Baseboard Heaters & Space Kitchen Cabinets


Old 01-23-18, 08:33 AM
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Baseboard Heaters & Space Kitchen Cabinets

We are in the middle of purchasing a home with oil furnace/ hot water heater baseboard. One of the first projects we'd like to work on when we move in is a mini reno for the kitchen, because of the very limited countertop space. One of the reasons the kitchen feels a little smaller is because the only countertop space in the kitchen is from cabinets that, instead of being flush against the wall, are up against the baseboard. There is about 10' of baseboard running along that wall. What do you think are the most efficient/affordable way to go about this?
  1. Remove the toe kickers and "float" the cabinets above the baseboards by utilizing cleats, drilling into studs, and/or adding support at the base via 2x4's. . I would use this in conjunction with a heat reflecting barrier/board underneath the cabinet. Most affordable option, but unsure how badly this would effect the heating in this room.
  2. Installing toe kick heaters. If I do so, how many should I use to replace the existing baseboard? Are these truly effective? They seem to run at about $150-$250.
  3. Splitting the baseboard heater so that there is nothing behind the cabinets so it would be 2 shorter baseboards on each side of the cabinets vs 1 long one. That way the cabinet can just be pushed up against the wall. Is this possible? I'm having trouble finding any guidance in how to accomplish that.
My dad will be assisting me in whichever option I chose, just trying to figure out the best way to go about this. The kitchen layout does not allow for these countertops to go anywhere else.

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Old 01-23-18, 11:17 AM
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You cannot be getting very much heat from the baseboard in its current location.

You have about 6000 btu's of heat in that baseboard.(600 btu's p.f.)

If you go with toe kicks you'll have to get something with that output plus you'll have the electrical to deal with and the fans which some people find annoying and the installation depending on what type of system design you have.

I doubt you will get very much heat with the baseboard under the counter. That in my opinion should not even be an option.

What I would do if you have access to the basement is split your baseboard on each side of the counter.

What you would do is come up in one corner and install baseboard up to the counter.
Drop down into the basement and come up on the other side of the counter and install your second piece of baseboard.
Drop back down to the basement and join you pipe to the loop again.

Basically, you're just cutting out what you have and reinstalling in new location going around counter by way of basement if possible.

If you have access it's the simplest, best and cheapest way to solve your problem. You can even use the baseboard you have by cutting it in half and getting some new end caps and a little bit of pipe.

Just my thoughts. Hope this helps a little.
Old 01-23-18, 12:32 PM
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Thank you!!

Yes, basement is unfinished so should be easy access. And I have to turn off and drain the system first correct? Do I only have to drain one zone (1st floor), or do I have to drain both (2nd zone for 2nd floor)?
Old 01-23-18, 12:41 PM
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Without pics of your system I couldn't say for sure.

If you have shutoffs on your supply and return lines and can isolate that zone there is no need to drain entire system.

Make sure stat is off so zone will not call, shut off both valves and drain that one zone.

You can even leave boiler running and heat other zone if you want.

When done, bleed that one zone, and put back on line to restore heat.

You may get some comments about feeding up and down and you need vents. You DO NOT. It is done all the time in loop systems.

When you bleed it will force the air out as it has no other place to go and heat will be restored, even better than it was with your original situation.
Old 01-28-18, 11:37 AM
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Toe kick heaters work very well, in my experience but as Spott said, they can be somewhat noisy. One upside to them is if someone is standing at the sink either washing dishes or preparing food the heat is nice & toasty on the feet it they are installed under the sink as they usually are. Most folks don't even notice the sound.
Old 01-30-18, 07:41 AM
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Note that all of the following will have about the same energy efficiency:
1. Insulate the baseboard radiator unit including between the finned pipe and the back wall and install the cabinet over it. (Without air circulating or wafting through the finned pipe inside the baseboard, the amount of heat given off will be greatly reduced.
2, Replace the baseboard radiator with a straight pipe (put insulation on it,) and install the cabinet over that.
3. If the pipe comes up through the floor to the baseboard and then goes back down, then remove the baseboard radiator and reconnect the pipe ends with a straight pipe (covered with insulation) along the basement ceiling.

Optional part 2: Install your choice of additional radiator against or near either end of the cabinet.
Optional part 2A: Remove the original baseboard heater and extend the pipes out to the front of the cabinet where you install a new finned pipe under the cabinet to become a FHW toekick heater. Some reconstruction of the underside of the cabinet front is needed to let air circulate through the finned pipe and maintain support of he cabinet floor.

In any event, practically all of the 6000 BTU the original radiator supplied to the room will be saved for other radiators about the house including the one in Part 2 above.

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