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regular vs hydronic electric baseboards.

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    #16
    I think StarCat is envisioning a central circulating hot-water baseboard heat system, and everyone else is thinking about individual oil-filled baseboard units.
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

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      #17
      Originally posted by petersonra View Post

      Having said that, there is some merit to the use of hydronic heaters because they have more thermal mass so they tend to limit the temperature swings better. This might make it more comfortable in the room and might even lead to the occupant lowering the thermostat a degree or two, which will save some energy.
      ,
      I am still not buying that argument. Lets break this thermal mass idea down. I see it on the micro scale, and on the macro scale. On the macro scale thermal mass is good because a large thermal mass will regulate temperature swings and hold heat. Think of a masonry fireplace, or tile floor heated by the sun through windows. These can hold a significant amount of heat potentially for hours. I dont see these oil filled heaters having anywhere near enough mass to make a difference in this. We are talking what half a pound of fluid against all the stuff in a room, drywall, etc. On the micro scale, we have an individual heater taking a few more minutes to warm up and a few more minutes to cool down. I think this is actually a negative - you cant have it both ways - even if you get a noticeable benefit from the unit cooling off more gradually, the unit will take more time to come up to temperature, and I would say then it is more likely someone will feel cold and turn up the tstat.
      Ethan Brush - East West Electric. NY, WA. MA

      "You can't generalize"

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        #18
        Originally posted by electrofelon View Post

        ... I dont see these oil filled heaters having anywhere near enough mass to make a difference in this. We are talking what half a pound of fluid against all the stuff in a room...
        More like 2-3 gallons of oil-- we're talking baseboard units; they look much like a plumbed radiator, but they're all-electric. About 4-5 feet long, with a loop of copper tubing (3/4" or so?). Granted, compared to the contents of the room, not a lot. But on a cold night, they'll kick on and keep going until the room is toasty! Or, at least enough to keep the plants alive!

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          #19
          I keep my HVAC fan on "on" rather than on "auto". A T-stat can only maintain the temperature where it is located, typically in a hallway, so the fan makes sure the T-stat "knows" the temperature in the rooms where the windows are. Otherwise, the room temps could rise or fall by many degrees waiting for the hall temp to rise or fall one or two degrees. This would create a wider temp swing, leading to a cycle of discomfort, and possibly having to set a temp higher lower than that actually desired.

          Likewise, a baseboard heater can only attempt to maintain the temp where it is located, whether on the unit itself (portable or hard-wired) or on the wall (hard-wired only). A heater with a slower temp swing (thermal inertia) may vary more slowly, or less often, but may not vary less in temp swing unless the T-stat has a smaller on-off offset (hysteresis (?)). The question is whether this translates to a smaller temp swing on the other side of the room. My guess is that it will not make a difference.

          Now, if I was using a typical portable fan-forced heater, I'd rewire it (which I have done) so the fan stays on instead of cycling with the heater. As at home, this definitely translates into a smaller temp swing for the heated parties, and for the same reasons: more consistent conditions and better "sampling" of the heated environment. After all, we are discussing creature comfort in real environments, and not measured experiments under laboratory conditions. As always, your mileage may vary.
          Master Electrician
          Electrical Contractor
          Richmond, VA

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            #20
            I have a portable oil heater for my 25 ft trailer. Its quiet (no fan) and safe. I can set the t-stat to match the heat loss, so there are no temperature swings. There are many fires from electric wall heaters..
            Moderator-Washington State
            Ancora Imparo

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              #21
              191114-2008 EST

              Air temperature is not the whole story.

              If a human has a source of radiant energy impinging on their body, then that human can feel a given warmth level at a lower air temperature than, if just warmed by ambient air and convection heat transfer. By using radiant energy to heat humans the heating BTUs can be reduced for a given comfort level. Not heating up walls, and air as much, and thus less heat loss from the structure.

              The radiant energy can come from anything heated. Thus, an electric resistance can be a radiant source (IR bulbs, a stove coil, a heater with no fan, a plain incandescent bulb).

              An electric space heater with a fan is designed to heat the air, a bathroom heater with no fan is designed to warm you by radiant energy.

              My gas furnace is strictly an on-off servo to control air temperature. Cycling about 6 times per hour in the first plots. My air temperature at the thermostat stays within about 1/2 deg F. See the last plot at http://www.beta-a2.com/wire-1.html . The last plots, P1 and P2, at http://www.beta-a2.com/wire-1_photo.html show a furnace cycle on a different day. Here cycle time is about 3 per hour. Presently I keep the blower on continuously. Was not the case when the above plots were made.

              I could keep the home air temperature lower if I had radiant floor heating, and probably feel more comfortable.

              .







              .

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                #22
                Originally posted by gar View Post
                191114-2008 EST

                Air temperature is not the whole story.
                ...
                ...
                '...

