Most of the projects we work on incorporate forced air heating systems. But these systems aren’t always the most effective solution for heating a home because they require a furnace and ducting. Furnaces are big and expensive, ducting requires labor and space. If the floor area is less than ~1500 square feet, forced air isn’t cost effective or space effective. We’ve been doing quite a bit of research into alternative heating systems for smaller spaces and, as always, the Europeans are several steps ahead. We’ll look at two systems in today’s post:

Electric Baseboard Heating Systems: We know what you’re thinking – but the systems we’ve tracked down aren’t the flimsy, unsightly baseboard heaters you used to have above the shag carpet in that college rental house. Modern electric baseboard heaters are effective in smaller spaces because they do not require a boiler, furnace, or ducting – just an electrical line which is typically 120 or 240 volts. A thermostat located in each room allows for more temperature variation within a home and quicker heat response time. The U.S. Department of Energy website describes the mechanics of electric baseboard heat best:

“Baseboard heaters contain electric heating elements encased in metal pipes. The pipes, surrounded by aluminum fins to aid heat transfer, run the length of the baseboard heater’s housing, or cabinet. As air within the heater is warmed, it rises into the room, and cooler air is drawn into the bottom of the heater. Baseboard heaters are usually installed underneath windows. There, the heater’s rising warm air counteracts falling cool air from the cold window glass.”

OMB & OHB by Ouellet Electric Heating

ODIA & ODBA by Ouellet Electric Heating

Thermodul Electric system by Dryzone
The perimeter heaters become the base trim in the room

Radiant Hot Water Baseboard and Wall Systems: If you’re picturing grandmas two-hundred pound cast-iron radiator, encrusted with high-relief acanthus leaves, stay tuned. These are typically closed loop systems where a plumbing supply line carries hot water from the heat source to the radiator, the water radiates the heat and the plumbing line carries the cooled water back to the heat source to be re-circulated. The heat source is typically a gas or electric powered boiler or hot water heater, circulation occurs by means of a pump or convection. The panel and tube systems come in a wide variety of sizes and are moderately flexible in terms of location – limited only by the plumbing lines. The thermostat is typically located on or near the panel itself, temperatures are typically lower and the units do not present the fire hazard of electric systems. Variations of hot water systems include towel warmers and profiles which mimic architectural base trim.

Honeycomb & Zephyr Hydronic systems by Aeon

Millennium & Octet Hydronic systems by Aeon

Xeno & Talus Hydronic systems by Aeon

Planet Hydronic system by Tubes

Square Hydronic system by Tubes

UF Series Hydronic system by Runtal

Dualis Plus Hydronic system by Zehnder

Yucca Star Hydronic system by Zehnder

Charleston Hydronic system by Zehnder

Projectclima Hydronic system
An ecological product that uses recyclable tiles which the user can arrange in any configuration. They produce a variety of colors and sizes with the option of printing your own pictures onto the tiles.

Steamview by Steam Radiators

Slimline Radiant Base Heater Hydronic system by Radtech 2000
The perimeter heaters become the base trim of the room
hey Radtech – how ’bout getting some photos up on your website that are as clean and crisp as your product.