Hydronic under cabinet heater or kick toe space

bobbie46September 22, 2011

Electrician coming late today or tomorrow. I've delayed decision on auxiliary bath heat. Our exhaust vents are independent and do not heat or light. Electrician told me yesterday that I had said no ceiling heater. I had thought I said probably no ceiling heater but no matter who is right, must move on and I do not want to cause him extra work. He planned for the wire to come through the floor. Walls are open. I have looked at an hydronic baseboard heater and at wall and kickplace heaters. Wall space it at a premium and those heaters are not pretty. Space is about 115 square feet with shower and commode in their own space (behind their doors). I can put an electric kick space heater under the vanity and the specs say that will heat 150 sq feet or an hydronic baseboard heater just outside the shower provides 500 (watts?). Maybe two baseboard heaters or what about Panasonic Warmly yours floor system? Maybe there is an hydronic under cabinet heater. We live in south Louisiana so cold days are few but often they are very cold. All suggestions

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Warm floor is an infloor heating system, goes under tiling / flooring and works great.



Here is a link that might be useful: Warm Floor

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 1:29PM
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You have an hydronic heating system in South LA? Are you sure? Forgive me for asking if you do. If you say "yes", I will fully expect to see an elephant flying by the next time I look out the window.

If you have hydronic heat, it is hard to believe that a toe-kick heater can't meet your heat needs in a small room like that. It will cost a lot less to run than electric. Have them install a separate set-back thermostat so it can be toasty warm when you get up in the morning and shut off when you don't need it.

All the ceiling heaters with blowers that I have been exposed to are good for heating ceilings. Radiant might work up there, but I have never seen any.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 3:11PM
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Thanks Dan martyn and ionized. I shall explore warm floor. I have no idea if we have hydronic heat-if it needs a boiler, then we absolutely do not have it. My husband found a baseboard heater and I thought he said it was hydronic. Will double check on that. Ionized, exactly right, why heat the ceiling? The toe-kick electric heater may be perfect. If so, do you think it is better in the toe-kick space beneath my sink or maybe at the back of the floor area of the vanity which is right beside the sink? I know it will take floor space but I don't sit much and when I do, I am at the front edge of the cabinet. All the toe-kick heaters I have found are electric. What do you mean by "it will cost a lot less to run than electric"? Thanks again for replying. It is amazing how a little support lowers my anxiety.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 6:00PM
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I was referring to hydronic toe-kick. The heat comes from gas or oil, usually, firing a boiler. They do need electricity to power the fan, but not much compared to a full-electric heater. That is correct, no boiler, no hydronic. No more talk about hydronic except to say that it is unusual in a predominantly cooling environment because you need ducts for the cooling and can use them for heat as well as the cooling. A separate system for heat is a very costly add-on.

All things being equal, the warm floor is probably a better idea than the electric convection heaters, toe kick or other. You really want the heat as low down as you can get it.

I just read your post again and I see that the electrician plans to come up through the floor so you must have a raised house rather than a slab. Is the floor insulated? If it is not, it might argue against the warm floor since you might be heating the inside and outside relatively equally. You are planning on heating just the sink space and not the commode and shower rooms, I guess. Keep in mind that a sq ft rating for heaters is not all that meaningful. You don't need as much heat on the Gulf Coast as some do in snow country.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 8:23PM
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Thanks ionized. Yes, a raised house with an uninsulated floor, so probably something other than a warm floor. I do want to help heat the commode and possibly the shower room. When it gets cold here, it can dip below freezing and we are pretty cold. We usually turn the heat down to 65 during the night so it is useful to be able to heat up the bathroom quickly in the AM. That being said, I think you are saying an electric toe-kick heater may be the solution. I just want to put it in the floor space under the vanity so it will be centered in the room and will not singe my toes. Do you agree? Thank you so much for trying to help me. Since beginning we have had to replace the sewer line, repair the water line, new roof, new central AC, replaced 6 or 8 joists and subfloor this week and need to rebuild the wooden garage before painting the whole house. I can do this but it sure is nice to have a little more info. Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 11:10PM
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My husband found a hydronic baseboard heater on line. It appears to be self contained and needs no boiler to operate. Does this seem correct and is it efficient in the use of electricity?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 8:22AM
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I am not familiar with the baseboard you describe. I feel it must be electrically-powered. Please post a link. It could be a nice electric heater or it could be just marketing hype.

Heat generated by electricity can be delivered in several ways. A little blower in the toe-kick or ceiling-mounted heaters delivers hot air. With the electric baseboard, you get natural convection (no blower) and radiant heat. (Radiant is mostly what you feel standing next to a fire your the side facing the fire feeling very warm while the other side can be quite cool.) The last way is by conduction which is the first step in how the floor heater would work. It is hard to say which is more efficient. Electricity conversion to heat is all 100% efficient, but some ways can make you feel warmer with less power depending on how they are being used.

When revising the AC did you consider increasing the supply to the bathroom? I guess you just had a replacement system plugged into your existing ducts.

Your projects sound familiar to me in my S. Louisiana home. AC is done. Need to do the roof and insulation. Need to take out a pool and regrade the yard. Need to rebuild garage walls. Need to fix the floors. .... It will never end.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 11:41AM
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Googling "hydronic baseboard electric heaters" I see one that states "Freeze proof liquid solution is sealed permanent". I am familiar with the oil filled electric and some people prefer these compared to regular electric baseboard. The "Solution" is designed to absorb the heat and radiate heat after the unit turns off. It is a more gradual heat, but costs the same to run as a regular electric baseboard heater. Also baseboard will not heat the floor and keep your bare feet warm.

Hope that helps,


    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 1:31PM
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Dan and ionized, you are helpful again. Thanks. I do not know how to post a link but I googled "hydronic baseboard heater" and several popped up. A well rated one was by Quark, I believe. It says "the liquid is sealed permanent", just as you said. We are in S. Louisiana and I think the supply lines are being replaced so hopefully they will work better. They were so old we were cooling the crawl space. Our HVAC person has a been working on replacing the system for almost a year. He says he needed a "clear right of way". I say he bit off more than he expected and we were concerned about his health and did not want to be harsh. So, hopefully, he will get an inspection next week. Can't close the walls until HVAC is approved. So, thanks to the two of you, I have better information with which to make a decision! I also read an answer to an insulation query by ionized which has me thinking about that. Thank you both so much.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 7:58PM
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"hydronic baseboard heater just outside the shower provides 500 (watts?)"

Probably 500 BTU/hour with typical inlet water temps of around 180F.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 9:12PM
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