start the cycle all over again.
No One Can Stop It! Not entirely. We can slow it down by fixing all our cracks and having great insulation, but we can not stop the process. Cold is the natural state of things! (Brrrrr! ) If it were not for the sun above, this planet, and the entire solar system, would be frozen solid, dead, and lifeless. Being warm and staying warm is not an option, it is a dire necessity. And what used to be reasonably inexpensive has suddenly become very, very expensive indeed.
All is Not Lost! The BluBox™ Thermal Fan can have a tremendous impact in slowing the speed that warm air is lost while maintaining warmer temperatures on the floor, where it is most desired. For pennies. By drawing the warmest air off the ceiling, the rate of heat loss through the insulation is reduced. By constantly returning the warmest air to the floor, your feet stay warmer longer, the thermostat senses warmer temperatures at the midpoint for a longer length of time, and the furnace comes on less often. You save money, you stay warmer, we all save energy.
Cream Floats! If you have ever milked a cow, then you know that if you let the fresh milk set for a while the cream will float to the top. This is because cream is lighter than milk, and like ice (which is lighter than liquid water) it floats. Warm Air Floats Like Cream! And the warmest air in your room is a like a thin layer of cream floating on the ceiling. That is what the BluBox™ Thermal Fan is after, the warmest hottest richest most expensive air in the room. The BluBox™ Fan, like a straw sucking up the last of a cherry cola, is sucking in the top 2 inches of warm rich hot creamy air off the ceiling, pumping it down the pipe, out the nozzle, and injecting that precious warm air under the cold air and onto the cold floor and your cold feet.
Well, Isn't It Going To Just Float Back To The Ceiling? Of course it is, and the BluBox™ Fan is not going to stop sucking it back down! It is a never ending cycle; BluBox™ Fan sucks warm air off ceiling, puts it on floor, warm air slowly floats back to ceiling where BluBox™ Fan sucks warm air back in and back down to floor. You basically get to "re-use" the same warm air several times! For mere pennies a MONTH!
I Have a Ceiling Fan That Does That! No, you don't. You may think it does that, you may have been told it does that, but that is not what a ceiling fan does. Not at all. A ceiling fan can mix the air in the upper half of the room, but trying to put warm air on the floor is like trying to submerge 50 ping pong balls in a swimming pool bare handed. Warm Air is Very Light -- It Floats! What a ceiling fan does is have a chilling effect in the room. Ever hear of wind chill? It is the seemingly lowering of temperature caused by wind evaporating moisture off your skin. Do this, wet the back of your hand with your tongue, then blow across the wet part. Cool, isn't it? Yet the air coming out of your body is 98.6 (I hope) -- that's pretty warm air, warmer, probably, than the air in the room. So why does your skin feel cool? Because you are evaporating the moisture on your skin with your breath, and when moisture evaporates it has a chilling effect. That is how an evaporative cooler works. A Ceiling Fan is Designed to Cool You! They come from the Sahara Desert, Casablanca, Morocco, Egypt! It is 120 degrees inside! and they got the old dusty ceiling fan stirring the air around to evaporate the sweat pouring down your back, sides, face, arms, and all the rest of you. You have been mislead by the ceiling fan manufacturers, who, by the way, really like selling ceiling fans in the winter -- it's their slow season.
I Didn't Know That. Not just you, most folks don't know that, it is kinda like the "Emperor's New Clothes" -- no one wants to be the first to admit that it feels cooler when they turn the ceiling fan on in the winter time (its not supposed to feel cooler). No one wanted to point out that the Emperor was parading around in his underwear, they just thought they were not smart enough to see the fancy new invisible clothes! . . . And besides, no one knows everything. Life is about learning new things -- the dead learn nothing.
And You Are Right! We are not moving a lot of air with this fan. Figure on 35 Cubic Feet per Minute (or so). Keep in mind that it is not the amount of air that matters but the quality of the air that matters! In fact, remember the chilling effect of moving air? We do not want to "move" a lot of air, we just want to be constantly moving the warmest air. A 12 ft by 18 ft room is 216 square feet. The two inches of air on the ceiling that we are interested in, the warmest, creamiest, most expensive air in the room, is actually only 36 cubic feet! That means that with a fan moving around 35 CFM the HEATSTICK™ Thermal Fan is moving/exchanging the hot ceiling air to the floor almost every minute. It is the quality of the air that matters, not the volume.
