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Old 10-24-2010, 07:49 AM   #1
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Electric heat-floor vs baseboard


Long story short:

Location is NW Minnesota, where it gets cold in the winter.
House is 100% electric, no duct work for forced anything.

Lower floor has in-floor electric heat (an open room 30x30, plus trwo small bedrooms). Used to be controlled (off peak). We took it off of that because it seemed counter productive, since an in floor system relies on the ability to keep the cement warm. The system is close to 25 y/o. I am not sure if it is working at full capacity. All floors do get warm, but that does not mean it is all OK. Also, even though we have thermostats, we simply turn these all the way up. Because of the way in floor heat seems to work, one can't simply adjust the thermostats as one gets cold/warm.

I am thinking of having baseboard radiators put in instead. I am not looking to save money on the heating bill, just looking to have better heating in the winter, as we would be able to control it better.

Any ideas on the matter?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 10-24-2010, 08:25 AM   #2
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Electric heat-floor vs baseboard


Floor heat is called radiant heat and especially for a concrete slab it takes time to get going and takes time to level off after the desired temperature is reached. They make outdoor thermostats that guess the temperature change in advance to turn the heat on and off at the right times.

I would favor baseboards because you don't heat the ground when the slab radiates heat down as well as up. Also baseboards heat up the room air faster.

Any chance you can install oil or natural gas heat? Yes you would have to do a little more drilling to put in forced hot water baseboards. But in some cases you can run the pipe from room to room through the walls and have the return pipe come back the same way through the baseboards themselves. Instead of drilling holes in the floor to go down and then up into the next room (impractical for a slab).

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Last edited by AllanJ; 10-24-2010 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:02 AM   #3
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Electric heat-floor vs baseboard


Set your floor heat to one temp, and leave it set there. Could take 2 days for it to stabilize.
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Old 10-24-2010, 11:42 AM   #4
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Electric heat-floor vs baseboard


No natural gas. Propane would be the only other option.

The issue in the lower level, a walk out, is that the temp basically set by the outside temp. We turn it all the way up already, and are lucky if it gets to
62 F on cold days. Before we went off of "off peak," the temp never reached 60 F unless we had a warm spell.

As I stated, I am looking for a little more "control" of the temp downstairs. If I could manage to put a baseboard in each room as well, all the better.

I am assuming the cost of heating the space wouldn't change all that much, other than we would be able to actually set the temp. higher.

Another option we have considered is a propane fireplace (in the future). Not just for heat, but for ambiance as well. But I think a propane fireplace would be counter productive, as the thermostats would shut of the in floor heat (unless we left the t-stats at 90 F) as the temp. would rise using propane (cooling the floor down). Another reason to go with baseboard.

Thanks for the replies.
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Old 10-24-2010, 11:47 AM   #5
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Electric heat-floor vs baseboard


Put electric baseboard in the rooms. And have them each controlled by their own thermostats. Let the in floor heat set to a temp about 2 warmer then the baseboard thermostats. This will give you the warm floor, and make it so that you don't need to keep the temp real warm to feel comfortable.
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