Thinking of installing electric baseboard heat

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Old 10-25-03, 10:15 PM
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Thinking of installing electric baseboard heat

We are thinking of installing electric baseboard heat in the master bedroom. (We will leave the existing hot water baseboard heat intact)

The electric baseboard heat seems like a logical step for us to do prior to going to the full expense of the furnace, ductwork, etc. Do you expect the electric baseboard to be QUIET.

Since we will be only using the electric baseboard at night, I am not overly concerned about paying increased electric bills. My main concern at this point is feeling comfortable in my own house. Does this make sense?. I was going to go straight for the furnace and I still may do so in the future but I was thinking the electric baseboard could possibly do the job. Given the fact that we do not know how long we will stay in the house, if THE ELECTRIC baseboard will be a QUIET heating source it may make sense. Any opinions appreciated.
 
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Old 10-26-03, 06:05 AM
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Electric will be quiet, just like a properly installed hot water baseboard unit. Is there a possibility that you could have the hot water piece replaced by someone who could find a high quality brand that would not make noise. Sometimes on a long piece of hot water baseboard, there isn't enough room left on the ends where the pipes go into the floor for expansion and that causes binding also. I would hate to see you install electric baseboard if you don't have to.

Ken
 
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Old 10-26-03, 05:18 PM
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Is there a possibility that you could have the hot water piece replaced by someone who could find a high quality brand that would not make noise.


- Since I have been trying to get the hot water piece to a reasonable level of quietness for 2 years and have spent over $1000 trying to fix it, I am thinking I really have 2 options to be comfortable in my house this winter as I really hate the constant ticking in my baseboard (never stops) and banging in the pipes. With both of these problems and having had countless plumbers into try to fix, I need another heating source this winter.

ANY IDEA if the 6 feet of electric baseboard will be enough to heat the whole room adequatley. The room is 16.5 long and 12 wide???.
 
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Old 10-27-03, 05:35 AM
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If you use 570 as a figure for BTUs per foot of standard hot water baseboard, you can figure out what the BTU output of your present baseboard is and try to match that with the electric. I don't know what the output per foot is for electric baseboard heaters.
 
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Old 10-27-03, 07:31 AM
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According to what I read elsewhere each square foot of electric baseboard requires 10 watts. Therefore a 12*16 room would require 1920 watts of baseboard heat. However, the area for the baseboard is 6 feet. I was told by one electrician that the voltage would be either 110 or 220. I assume I need 220. However this equals 1320 watts. How does this sound?
 
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Old 10-27-03, 08:01 AM
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Electric baseboards may tick too. (the ones we had in our house growing up did, the ones in my mother-in-laws house don't...) Electric radiant heat panels, if installed properly, should be quieter and you have more options for places to install so you can get enough heat. 6ft of standard electric baseboard is probably not going to do a good job.

Doug M.
 
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Old 10-27-03, 10:54 AM
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Electric baseboards may tick too.

- Are yo talking about occassional ticking or constant ticking.
 
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Old 10-27-03, 12:18 PM
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Have you considered replacing the fin-tube baseboard radiator with a cast iron baseboard radiator? No fins to tick.
 
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Old 10-27-03, 12:25 PM
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Much as that sounds like a good idea, unless you put it on a zone of its own, it will cause other problems. Mostly related to temp. control and comfort.
 
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Old 10-27-03, 12:36 PM
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Have you considered replacing the fin-tube baseboard radiator with a cast iron baseboard radiator? No fins to tick.

- I wish it were that easy. IN addition to the constant never ending ticking there is banging in the wall. One contractor recommended installing cast iron baseboard radiator. However, one who I trust more said while the cast iron Baseboard radiator will get rid of the ticking it will not get rid of the loud banging that is inside the walls. Therefore, why spend the money when it will still be very noisy.
 
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Old 10-27-03, 01:17 PM
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The electric baseboards in our house when I was growing up made subtle "ticking" sounds whenever they were heating up. Every once in a while there would be a louder "clunking" sound. We knew when they were cycling.

