Wednesday, November 19, 2008



Last night, for the second night in a row, after finally reaching the simmering stage of dinner, I went outside to sit on the freezing front porch to do some simmering of my own and cool off a bit….once again, I had become overheated while cooking a hearty winter meal due to a miss-placed floor vent that blows hot air straight up and into my face. I sat there in my rocking chair muttering under my breath about just why anyone would think it wise to put a floor vent right between the sink and the stove! I didn’t know the gender of that designer, but I did know that person was most likely not someone who spent any real time in a kitchen! I mean, not only does it blow dirt and pet hair up and onto the kitchen work counters making it necessary for me to pull out the dirt devil and sanitize the counters before I begin to cook, but it blows heat straight up into the face of the cook!

When I went back inside to complete the dinner, I angrily pushed the kitchen mat over the floor vent, which blew so strongly that it scooted the carpet out into the middle of the kitchen....I took a moment and moved it back and then placed the empty stainless steel dog bowl on top of it - it still scooted out to the middle of the kitchen; I stepped over a bit so that I could keep one foot on it while I completed my tasks.....then complained about it (for the hundredth or so time) at dinner…….so finally, David brought in a hammer and laid it upon that mat so I could stay cool during clean up – the hammer did the job and that mat stayed put! And provided the two of us with a revelation, one which I’ll get to in a minute….

That offending vent is one of three floor vents put in the kitchen when the central system was installed by our previous owners.....while the rest of the house suffers from a dearth of venting. It seems that every single house I have lived in, the designers of the heating and a/c systems always put too many vents in the kitchen.....I’ve never understood this since the kitchen is a room in which a great deal of activity takes place raising body temperatures. Cooking also provides additional heat so can someone tell me who came up with the idea that you put extra vents in a kitchen but only one in every other room in the house? Anyone?

Now, some of you may be thinking...why didn’t she just close off the vent…..I did adjust the vent but since it’s the most direct and closest vent to the system, that didn’t help in any discernable way – I still had heat blowing straight up and into my face making me reach for the chap stick!

Others may wonder why we just didn’t turn the heater off or down temporarily.....well, that could work if this wasn't a 100 year old farmhouse in the long drawn out process of being fully restored and insulated....turning off or even down the heat temporarily allows the temps in the rest of the downstairs to plummet which in turn requires a lot of work by the heater to get the downstairs back up to a comfortable level for the rest of the evening...a lot of energy wasted (and money!). In order to keep the living room, office and dining room comfortable, the kitchen has to be over heated because of those three ridiculous vents in there!

In the summer time, it’s not that big an aggravation partly because we don’t run our a/c that often, and when we do, we keep it set at a pretty high temp; despite living in Florida. We have a lot of shade trees and the house, designed before a/c existed was designed for wonderful airflow from the 32 windows it has. And in the summer, we grill out and eat more salads, sandwiches and soups………..

Each winter, that vent plagues me –despite being in Florida, we do have quite a few nights that reach the low 40’s and even low 30’s….and the trees don’t allow the sun to warm up the house and the heater has to be on almost round the clock. We do a lot of soups and stews so I spend a lot of time in the kitchen – you know those comfort foods that warm not only your body but your soul? Our winter electric bills are the highest of the year….much higher despite all the insulation and sealing we’ve done over the past five years. Visitors are always amazed at the temperature drop as you leave the kitchen and step into the dining room and living room….we were beginning to think it was something we’d just have to live with indefinitely because no matter what amount of insulating we did, nothing seemed to change the problem…

Anyway, back to last night and the mat of revelation - We left it there after dinner and went on with our evening routines. I went into the living room to watch “Dancing with the Stars” where I covered myself with the afghan as I do each evening because of the chill in that room. We were set to have a record low (29 degrees!) and I was prepared for a chilly night of TV watching. After a bit, I found myself uncomfortably warm and got up to check the thermostat thinking that someone had adjusted it too high after dinner. I was extremely surprised to realize that it was set to only 72 degrees......normally we have to have it at 75 to even sit in that room without shivering and this is after renovating and insulating the walls and flooring. I began to think about that vent and its placement to the system……….

As an experiment, we left the vent covered with the mat and hammer when we went to bed and woke to a pleasantly warm living room despite those record lows here in Florida.....and a thermostat still set at its overnight level of only 68 degrees......and right now, at 11:00 am, when I would normally be freezing I find instead that I am very comfortable…….

As soon as it warms up enough for David to get under the house, he’ll be closing that vent off permanently…..That blowing, make me sweat and swear vent is going, going, gone. Apparently a great deal of the heat has been going to and through that vent causing the 10 degree temp difference between the kitchen and all the other rooms downstairs.....think of the money we'll save on the heating bill this winter without that stupid vent.

I like that floor mat even more now….but I’ll be glad to put the hammer away!


  1. Assuming you have a metal vent cover, you could run out to your local hardware store and buy a magnetic vent cover. You can cut it to size and stick it on top of the vent cover. It will seal it up pretty tight and won't blow away like an area rug. This might help solve the problem until one can get under the house to close it completely. Just a suggestion...

  2. Thanks for the reminder....I just went out to the barn to tell David this and he was constructing his own version of a cover. The hammer is put away, the mat is back in place and I'm sitting in a warm office...Life is good!

    Thanks again for the suggestion!

  3. tryin to leave youre photographer friend a message. my name is A. Blake hornung. my wife was googlimg my brother on 12/26/08. his name is alex. she found your friends sight with a picture of my brothers marker at jarboe park on it. looks like the web page was made exactly a year and two days earlier never the less it makes m feel good that someone appreciates the marker.


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