Best hydronic toekick heater?

cheri127May 5, 2009

This is a x-post with the HVAC forum. Can anyone recommend a hydronic toekick heater? I've read good things about Beacon-Morris but was wondering if Myson is better. I'm looking for the quietest one I can find. TIA.

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Hi Cheri127 we just went through this with our kitchen where we wanted to put cabinetry on a wall that had heater panels. We chose Turbonics heaters based on reviews on here and elsewhere. They were one of the few companies that had a way of recessing it into the toe kick of the cabinetry and then having a white/black/stainless/etc. grill choice that you could order separately. Our electrician is coming tonight to install the switches inside the cabinets (I didn't want the switches mounted on my wall) so I can't speak to how loud they are, but I LOVE how they blend right in. I can say that they were WONDERFUL to work with. I called the Friday before Easter in a panic because the cabinets couldn't be set until these things were installed and they helped me a lot and then drop shipped them directly to me so that I could get them faster. They are sold through Ferguson in my area which is Maryland.

We didn't know much about these and so when we spoke to our regular HVAC guy at the beginning of our whole house remodel he said "sure no problem I can get you those!" When the installer showed up a few weeks ago to install them I almost fell over! They were these ugly brown things with all of the knobs and controls visible on the front which would have been in my toe kick!!! I have custom white painted cabinetry so I said "no way!" They said they could get them in white, but the knobs and switches with all of that ugly writing, etc. would still have been on there so I jumped on trusty GW and did a quick search and came across the Turbonics. We have the kicksters because the room isn't that large and our cabinetmaker had cut out access panels in the bottoms of two base cabinets in case we ever needed to work on or replace whatever unit we selected and the kicksters were a bit smaller. He was so smart to think of this and he just put a removable piece of wood that is screwed down for easy removal. It creates a slight bump in my lower cabinet, but it's not a problem at all and will be so much easier if we need to repair/replace down the road.

Here is a link to the GW discussion about Turbonics and below is a link to their website. I've also included a picture of the grill on mine.

The grill isn't that visible and that's what I wanted!

Good luck!!!

Kat :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Turbonics Toe Kick Heaters

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 1:11PM
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Lesmis, thank you for so much useful information. Your kitchen is beautiful. I'll definitely look into Turbonics. Do you know whether the plumber installed a circulation pump to make sure the hot water ran to your toe kick heater?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 9:33PM
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Cheri, thank you we are almost finished with our kitchen! My husband said they just plumbed it into the line and it worked fine with the available pressure so we didn't need the additional installation of a circulation pump. Make sure they bleed it really well when they install it because they had to come back and bleed ours some more because they hadn't bled it quite enough.

Good luck!

Kat :)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 9:41PM
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Turbonics!!!! Another happy customer here. In fact, I'll bet that I am one of the people on the thread that lesmis linked!

I think I actually found GW when I had done a google search for kick heaters. Read about Turbonics here, and the rest as they say, is history! Our plumber, who tried to disuade us from getting kick heaters (they're noisy, you'll hate it....), was very impressed with our Kicksters (we had him put in two, one on either side of our island, based on Craig's recommendation--owner of Turbonics?).

FYI, we kept the dark brown/black plastic grills that came with our Kicksters, figuring they'd disappear under our island, but you can also purchase slivery (plastic) ones separately.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 12:46AM
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I bought a Myson. You can order the optional flex hoses so that it could be changed out without removing the cabinets, which idea appealed to me. It is the middle-sized one which according to the chart was the same output as a 400 lb cast iron "boat anchor". The fan is two speed. The sound isn't tinny or annoying to me, but it is audible. It does a fine job pf heating the kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Myson