Another option for you might be heating the floor. There are electrically heated pads available now that go between the carpet and the pad (come in 120 and 240 volt varieties), wires that can be run under tile flooring and hydronic systems that would connect into your boiler, but be plumbed with new PEX tubing allowing you to abandon the existing pipes. You might even consider replacing the baseboards with iron baseboards as was suggested above and reconnecting them to the boiler via new PEX tubing.

Doug M.
 
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Old 10-28-03, 06:27 AM
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There are electrically heated pads available now that go between the carpet and the pad (come in 120 and 240 volt varieties), wires that can be run under tile flooring and hydronic systems that would connect into your boiler, but be plumbed with new PEX tubing allowing you to abandon the existing pipes.

- This seems quite complicated. Would it be done by an electrician or a plumber? Also, my floors are not tile. THey are hardwood (no carpeting)
 
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Old 10-28-03, 06:42 AM
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The electric varieties would be done by an electrician. The hydronic ones would be done by a plumber. With hardwood floors, I'm not sure I'd mess with floor heat. The floor would have to be taken up, heat installed, and floor re-layed. Deffinately not simple in your case...

Back to radiant panels... They could be installed in the ceiling, wall or cove (corner of ceiling and wall). Installation would be no more complicated than electric baseboards, but you would have more placement choices.

Doug M.
 
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Old 10-28-03, 01:27 PM
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You have a perfectly good heating system (hot water baseboards) with one problem (banging pipes in the wall). Why would you want to install electric heat?

The banging is caused by the thermal expansion of the pipes, which where installed too tightly or otherwise just plain poorly. One fix is to open up the walls and re-pipe correctly, using copper or plastic.

I have hot water heat with copper pipes and cast iron baseboards, and it is silent. It wasn't always this way. I have found that by routing all the heating pipies through generously sized holes with bushings to cushion the pipes (done when I finished the basement), as well as loosening the screws slightly that hold the baseboards to the walls, has eliminated all the noise.

A good heating contractor, who understands the dynamics of thermal expansion and contraction, can fix the pipe banging, and a good handyman who can fix drywall and paint.

But before you try that angle, give this suggestion some consideration and run it by the folks you have been speaking with:

Baseboards put out different amounts of heat based on the temperature of the water flowing through them. The hotter the water, the more heat they put out into the rooms.

Houses loose different amounts of heat based on the out door temperature (and to a lesser extent, the wind speed). The colder the outside temperature, the more heat the house will loose and consequently, the more heat that is needed to keep the house at a constant temperature inside.

Your heating system is designed to heat your house on the coldest day of the year, because it only has one water temperature setting, and the boiler is either running full blast, or it is not running at all.

Almost all hot water heating systems are set up to run full blast when the thermostat is calling for heat. When the thermostat stops calling for heat, the system shuts off, or coasts. Basically what happens is that the system runs full blast, then coasts, full blast, coast, full blast, coast, etc. Even when your house only needs a "little" heat (such as on a mild winter day), the heating system is either full-blast on or dead-off coast. Modifying your system so that it can run at varying levels of "throttle" (based on the needs of the house) will help reduce the hot-cold-hot swings of the system, reducing the amount of thermal expansion and contraction between heating cycles, and reducing the frequency and intensity of the noise the heating system components generate. Does that make sense?

Convert your heating system to "constant circulation" and add an outdoor reset controller to the boiler. What this does, is maintain a more constant temperature of the water flowing through the baseboards and piping, based on what the heat load of the house is, which is based on outdoor temperature. A more constant and even temperature of the heating system components means less thermal expansion/contraction, which means less noise.

Thoughts?
 
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Old 10-28-03, 08:57 PM
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I have hot water heat with copper pipes and cast iron baseboards, and it is silent.
If you had spent over 1000 already with NO improvement perhaps you would have doubts as well.

The last "contractor" who entered my house suggested putting a foam like substance around all the pipes in the basement and inside the baseboards for $450. He said this alone would fix 90% of the problem. Did I believe him enough to hire him. NO I DID NOT.

