what is this system?

It appears to be some kind of heat storage system. In the same room it had a control with two knobs, pne labeled (setback" and I think the other one was just temperature, like a thermostat. Anyone know for sure what it is?

I turned up and heard a fan running but no hot air came out although it seemed to be pulling in cool air. This was in a south-facing room with big windows. Cound this thing be pulling air out of this warm room, running it through thermal mass to store heat, then pumping heat into into the cold downstairs?

Picture’s not too good. Last picture this camera will ever take

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I’m guessing it’s all electric heat and some thermal storage used with a special electric rate for off peak hours.

I think you’re right on, Michael.

There is an “off-peak” electric thermal storage (ETS) program in effect with our electric utility here. Half price power from 11pm to 7am on weekdays, all holidays and weekends. In peak weekday periods, 7am-1pm and 5-11pm, power is 150% of regular rate. Storage is in room sized units as seen in the picture or in furnace sized units like the Steffes as mentioned on the Northern Plains website. With planning, power bills can be cut 30-40%.