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Heating an Art Deco Theater

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by the Wiz, Oct 18, 2003.

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  1. the Wiz

    the Wiz Guest

    Since hot water systems are used to keep driveways clear of snow/ice, it seems
    possible to heat a building. Whether it's economically feasible in an
    uninsulated structure is another question.

    Would it be possible to mount radiant heaters so that the people would be warmed
    instead of the empty space?

    More about me:
    VB3/VB6/NSBasic Palm/C/PowerBasic source code:
    Drivers for Pablo graphics tablet and JamCam cameras:
    johnecarter [email protected] mindspring com. Fix the obvious to reply by email.
  2. Baphomet

    Baphomet Guest

    A bit of background. We have this 1929 Art Deco Theater in the Catskills.
    The walls are made of ceramic blocks, the floor is wood and the ceilings are
    high high high. It used to be run year round with two coal fired furnaces
    providing the heat. In the winter, it gets cold cold cold in them thar

    Does anyone have any experience with under the floor or over the floor piped
    hot water heating systems? Would they keep a patron sufficiently warm for a
    period of several hours at say a 0 degree Fahrenheit ambient temperature,
    and are they costly?

    With today's energy costs, oil or gas forced air heating is out of the
    question because of the size of the place. Did I forget to mention that the
    theatre is uninsulated?

    Currently, the place is only open in the summer but it sure would be nice to
    run it year round without having to charge an unrealistic amount for a
  3. So wheres the webpage, have a soft spot for Art Deco Theatres, movie theatre
    or playhouse theatre?
    How did the heating system usedc to work, warm air?
    Requires lot of small bore piping at high density to give sufficient surface
    area, costly to install.Thought about traditional water fed radiators?
    Warm Air heating is always ridiculous to run costwise. Would suggest quartz
    IR radiant heating, as used for paint drying in body shops and churches with
    similar heating problems.

    Its heavy on juice while running but heats the patrons not the ceiling void
    Suggest asking on as well, sympathetic ear
    from people with similar problems :)

  4. Neil

    Neil Guest

    I hate to say it, but you are side-stepping the absolutely unavoidable. NO
    ENCLOSED SPACE such as this can be totally uninsulated, and be at all
    economical to heat, or keep cool. No matter what, spending money to insulate
    first, will pay for itself a thousand times over. Attempting to heat such a
    space in any way, without insulation, will be equivalent to shovelling your
    money down the toilet.
    Once you have insulated, even a very small amount of heating and cooling
    will be extremely effective. Just gluing 3 inch thick insulation foam to the
    exterior of the building, and wrapping it in insulating vapour barrier will
    make a huge difference.
    Believe me, I know, I spent 21 years living in Kapuskasing, Ontario,
    Canada...look it up, and you'll know what I mean.
    Good luck
  5. Bob Masta

    Bob Masta Guest

    That name rings a bell! Back in the early 70s I worked for Cadillac
    Motor Car engineering division, and every winter they sent teams of
    engineers and cars to Kapuskasing to do cold-start tests in
    real world "worst case" conditions.

    Alas, I never got to go... Hee, hee!

    Bob Masta

    D A Q A R T A
    Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
  6. The US Army used Ft Greely Alaska for the same thing. I spent a year
    in "The land of the square tire" I think I still have the certificate
    for "The benevolent brotherhood of buffalo busters" somewhere in my
    military records. the place got so could we were not allowed to give the
    temperature on the radio or TV station I worked at. All we were allowed
    to do was warn everyone to remember their cold weather survival
    training, and to be prepared.
  7. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    ...costly to install...
    Think about a local patron / angel / befactor / theatre enthusiast
    who is in that business.

    There is a large amount of labor involved, but a lot of it is unskilled.
    If you can get a lot of folks to pitch in,
    the investment in time by the pro will be minimal.
  8. Neil

    Neil Guest

    My parents decided to move from Kapuskasing to a warmer climate......North
    Bay. Last Christmas in North Bay the police were warning people not to go
    outdoors as it was so cold. Car battery sales were brisk as batteries
    ruptured from being frozen. I remember watching the Christmas lights strung
    along the fence each exploding shortly after being turned on, as they went
    from frozen to hot. It sounded like machine gun fire, and looked like the
    forth of July.
  9. Baphomet

    Baphomet Guest

    Hmmm. I'm feeling warmer already thinking about how cold it gets where you
    guys are :) Never underestimate the power of positive (no puns intended)
  10. John Fortier

    John Fortier Guest

    Bloody hell, Baph!

    I've put in a heated floor system in the UK, but that was part of the
    refurbishment of a 400 year old farmhouse, and we put in 3" of insulation on
    the insides of the walls before dry lining.

    Generally, in Europe, forced hot air heating is unheard of. Everything is
    done using hot water radiators. However, the trouble is that modern
    radiators aren't. They're convectors, so with a cavernous, uninsulated
    building, you will wind up with the same problem.

    I think you need to step back from your problem and start afresh. The main
    problems seem to be that the place is, as you said, cavernous and
    uninsulated. That means that any heat will rise to the top of the space and
    there escape through the uninsulated roof. So the first step might be to
    insulate the roof and to develop a means of returning the warmer air to the
    floor level. Some fans with quiet, aerodynamic blades would serve here.

    As far as the installation of the underfloor heating goes, yes, I could
    help, but I'd need to get a look at the place first. Can you e-mail me with
    a map?