                I could keep the home air temperature lower if I had radiant floor heating, and probably feel more comfortable.
                But you would give up the opportunity to set back the thermostat at night without a very long cooling and reheating lag time. In addition to the potential energy savings, some people are simply more comfortable sleeping in a colder environment.

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                  #23
                  I think i'll stick it out w/ wood stove......~RJ~

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                    #24
                    As my dad would say "put more clothes on!",
                    my house in Central NY we run ceiling fans 24/7 and my programable tstat is on manual, gas forced air.
                    I could see #1 as true to a small part the rest bs.
                    You would need to figure the cost of bringing both masses to x temp then cost of maintaining x temp, then inject the upfront cost into the equation; with only a small square footage the electrical cost wouldn't be that much different. The feel of the air in a closed area would be better with the filled units.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Originally posted by romex jockey View Post
                      I think i'll stick it out w/ wood stove......~RJ~

                      Wood,
                      heats you when you cut it
                      heats you when you split it
                      heats you when you stack it
                      heats you when you move it to burn
                      heats you when you burn it
                      all controlled by opening and closing the doors and windows to the outside
                      Thats a-lot-a heating from wood!

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Originally posted by electrofelon View Post
                        1. Hydronic baseboard heaters maintain balanced room comfort
                        2. Hydronic baseboard heaters increase energy efficiency
                        3. Hydronic baseboard heaters are safer for children and/or pets
                        4. Hydronic baseboard heaters are better for allergy sufferers
                        1: They might be quieter, but maintaining a constant temperature is determined more by the thermostat(s) than by the heaters.
                        2: Total bullshit. Electric resistance heaters are 100% efficient. All of them. No more, no less.
                        3: Do the other kinds pose any hazard? The heating element might operate at a lower temperature but is the cabinet temperature any different?
                        4: The lack of scorched-dust smell might be less annoying but the humidity angle is total bullshit. The humidity in the room is determined by the outdoor humidity, the ventilation rate and the amount of humidity added indoors, not by what kind of heater is in use.
                        There is some truth behind this. Houses with electric resistance heat tend to be better sealed and insulated because E.R. heat is much more expensive to run than gas heat or heat pumps. The reduced ventilation rate results in a higher indoor humidity if no active humidification takes place. Install a humidifier and it's all moot.

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                          #27
                          Originally posted by PaulMmn View Post
                          I have 3 of these along the walls of my living room. They're about 4 or 5 feet long and about 7-8" tall. The stick out from the wall about 2-3".

                          If you remove the front panel (held on with some springy prongs) there's a heating unit that is stuck into a loop of pipe with fins. The heating element heats the liquid in the pipe, which circulates and heats up the whole length.

                          They are a nice, even (dry) heat. There'd only be moisture if you placed a skinny bowl of water on top and let the heat evaporate the water.

                          The temperature is even along the length of the unit. You can touch the top of the radiator and not get burned.

                          I'd agree that #1 is true-- it's an even heat.

                          #2 is anyone's guess. Sounds like the marketing department at work.

                          #3 I'd agree- you're not likely to get burned touching the radiator. It may be uncomfortable to leave your body part touching it, but I don't think you'd get a serious burn.

                          #4 I think this is more marketing. The only fluid involved is sealed inside copper pipes with fins all over them that live inside the housing.

                          One use I've found is to help prevent fires-- any of those candles-in-a-jar that smell nice when burned work just fine sitting on top of the radiator. No flame required. Pumpkin spice, Christmas Tree, and Apple Pie are my favorites.
                          The ones I'm describing are permanently mounted, hard-wired (240 volt, 240 volt thermostat).

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                            #28
                            Ignorant Brit strikes again.
                            What is a hydronic baseboard???

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Originally posted by Besoeker3 View Post
                              Ignorant Brit strikes again.
                              What is a hydronic baseboard???
                              It's an electric heater, about 4-5' long, about 8" tall, about 2-3" deep. It looks like a section of any other baseboard radiator, but is all electric, no moving parts, and not plumbed into a furnace or anything.

                              Mine are fastened to the wall and hard-wired into the electrical system.

                              Inside the unit, heat is provided by a U-shaped copper tube with fins. At the open end of the U, both ends meet in a heater element. The tube is filled with oil or other liquid. Power goes on, the oil heats up, and convection moves the oil through the tube. The whole tube gets hot and heats the room.

                              Search for >hydronic baseboard heater<

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Originally posted by Besoeker3 View Post
                                Ignorant Brit strikes again.
                                What is a hydronic baseboard???

                                Baseboard area where floor meets wall.
                                hydronic tube filled with liquid.
                                like the portable liquid filled heaters, the ones in question are a sealed, no pump, no boiler, just a fin tube in a metal box screwed to the wall about 6" above the floor with 240v controlled by a thermostat .

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