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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    13

    Baseboard Versus Floor Radiant Heat

    I need advice regarding heating the lower level of a new 2 story addition on my house. Based on the outstanding replies to My thread, "Ductless vs High Velocity A/C", I plan to use a radiant floor heat/ductless mini-split for A/C (and heat months with temperature above 40 degrees.

    With the lower level which will be a wood workshop (dust and paint/stain fumes), I want to use a sealed combustion heating system as suggested in the prior thread. As an alternative to radiant floor heat, I am thinking a radiant baseboard heat system might be lower cost.

    I anticipate my usage pattern of the workshop to be somthing like 1) will not be in the work every day 2) work on a project and be there every day for 1-2 days, 4-6 hours every day. 3) May not be there for an entire week.

    What are the Pros/Cons of baseboard versus floor radiant heat... cost, comfort, efficiency, etc.?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    13
    Clarification the 1st paragraph:
    I need advice regarding heating the lower level of a new 2 story addition on my house. Based on the outstanding replies to My thread, "Ductless vs High Velocity A/C", I plan to use a radiant floor heat/ductless mini-split for A/C (and heat months with temperature above 40 degrees) in the 1st level.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,841
    Well first thing to understand is that if you're seeking comfort, in-the-floor heating will be the most comfortable. Second to that is the radiant panel type of heat, which takes several different forms. Then, just for clarity, there is finned tube baseboard heating which is NOT radiant but rather convection heat.

    The second thing to consider is efficiency. If you want to get peak efficiency from the distribution system, then outdoor temperature reset for the radiant product(s) will achieve that for you but at the cost of rapid heat changes. In other words, when you're absent from your workshop, the radiant product would stay at the same temp as when you're there. It does not lend itself well to rapid temperature changes and programmable t-stats are not recommended. Constant temperatures with constant water circulation is where the radiant floor achieves its efficiency. When referenced to outdoor air temperature, the water temperature flowing through the system is varied to exactly match the heat loss from the building.

    One of the biggest advantages to radiant floor heating is that it eliminates all considerations as to furniture location. In your workshop that may or may not be an issue. On the other hand, if your workshop will have a lot of floor mounted cabinets, it is not normally recommended to have radiant floor heat under those cabinets as it becomes a nice warm place for uninvited guests to live (mice, rats, etc.) Radiant panels on the other hand come in many different shapes that can lend themselves to locating a lot of heat in a relatively small wall space. Runtal panels are one such product and be had in either mass produced or custom shapes, including long, short panels, tall narrow panels and other more exotic shapes that might not be your first choice for a workshop. Then there's always the old standard cast iron baseboard that is also a radiant product but has been used in high temperature 'burnt air' applications so long, it seems everyone has lost track of the fact that they work very well at lower oprating temperatures too.

    For radiant panels considerations, you might want to visit www.runtalnorthamerica.com or www.burnham.com/radiant_products.htm

    I hope I've helped and answered satisfactorily.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    13
    Thanks skippedover, your reply was very helpful. I would use radiant wall or baseboard heating instead of radiant floor only if there was a significant cost advantage to offset the comfort of radiant floor heat.

    Since I'm planning radiant floor heat in the upper level, I will have a boiler that could supply the wall/basebord radiant heat. I thought installation of the wall/baseboeard would be less (a lot less???) than radiant floor heat. Maybe not.

    I understand that radiant floor water heats at a different temperature than wall or baseboard? Is this an issue?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    50
    I think the differnt water temps very much could be an issue. I have nice heavy baseray baseboards on a first foor ranch.

    I am adding a second floor. .my original plan was to do with radiant through the house. I then decided to look at keep the baseboards downstairs.

    radiant guy stated that with original plan I could use a water heater type unit to power the whole system(my heatloss isnt very much and design temp is that bad(NJ). But if I keep the basebards then I need higher temp water and his recommendation was a modulating/condensing boiler plus indirect water heater.

    The cost for the extra heating canceled out the cheaper cost of the baseboards.

    But as a side note the boiler optiion was stated to be much more efficent.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    1,996

    If you're only using the shop part time

    I would go with hydronic baseboard. Only turn it up when you're working down there. Radiant floor cannot give you fast warm up. You can lower when you're not there, but setting back the thermostat too far and the room will take days to come back up to temp. If your floors are already poured, you'll have to raise the floor for the tubing. If the slab is not insulated, you'll loose heat to the ground.

    You can still run the baseboard at the lower water temp for your mod/con boiler. You just need more baseboard. A well insulated basement should not need a great amount of heat.

    Also if your indirect tank is small, you'll need to provide over 140 water to the indirect to get reasonable recovery times.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,760
    putting baseboard heat in a wood shop would kill your usable wall space around the perimiter of the area. i would do the in floor radiant and if not that then a ceiling hung hot water fan coil.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,285

    fan coils or baseboard in a wood shop

    Consider the dust that will be moving with the air through the elements and/or the fan motor.

    Even though my company makes baseboard, that would be my second choice.

    I rarely disagree with Johnsp, but this time, my first choice would be steel or iron radiators. You can blow these off pretty quickly, they operate at low temps, and they give off meaningful heat pretty fast.

    My second choice would be what John said.

    Noel

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,760
    my concern with baseboard would be all the material and equipment around the walls....

    i know what my fathers woodshop looks like and i don't think baseboard would cut it.

    they all don't look like the new yankee workshop Norm has on tv..


    as long as you have a good dust collection system and an air scrubber running when you are sanding the airborne dust should not be that bad.

    dads shop has a hanging gas heater in it and after 7 or 8 yrs it is still very clean.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    1,996
    Good suggestion Noel. Maybe cast iron BB would be a nice compromise!
    Heavedy duty and easy to dust off, no fins to clog, plus it has some radiant qualities to it How about panel rads? You can't be using all the wall space? They make narrow tall units that could be only 2 feet wide but as tall as the room.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,540
    You don't want infloor radiant heat for a wood shop that isn'y used every day.
    Takes too long to recover.

    As Noel said, CI rads.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    750

    Radiant floor in a wood shop.

    I couldn't think of better system. It is true that set back is not for high mass slab systems, I wouldn't set it back. The cost to operate the radiant floor will be insignficant especially if you use a Mod/Con boiler. If you have ever experienced radiant floor you would'nt have a question.

    Go for the gold, be safe and comfortable.

    You'll be glad you did.

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