How Will I Make It Work? I Don't Have 12 Volt DC In My Home! Not to worry . . . each BluBox™ Thermal Fan comes with a 12 volt dc power supply (a "Wall Wart"),
I Heat With Wood/Pellets, Will It Work? You bet! The BluBox™ Thermal Fan will work with almost any heating system. But with some systems it works much, much better. It works exceptionally well (the best!) with a wood/pellet stove. A wood burning stove is very, very hot! Scorching Hot! And air that comes in contact with the stove is superheated and rises to the ceiling with a vengeance. (Think Hot Air Balloon on Steroids.) The air on the ceiling is almost always well over 100 deg. It is the mother lode of warm air. Meanwhile, as all this super heated air is rapidly rising from around the stove, cold air is being drawn in from every tiny crack that exists in the foundation, under the sills of doors, up stairs from cold basements, anywhere and everywhere. Put a burning candle on the floor near a wood burning stove and the flame will bend over almost parallel to the floor pointing at the stove. Cold air is on the move struggling to keep up with all that rapidly rising hot air around the stove (nature abhors a vacuum). So you put the BluBox™ Thermal Fan in a corner across from and the stove. Now direct the adjustable nozzle toward the center of the room. This is what is going to happen. The cold air traveling across the floor toward the stove is now being replaced with really hot air from the ceiling. Now already hot air is getting next to the stove to get even hotter. And it rapidly rises to the ceiling, to be sucked in by the BluBox™ Thermal Fan and returned once again to the stove -- to get even hotter! So what do you do, you shut the stove down because the room is getting way too hot! Having a BluBox™ Fan in the same room as a wood burning stove is like having two stoves in the same room. You will burn a whole lot less wood and be warmer for it. You may be so warm the fire may go out without you knowing it. (It has happened to me.)
Many Older Homes And Especially Older Apartments Have Single Source Heating Systems. If you have one of these, then a BluBox™ Fan is right for you. A single source heating system is like a wood burning stove, all the heat comes from one place. It could be a wall mounted gas heater, or wall mounted electric heater. Or maybe one of those below the floor furnaces with the grates and it feels so good to stand over it on a wet and chilly morning when it comes on. It might be a free standing gas heater in a corner. There are lots of different types of single source heating systems, but the common thing is that all the heat comes from one single location. These systems, like wood burning stoves, have no real distribution system. They have no way to send the warm air anywhere else but the ceiling, so once again, we are trying to get our feet warm by loading the room with warm air from the ceiling downward to the floor. If you have read all this, then you know that you would place the BluBox™ Thermal Fan in almost any corner away from the heat source and you will suddenly be adding warm air to the floor and to the cold draft that is on the floor. The room will be warmer and the furnace will not come on as often. You will be warm and cozy and will tell all your friends and we will be swamped with orders and have to hire more help and the global economy will turn around and gas will continue to go down because you and all your friends are using less and less and staying warmer and warmer. . . . Oh Happy Day . . . !
I Have A Really Weird House/Apartment -- The Heat Vents Are In The Ceiling! I am so sorry. That happened because when energy was still inexpensive it was cheaper to put the sheet metal distribution system for your furnace in the attic rather than under the house (where it should be). This is almost always true if you have a solid concrete foundation, the attic was the only available space left. And of course a BluBox™ Thermal Fan will make a tremendous difference in your comfort level and your heating expense. You would place it in a corner more away from the vent than near the vent. Remember the nozzle on the bottom is adjustable so you can direct the air left, right, or center.
Heat A Room For Free! This little technique works especially well with wood burning stoves, but it does take a little planning and some basic carpentry skills. Wood burning stoves are all about getting the heat to where you want it. There is plenty of heat, just no way to move it around. Now there is! Here is what you do if you have a room that you would like to add heat to and it shares a common wall with the room containing the stove. Using forethought and your personal carpentry skills make a large (4 in by 16 in) vent hole in the common wall (do a good neat job) right up there next to the ceiling, get it as high as you can. The goal is to allow the extremely warm air from the ceiling with the stove to flow into the adjoining room and load up its ceiling. Then put the BluBox™ Thermal Fan in a corner on the other side of the room away from the vent hole. The BluBox™ Fan will draw the warm air down and set up a mixing thermal in the room. Now the room can be kept comfortably warm. You do need to keep the door open a bit to ensure that air from the room can get back to the stove (completing the circuit, so to speak). If that is not possible, then add another vent to the same wall at floor level.
How To Think Of Your Home Heating. Lie back and relax, clear your mind, and try to visualize your home "upside down." Try and see the floor as the ceiling and the ceiling as the floor. Now imagine that there is two inches of water on the floor (ceiling) -- this represents your hot heated air. See how the hot air is "trapped" in the rooms by the dams below (above) the doors? In order for the hot air (water) to go from one ceiling to another the level has to rise above the dams. Then that adjacent ceiling will "fill up" with hot air. And when it gets full enough, hot air (water) can go onto the ceiling of another room. OK, enough of that. But do you see? Hot heated air "flows" along the ceiling, and from ceiling to ceiling, but the air that goes "over the dam" (flows through the door openings) is significantly cooler than the air on the ceiling it came from. That is why it is so hard to get heat into back bedrooms, by the time the warm air finally makes its way that far, it has cooled down too much to do much good. You may be able to "blow" warm air down a hallway by mounting a BluBox™ Thermal Fan in the hallway with a wall vent right above it to the ceiling with the stove. The BluBox™ Fan will suck the air off the ceiling and push it down the hall way, use the nozzle to direct the flow into a bedroom, then put another BluBox™ Fan in a corner in the bedroom to bring it down off the ceiling.
Here is a historical picture from 1990.