insulation around baseboard pipes


Old 02-25-02, 03:40 PM
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insulation around baseboard pipes

I just bought an old house that need major work on its heating and insulation. Of all the things that waste money (no insulation, gaps by windows, the trap door to the attic not insulated or sealed) I found a horror.

The kitchen is heated by a makeshift radiant heating system. In a ventillated, unheated crawlspace there are 4 20+ feet of baseboard radiators strapped underneath the floor joists.

These baseboards are running continuously -- they have their own feed to the boiler, their own pump. These people have been burning up fuel as if there's no tomorrow.

So how does this solution sound? Box in the baseboards, with a radiant barrier to funnel the heat back up; and then to insulate the crawlspace.

Now this crawlspace is a bear. I'm not looking forward to it. There's less than 3 foot of clearance and the ground is not level -- rocks jutting out all over the place.

How does foam insulation work over ground? I dread any kind of work below there.


-- glm
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Old 02-27-02, 08:43 AM
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Unfortunately, this make shift application of radiant floor heat is wrong. Baseboard heating uses convection to transfer heat, whereas radiant does not use air in heat transfer. Though you may receive some benefit with radiant from your present system, encasing it may cause a moisture problem. Whenever you heat air, it expands and when it cools, it contracts. By encasing the baseboard in the way you described may cause condensation to occur in that area.

You are much better off removing what you have there and putting in either baseboards upstairs or installing an underfloor radiant system. Today they use plastic tubing with metal reflector stapled or nailed under the floor. If you search the web for radiant floor heating, you'll find a lot of manufacturers that sell those products.
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