  11. John Fortier

    John Fortier Guest

    As a young and silly person I spent some time working on the DEW line,
    installing line of sight antennas. Nowadays I wear a beard to hide the

  12. Terry

    Terry Guest

    Right on! There is no 'magic' answer to heating any space with
    tremendous heat losses.
    Doesn't matter what energy source you use there will be costs
    involved whether that source be wood, coal, electricity, propane
    of piped in gas, or fuel oil etc. No matter how you burn
    (convert) the fuel/energy supply into heat and convey it into the
    used space, it will, one way and another, vanish through the
    structure to the outside.
    Granted some sources of heat will 'feel' warmer to the customers
    due to the radiant effect. Same as standing out in the sun on a
    freezing cold day compared to standing out in the same freezing
    cold at night! same temperature but something warm is shining on
    Sounds like the old fashioned design of the building is maybe a
    limitation here?
    Might have been 'normal' and acceptable back in the days when
    people wore heavy clothing and boots etc. Then they travelled in
    open horse drawn wagons or sleds during the winter, woke up to a
    cold house and cold wood stove and so on. But today when even
    some car seats are heated, Mr and Mrs Urbanite, possibly dressed
    up for an entertaining night out are not, I suspect, equipped for
    or hardy enough to tolerate cold/cool temperatures?
    Cheers. Terry.
  13. Terry

    Terry Guest

    Nice dry cold. No mosquitoes! At least at this time of the year!
    Black flies?
    In this particular part of Canada it doesn't (usually) get as
    cold as that but is often damp and windy and next to the North
    Not good conditions for electronics btw, especially outside,
    basic or otherwise. Even galvanized fittings and electronic
    equipment cabinets have been known here to rust through in just a
    few years due to the salty 'maritime' climate.
    The power distribution company is now, I notice, using pole
    mounted distribution transformers with stainless steel casings!
    Also local cable TV and telecom companies have developed and use
    electronic equipment huts made of fibreglass; these are half set
    into the ground to obtain more even temperatures.
    Currently though we are averaging higher temperatures than around
    I imagine electronics have a completely different set of
    parameters to endure in hot steamy, never below freezing
  14. Each vehicle was "Allocated" a single 15 amp, 120 volt circuit to
    power a battery blanket, a dipstick heater, and a lower radiator hose
    heater. The engine oil was changed to straight 20 or 30 weight, and the
    90 weight grease was drained from the transmission and the rear end, and
    replaced with 10 weight oil. It usually took five miles or more for the
    old nylon corded tires to warm up enough to get rid of the slight
    flattened spot that had sat on the ground, so it was "Thump! Thump!
    Thump!" till they warmed up. You were required (by law) to carry extra
    fuel, spare headlights, food for several days, and survival gear just to
    drive the Alcan highway in winter time. People were required to pick up
    anyone who broke down to keep them from freezing to death. The railroad
    was required to pick anyone up if they were outside of a town, and drop
    them at the next town, even if they didn't have a penny on them.

    It was fun taking cold weather survival training. The trees were
    frozen so an ax was useless for gathering firewood. You picked a sapling
    less than 3" in diameter, turned you back to it, and kicked it with the
    heavy arctic survival boots. It snapped off, then you dragged it to the
    fire and threw the whole tree into the fire. You could have a roaring
    fire with flames shooting 50 feet into the air, and five minutes later
    it would be out and the ashes were already cold. There was always some
    idiot who thought they would stay warm by drinking alcohol, but one swig
    of booze, and their stomach and lungs could freeze, and they died, on
    the spot.
  15. Gluing 3" of insulation foam to an Art Deco Theatre sounds like a terible
    idea. The great US Movie Palace architects like Rapp and Rapp and the
    legendary John Eberson would surely spin in their graves....
    The vapour seal sounds like something Christo would do ;-)

    Admittedly the boom times of the late 20`s and early 30`s meant some
    buildings were assembled in a hurry. In Glasgow what became the Apollo, now
    demolished, was built as Green`s Playhouse a cinema with 3000 seats and a
    4000 capacity ballroom on the roof, built in 4 months by Green`s own
    building crew.

    Google seem only points to mention of one in Fleichmanns, is this it?

  16. Baphomet

    Baphomet Guest

    That's it Adam
  17. John Fortier

    John Fortier Guest

    I remember an incident in Rivers, Manitoba, where a pilot landed his
    aircraft and, since he wasn't wearing suitable clothing, sprinted for the
    control tower. It was close to 40 below (the temperature where it doesn't
    matter if it's measured in Farenheit of Celcius), and he was hospitalised
    with pneumonia from having panted the air. He made it, but he was very
    lucky that the local doctors were familiar with cold induced pulminary

    And yes, there were those who thought that booze was the answer. A very
    short term answer!

    I'm not surprised you live in Florida now - no problems except lightening
    storms and hurricanes.

    Every time I contemplate the Upstate New York winter, I'm tempted!

  18. The longer I live here, the more problems I have with the heat, and
    I've been here 16 years. When I first moved to Florida I watched people
    bundled up for sub zero weather when it was near freezing, and I got a
    lot of strange looks because I was usually in a tee shirt, or if it was
    windy, I would wear a long sleeve flannel shirt. I still don't wear any
    heavy clothes during the short cold spells, but over the last couple
    years I have become heat intolerant. I can break out in a heavy sweat in
    a 70° Fahrenheit room while wearing a tee shirt and shorts. The humidity
    is usually quite high, and summer days hit the 90 degree range.

    BTW, there were a couple streakers in a bar off base from Ft Greely,
    Ak. in the dead of winter. At least they were smart enough to jump out
    of a warm car, run through the building, and out the back door into the
    warm car.
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