I’ve been asked by a few patients why the light behind the clinic desk is vibrating, so I thought I’d explain it here. People see the long tube of white crinkled fabric hanging from the ceiling and illuminated from within by colored lights, and assume it’s a pretty lamp. Lamps don’t usually vibrate, or make quiet white noise sounds. This creation is actually a clever device to help the clinic be more energy efficient!
It’s called a Hot Tube, and was created by a guy named Bill in Maine who wanted to solve the problem of hot air collecting on the ceiling in the winter. In the northeast, this happens a lot when you’re heating with a woodstove, but here in the clinic, the same thing was happening due to the heating vents being located in the ceiling. (Why? Who would design such a thing? Even fifth graders know that heat rises!)
When the weather first got cold enough to require the clinic’s heat to be turned on, I was frustrated that it never seemed to warm up. Then one day I had to adjust a curtain rod near the ceiling, and had to pull my hand away because the metal was actually hot. The warm air was just collecting in the eight inches or so below the ceiling. While it was 60-something degrees at the desk, the ceiling zone was in the 80s! I thought, “Surely someone has figured out how to fix this,” and after some time with Google I wound up on the kickstarter page for the Hot Tube.
I love it. The way it works is that a fan at the top of the tube sucks in the hot ceiling air, then sends it down the tube and out through a a vent at the bottom. If the fan is turned up all the way, that’s when you see the tube vibrating a little bit. The quiet white noise sound is from the fan action, not a white noise generator. The lights inside allow it to also function as a pretty lamp. 🙂
Since installing the Hot Tube, the treatment room temperature has been more consistent. We’ve had some furnace problems this winter, but the hot tube has made it possible to keep the treatment room warm with a couple of space heaters.
If you think you want a hot tube for your house, you can order them on the Tube-Works website for 99 bucks.