Help! How can we heat our bathroom?

marmishApril 4, 2007

Hi, first post here, so feel free to redirect me if needed.

The short version: So, can anyone help me with a solution that doesn't cost $$$ and will provide heat for an 8x5' bathroom. Will an under-tile radiant mat system provide enough heat? In Chicago? I'm guessing not, although it would be easy (I think) to install.

The whole story:

We are remodeling a bathroom the previous owner put in. We have hot water heat, and he installed baseboard radiators in the adjacent closet and the bathroom in series with the bedroom radiator, so there are 5 (2 in the bedroom, 1 in closet, 2 in bath) connected. They then installed a fiberglass shower and rigged a cabinet adjacent to the shower that was hung above the level of the baseboard radiator so it was not obstructed. We had two heating guys come to give us suggestions on how to change/remove/alter the radiators so that we can have a shower that goes wall to wall, where one of the bathroom radiators now sits. One guy said, yeah, we'll make it work, whatever you want. Not very helpful. The second guy was very helpful, explained how everything was set up now. Suggested changes that made sense, but cost BIG $$$. What he recommended was to remove the bathroom radiators, making the closet radiator the last one in the series. Then fishing pipe from the bathroom to the boiler to install one new appropriately sized radiator in the bathroom. The fishing should be easy (or easy-ish) because the wall is open, we can see the top of the basement wall (even though we are starting on the second floor) and we can follow the waste stack all the way down. But, while all this sounds like a great solution, it costs almost as much as the rest of the materials and work for the bathroom together!

Whew. That was longer than I thought. Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Do you have gravity hot water, forced hot water or steam? If you have forced hot water you can replace your radiator with a fan-powered toekick convection unit controled by it's own thermostat. It can even be instammed beneath a bath vanity. They pour out heat and will make your bathroom very cozy in a short time. You would also get good service from electric radiant but since you have boiler pipes nearby you may as well use them.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 12:40AM
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Toe kick heater is a good idea.

Or, if you're looking for the cheapest solution, that's probably a combination ceiling light/fan/electric heater.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 12:40PM
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Check out the Broan one bulb IR heater. You can't get any cheaper heat then this. I had one in my last house on a 60 minute timer and it worked like a champ. You can also go one step up and get the combination bulb heater and fan.

Here is a link that might be useful: Broan heaters

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 10:31PM
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Me likee Broan 162M...

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 10:02AM
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One of the problems with some of the fan/heaters is all the heat stays up by the ceiling or gets sucked out by the fan. The IR units will get around this problembut the toekick heater is still the best way to go, you will have nice warm floors when you get out of the shower.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 12:25PM
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The toe kick heaters I find don't do a lot to heat the floor much more than a few inches from the face of the unit.

My parents have two in their kitchen. While they do a good job at heating the kitchen, they only warm a small part of the floor right in front of the unit.

I'd think an IR unit would do more to heat the floor over a larger area.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 12:29PM
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Let me tell you, you step out of the shower with that IR lamp crankin over your head and in no time you start to feel like a steamed matzo ball! The drawback might be no heat all the time if thats all you have in there. But considering its instant heat that shouldn't be much of an issue.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 4:52PM
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Since it's a bathroom that needs heat, maybe the natural gas from bodily discharges that occur in this room can be harnessed and used in this application. New invention: FartHeater. Easy to install (ouch) and virtually maintenance free (yuck).

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 10:05AM
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Hey why not? All a fart is is methane gas! You might be on to something garyg! How bout methane collecting underware? Then you can transfer it to a holding tank when you get home. Kinda like taking the 20 pound propane tank down for a fill up. What a concept!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 10:14AM
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While I'm sure between the husband and dog we could heat the whole house with farts, they're too smelly and hard to collect. We've found out the joists run in a favorable direction to remove one radiator and run the pipes under the floor, leaving one. We also purchased a heat light as suggested above. I can only find one place who I think stocks the floor warming mats in my area. I can't believe there aren't more, so if anyone knows someplace in the Chicago area, NW or W preferably, please let me know. The Heating guy is coming Monday, and the electrician and GC will be back Tuesday.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 11:08PM
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"While I'm sure between the husband and dog we could heat the whole house with farts.."

- Um, you managed to leave yourself out of the supply line.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 7:18AM
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Ladies don't far, Gary.

They hold it in until age 65 and then spontaneously combust.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 11:56AM
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Good choice, that IR heater will also do a good job of keeping food warm if someone is gonna be working late. "Your dinner is on the toilet seat dear" :-)
Let me know how you like the heater. Been thinking of putting one in my own house again.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 9:32PM
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