Best way to heat a small mudroom

sarahlee123September 29, 2012

We are buiding a 7x10 enclosed porch/mudroom, and would like to heat it minimally, so it isn't ice cold out there in winter. We need to choose between electric baseboard and something called electric 'hydrostatic' - I'm not sure I have that right, but it's oil-filled electric baseboard. Any opinions on which would be best? We are in the NE and electric rates are $$$$ here. Thanks!

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bus_driver

Heating it to 40 deg might be satisfactory. The oil-filled heater will not save one cent of operating cost nor do a better job.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 4:54PM
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sarahlee123

Bus_driver, thanks so much for your advice.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 7:44PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

Here's an idea from someone with zero experience with NE winters, so forgive me if this is a dumb suggestion:

Might it be cheaper to seal and insulate the space as you build it, and then heat it by just opening the door into the house? 7x10 isn't a very large area to add to your house's heating load. You wouldn't want to be heating it electrically if it weren't reasonable insulated anyway.

Good luck

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 7:56PM
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sarahlee123

Snidely, that's a thought. The area will be well sealed and insulated. But then again, it can get pretty cold here. I'll ask the contractor what he thinks.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 8:47PM
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bus_driver

If you decide to use electric baseboard in that area, plan on about 12 watts per square foot. Most installers use line-voltage single pole thermostats. But the double pole line-voltage thermostats typically allow for lower operating range settings and have a positive OFF position. Wiring must be planned accordingly.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 9:30PM
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saltidawg

Does not code require (adequate) heating supplies (Ducts/baseboard/etc) in each room?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:31AM
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sarahlee123

Bus-driver, thanks for the electrical information - it's Greek to me, so I'll print it out for the contractor.

Saltidawg, Could a porch/mudroom be treated differently? Another question for the.contractor- I'm glad he's a patient man.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 3:50PM
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saltidawg

It is my understanding that just as there are a minimum number of appropriately placed electrical outlets in EVERY room that there may well be a similar requirement for minimum "amounts" of heat sources. ??????

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 4:05PM
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ionized_gw

How is the rest of the home heated? Will there be plumbing in the new space?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:41PM
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sarahlee123

Ionized, the rest of the house is oil hot water heat. No plumbing in the mudroom. I was told that extending the oil/ hot water heating would be a big risk for pipes freezing. I also considered propane heating, since we have a generator, but it would be quite costly to install - it would have to be piped all the way from the far side of the house.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 3:59PM
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ionized_gw

" I was told that extending the oil/ hot water heating would be a big risk for pipes freezing"

That obviously depends on the layout of the existing system and the new room. I'd be tempted to ask for an explanation. A few years ago, my parents decided to add heat to their previously-unheated sun room over a crawl space. The rest of the house has a proper basement. Despite that issue, the lay-out made it easy to extend a new loop/zone into the room that was not unduly sensitive to freezing. That is despite the fact that the room is not heated much in the coldest weather at night.

I don't even know the relative costs of heating with oil vs. electric at this point.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 4:30PM
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sarahlee123

Bus driver, could you tell me a bit more about oil filled vs electric heating strips? Does one give heat longer than the other? Someone swears that I will save a great deal of money with the oil one - yet it's much more expensive to buy. Your input would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 5:01PM
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ionized_gw

The oil-filled heaters have more mass so the heat will be somewhat more even over time. There will not be any difference in cost unless you count in the fact that you might be more comfortable at a lower temp with more even heat. This does not seem like a place where you will be lounging in the winter so I doubt expensive rads will make any difference.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 5:49PM
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juliekcmo

I would put in electric baseboard and be done with it. Just make sure to get a thermostat, not just an on-off switch. This will be safe, affordable, and easy to install.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:53PM
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lbpod

All the common, garden variety thermostats, that I
have seen, only go down to 50 degrees. Is one
that can go down to 40 a 'special' type?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 1:13PM
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juliekcmo

You can get a basic honeywell Tstat with 40 range. Simple type not expensive--used in refrigeration. Your hvac supply house will have them.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 2:10PM
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sarahlee123

Thanks so much for all the advice. With everyone's help, I've decided on the regular electric heat with a thermostat. I'll ask the electrician to be sure and get a low temperature thermostat. I think this will work well. Now, if I can only figure out what kind of door mat I can use on my Trex deck flooring....they say no rubber backing allowed. But I guess that's for another forum...

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 3:08PM
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ionized_gw

Keep in mind that designing the heat to keep the room from freezing will require much less heat than taking it to a comfortable level. Take that into consideration along with the cost of having the work done and the cost of equipment. If you change your mind in the future about what you'd like there, it will likely cost double what it did the first time while it might not be much more to have the additional heater installed now.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:22AM
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sarahlee123

Ionized, can you explain what you mean by extra heater? Do you mean two strips of electric heat? Or electric plus another type of heat? I'd appreciate your thoughts.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 2:43PM
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