electric baseboard?


Old 05-13-10, 08:55 PM
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Location: USA
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electric baseboard?

Last summer I had a shed dormer framed for the second floor in the Cape Cod style home that my family lives in. The previous owner had insulation blown into the crawl space floors on either side of the house (about 6’ from the outside walls). When I finished off the interior bedrooms over in the fall (new wiring, flooring, insulation batts, sheetrock, etc), I did not think to remove the blown-in insulation that was now under/in the floors toward the back of the house.
That winter, we noticed that the upstairs rooms were very cold and that they were especially cold when you stood on the floor with the blown-in insulation underneath. My theory was that we may not have adequate heat going to the upstairs, but the blown-in insulation in the floors was also preventing the thermal energy from the first floor from rising into the second floor.
I have not sided the outside of the second floor yet, so I was planning on cutting holes, from the outside, into the second floor (between the joists). I thought I would then try to vacuum out the blown-in insulation with the hope that this would help out heating problem during the next winter.
Today I spoke with a duct cleaning company owner and he felt that I was wasting my time and money and that there would not be a noticeable difference. He asked me about my existing heating system upstairs. I told him that the house was built in the 1950’s and that the heating system was forced hot air. There is ONE register along one of the outside walls in each room that provides hot air (so one register per room – 2 bedrooms). He said that that was my problem - I have now created a large outside wall and there is no heat register on that wall; the new outside walls were not heated. Since I had already finished off each room, he said that there wasn’t a way to tap into the existing heating system with a new duct without ripping up the wall and floor. I am now looking into an electric baseboard for each of the unheated outside walls.
What is your opinion on this situation? I know there is not adequate heat upstairs, but is an electric baseboard the way to go? Do they make baseboards that can tap into the existing 20amp circuits that I wired for each bedroom or do I have to run a separate circuit? Should I spend the money and time to remove the insulation in the floor between the 1st and second floors?

Thank you very much for your replies,

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Old 05-14-10, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Lake Wales, FL
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.You can look at this from two ways.
One is lack of heat input.
The other is poor insulation.

Adding more heat to keep warm, will result in an on going cost and more pollution.
Adding efficient insulation is a one off cost, from which you will always benefit.
Removing the under floor insulation is wrong, as it will mean the downstairs rooms will be colder, probably leading to cold feet.

There is a move towards better insulation and lower fuel bills. To achieve this one needs air tight rooms and insulation that works.

Unfortunately, insulation batts are old technology, they do not work. Using the same amount of space, polystyrene or styrofoam will give you twice the insulation. If you look this up, you will read that their insulation benefits are the same. This was the result of laboratory testing. In the real world, things are different.

The problem with heat is that it always disappears through conduction, radiation or convection. It doesn't matter how good insulation is, our heat gradually fades away.

In the home our heat is pulled away through holes by the passing wind. Batts are not a tight fit, they are open cell technology and they leak heat.

Polystyrene and styrofoam are closed cell technology 98% air, 2% plastic. They air wind proof and water proof, and better, they carry on doing the same job for ever. Styrofoam has been installed for 51 years and it does as good a job today, as the day it was installed.

Remove the batts, carefully fit polystyrene sheets, cut to a push tight fit, avoid leaving any holes, and feel the difference.

Place at least three to four inches of polystyrene between the frame and another two inches on the room side, then cover with Sheetrock (necessary to slow down any possible fires) finish to choice.

Note: At minus 28 degrees C/minus 18f outside, a room I was testing kept a temperature of 20.2 to 20.8C/70f this winter, heated only by the heat leaking from the rooms on two sides.
Note 2: Radiant heat, from a heater in the middle of a room keeps the heat in the room. Heaters fixed to the wall loose half of their heat keeping the wall warm

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