Several other plumbers have heard the constant ticking and said that is the normal expansion and contraction. The one contractor who has done other work for me said no matter what is done there is no guarentee it will work.

Thank you for the suggestions. It seems like you know what you are doing. So what happens if the walls are opened and the noise does not go away. Easier said then done.

While I do appreciate your suggetions, unless you can personally come fix the problem, I have given up on plumbers. I have simply had too many over collect their service fee and get paid for their solution which has no impact at all. After close to $1000 in lost cash one loses faith. Now I should have someone who will do work with no guarentee of anything open up all the walls.

As I sit hear at my computer listening to constant ticking, I can only say Western Mass is not too far from NJ. If you want a real challenge and are up for the task my door is open.
 
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Old 10-29-03, 06:47 AM
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I'm no professional by any stretch of the imagination, but I have done research into hot water heat, and know that if you can get someone willing to work with you, your problems can be solved without resorting to electric heat or forced air heat.

Seriously consider the constant circulation and outdoor reset technologies. Implementing them would be far cheaper than what you have spent already, and would also be much less disruptive that opening up the walls. It would also increase the efficiency of your heating system, and may lower your heating bills.

The only other recommendation I can give you is to adjust the water temperature of your boiler down, and leave your thermostat set at a constant temperature, i.e., don't turn it up or down at all, not even at night.

Do you have a seperate water heater or is your hot water made by a coil inside your boiler? This, too, could be contributing to the noise.

I suggest that you check out www.heatinghelp.com. It is a web site all about hot water heat, and has a forum called "the wall" where you can post questions and pros will answer. Post a question about how to reduce/eliminate the noise from your system, and see what ideas they come up with. Great knowledge and info over there, but they don't talk prices.

Good luck, dodge, I know your problem can be fixed, it's just a question of finding someone who knows what they are doing.
 
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Old 10-29-03, 07:17 AM
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Thank you for your reply. The former owner of my home was a plumber. Several plumbers have said the constant ticking is normal. Normal to me is not 24X7 ticking. I will read over the site you directed me to but trying to fix an old system is easier said than done and with no guarentees and can make one tired of shelling out money for nothing.
 
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Old 10-29-03, 07:20 AM
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Why would you want to install electric heat?
do you enjoy listening to constant ticking and banging. Easy for you to evaluate my system. You are lucky you had good plumbers or a good system to start with.
 
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Old 10-29-03, 08:05 AM
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90% of the heat piping in my heating system I installed myself. I removed most of the piping (cut it out and recycled it) for the main floor (ranch house) when I finished my basement because it was all hanging 4 inches below the joists and I wanted a smooth, seemless sheetrock ceiling with maximum head height. I re-installed all new piping up in the joist spaces, and reconnected all the 1/2 inch radiator drops to the new 1 inch piping. I did re-use the monoflow "T"s, but everything else was new. About 100 feet of 1 inch pipe and 30 feet of 1/2 inch pipe, new fittings, hangers & busings, insulation, solder and gas, under 300 bucks total and about 15-20 hours of my time.

For the finished basement, I installed all the radiators and heat piping, and pressure tested it before hanging the sheetrock. I hired a plumber to connect the piping up to the boiler, and do the control wiring for the new zone.

The key is to make sure that NONE of the heat pipes are installed TIGHT or rubbing against anything. All pipes should be hang with the special heat piping bushing that allow for the pies to slide in them as they expand and contract. Are you handy? Consider learning how to solder. It is not difficult.

Try not to dispair. When you finally get this problem resolved, your heating system will be wonderful !!!!
 
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Old 10-31-03, 08:26 AM
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Having had over 7 plumbers over who

have seen the system and not recommended this, I do not understand how you can assure it will work. On the plumbing board, I am recommended to cut open walls. Someone from heatinghelp.com tells me after a 20 minute conversation the system sounds like it is one I will need to learn to live with. Well guess what, I am not going to learn to live with 24X7 banging and clicking that never stops.



A "perfectly good system" you say. If ticking and clicking and banging 24X7 is perfect in a house built and owned by a plumber then I will seek imperfection.
 
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