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Under Floor Radiant Heating Question

I'm planning a kitchen remodel.

I have a gas fired, forced hot water system. In my kitchen I have base board radiators along 2 walls. I would like to add cabinets along these 2 walls. These radiators are in my way.

Is it possible to replace these 2 base board radiators by integrating under floor radiant heating into the existing heating loop/zone or must such a radiant heat source be on its own loop/zone??

Any other suggested solutions are also welcomed.

Thank you.

Re: Under Floor Radiant Heating Question


This is a common problem with kitchen remodels in those homes that have hydronic (forced hot water) heating systems; almost every kitchen has limited floor space due to refrigerators, stoves, kitchen cabinets, therefore it is not advisable to to install baseboard convectors which take up too much room in view of the other needed kitchen components.

You can avoid going into a radiant zone, which would cost lots of $$$, & would require that the installer has access to the underfloor kitchen joists in order to install the radiant convectors---much easier & less expensive is to first look at one or two cast iron or stainless steel radiators that PUT OUT A LOT OF HEAT FOR THEIR RELATIVE SIZE & can be easily hooked up to the existing supply & return piping once you remove the space-hogging baseboards; Kickspace heaters are also widely used in kitchen hydronic applications because they are small & fit into the bottom of existing kitchen cabinets---however some of them are noisy & don't heat too well.

Cast iron rads have been around for many decades & may have to be purchased from plumbing supply stores or junkyards that specialize in these--make sure you find some that have been leak-tested & have no rust on the exterior.

Stainless steel radiators are newer entries in hydronic heating that are gaining popularity rapidly (they cost lots more than cast iron rads)---the stainless steel rads can be mounted on the kitchen walls, in addition to the floor because they weigh much less than cast iron rads.

There is no need to create a separate zone for the kitchen convectors, but it is usually a very good idea to do so because it only takes a zone valve or two (one to control kitchen heating, one to control heating for the rest of the house) as well as separate T-stats for the 2 zones--separate zones for different parts of the house make you feel comfortable no matter what part of the house you are in, and a handy thermostat controls the heat level for each area, & in addition you save heating expenses by burning less gas.

Your best bet is to consult the Yellow Pages in your area under Heating Contractors or Hydronic (hot water) heating contractors & have several contractors over the house to give you estimates for the job to be done---if you belong to Angie's list you can try to select the heating contractors in your area that have established a good track record of satisfying their customers & weed out those who have done an expensive & lousy job.

Fig. 3-7 of the caleffi site below shows zone valve installation; Fig. 4-7 shows stainless steel radiators; the beacon-morris site shows other options like floor vectors & especially kickspace heaters, which are very popular for kitchens, since they're small & fit under the base of kitchen cabinets.

There are many other mfgrs of kickspace heaters, so do a comparison & search (Google "Best Kickspace Heaters") for ones which are least expensive, generate a lot of heat, make the least amount of noise & don't break down for a number of years; also Google "Best Stainless Steel Radiators" for price comparisons & shipping details.



Re: Under Floor Radiant Heating Question (additional info)

I don't know if this added info matters but .....

as part of the kitchen remodel, we will be changing from a hardwood floor to a tile floor, so access to the sub-flooring is no problem.

the house is a split-entry.

the heating system is a 3 zone system (living, sleeping & family room/down stairs)

the kitchen dimensions (wall-to-wall) are 12' x 11'

Re: Under Floor Radiant Heating Question

I agree with Pelton's comments---given the various components that are available, especially kickspace heaters & others mentioned, your main task now is to locate the right contractor in your area for the job that can size up the best way to do this project, & will do the best job, using the right components, at the best price.

By all means use Angie's List or the Better Business Bureau to find the most suitable, capable contractor at a reasonable price.

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