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Sunday, June 21, 2015

How NOT To Heat Your Kitchen

In my former home, we had a large "country kitchen" and baseboard heating.  For those not familiar with baseboard heating, hot water is passed through a pipe and at various locations these pipes go through elements like the one shown.  Eventually the water goes back to the furnace and round and round it goes.   There's always some loss of energy for the parts of the pipes that don't go through elements, so the shorter the loop the more efficient.  In most floor plans, this means a single loop around the outside walls of the house.  


Well in that home, our kitchen was a large 14' x 28' room with roughly 8' of outside wall on one end (the breakfast nook).  The rest of the outside wall had cabinets and appliances, as did the only other wall that would have made sense to put a heating unit on.   There were also three large openings to the room -- one to the vaulted ceiling entryway, large arch to the dining room, and a floor to ceiling passthrough to a family room -- and two doors to other rooms.  All of this to describe the fact that the kitchen was somewhat inadequately heated by the baseboard system when the outside temperature dropped below around 35 °F (~ 2°C).  Any residual heat that might have come in from adjacent rooms was somewhat negated by the cooler entryway, especially on particularly cold days. 

And so, under the center island cabinet, the builders installed a kick-plate heater.  The kick-plate heater had its own thermostat.  If it wasn't too cold outside, we were using the stove, or somesuch, the heater may have come on a few times when we turned down the heat at night, or perhaps not even at all.  If it was a very cold day, that thing came on periodically pretty much constantly.  I would guesstimate it provided as much as 30% of the heat to the kitchen.  When the central baseboard system provided less heat, that heater provided more of it.  

So I had this brilliant idea!  The kick plate heater does such a nice job of helping to heat my kitchen.  It works more when the baseboard heat is low.  So I decided I should turn the baseboard thermostat down to 55 °F (~ 13 °C) so the kickplate heater can really heat that kitchen!


What?  That doesn't make sense?  

1 comment:

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