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 7:51AM
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Thanks Casey and Cat Mom. Like you, Casey, it was the flex hose that led me to Myson. I don't think the controls on the grill will bother me because there's an apron detail around the toekick that will help hide it and it's in the least conspicuous part of the kitchen. Maybe I'll get my plumbers opinion before ordering.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 8:40AM
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lesmis do you still like your hydronics? I am in the process of renovating my kitchen and was considering their units to replace my hot water radiators because they seemed quiet and a loud fan would drive me crazy. After using these a few years, did you find the noise level acceptable? Does the low fan stay on all the time and is it annoying? Does it significanty affect the electric bill? Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2014 at 9:51AM
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We also went with turbonics in kitchen. Also did a cursory look at myson since I had found a myson installer but couldn't find a turbonics installer. I just wanted to mention a couple of things. The heating contractor added flex hoses to our system which allows us to pull out the unit for servicing, etc. It's not nailed down to floor; they are pretty solid, that it wasn't necessary. Two units on opposite sides of small island. The one thing I found out late and before install - we're in an older home with cast iron rads...the heating system had to be zoned to accommodate the kick toe heaters; that added about 3k (copper vs pex) to the bill. I also suggest if your looking to hide the switches inside cabs that you determine where before finalizing cab order. By the time I figured out where (crammed packed cabs), it involved making some last minute changes to cab order. The thermostat also had to go on an interior wall.

This post was edited by Mags438 on Sun, Sep 14, 14 at 11:03

    Bookmark   September 13, 2014 at 11:24AM
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We haven't turned our heat on yet this "season" but as of last winter, we were (are) still very happy with our Turbonics kick heaters. We have our two on their own switches, but could have had them controlled by one switch if we'd preferred (FWIW, we always turn both on/off together, so we could have used one switch). The fans kick on as needed (when the kick heaters are switched on, and when the thermostat "calls" for heat), so they are not running constantly. They aren't annoying, although DH sometimes gripes about not being able to hear the TV (which he complains about even when the kick heaters aren't on--the TV is in the far corner of our kitchen). There is no motor noise, just the sound of the heated air being pushed out.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2014 at 11:36AM
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Cat_mom, we had our heating system completed during warmer weather so other than a cursory test once connected, we haven't used. Would you say, heater fall into the white-noise category?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2014 at 11:47AM
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Thank you cat_mom! Very helpful. I feel safer going with Hydronics now. Did you notice any huge increase in electric bills due to blowers?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2014 at 12:00PM
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I've had one Turbonics and one Beacon Morris for 9 years now and have put in quite a few Tb units. Replaced 60 feet of baseboard with them in a space 39' x 17'.

Set fan to low, plenty warm and quiet. Always have used existing zones with no problems, no change to electric bill.

The BM unit is there since I needed a 12" deep unit at that end of the space.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2014 at 6:03AM
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The HVAC vent for this side of the kitchen ended up being situated at my cleanup sink, which was a lovely surprise. Love having the warmth at my feet! So, no switch and no control, other than when the heat normally kicks in/on.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2014 at 7:41AM
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Definitely more of a white noise category, than something really annoying, Mags438. We do keep ours on Lo (except for a "kick-start" on Hi on super cold, or damp-chill mornings/evenings). We find ourselves bumping up the TV volume when the kick-heater fans are going (as we do when we run the range hood), but we find ourselves needing to do so more and more often as time marches on! :)

MarthaSINY, I don't recall any significant increase in our electric bills after we started using our kick heaters. Also, we vaulted the ceiling(s) in the kitchen/DR (now LR), during our reno, which probably caused an increase in our central a/c needs during the summer, or requiring more heat to warm up the space in the winter. So, if our bills did rise, it would be hard to say what caused them to do so. Again, I don't think the fans increased our electric bill by much, if at all.

This post was edited by cat_mom on Sun, Sep 14, 14 at 22:12

    Bookmark   September 14, 2014 at 12:18PM
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My plumber has never installed a toekick heater but is willing to talk to Craig at Hyrdronics to get direction. Did your installers have previous experience or is this pretty straighforward if an experienced plumber, not experineced in toekicks, takes this on?

This post was edited by MarthaSINY on Wed, Sep 17, 14 at 9:55

    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 9:49AM
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