Poll: Toe Kick Heaters do they work?

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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Toe Kick Heaters

    Question for everyone on this thread who may know the answer:
    We were about to replace our radiator in the kitchen with a toekick heater when we were advised by Turbonics that the toekick MUST be on it's own zone with its own thermostat in order to work properly if you're using it to replace a cast iron radiator. Given that we only have one zone in our house for all radiators, this would add a potentially quite expensive wrinkle into our kitchen remodel plans (going with a toekick was far more cost effective than installing underfloor hydronic heat).

    So I was wondering if any of you with toekick heaters have them installed on their own zone with their own thermostat or if they are working just fine for you w/out taking that step.

    Thank you!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sombreuil_mongrel View Post
    Hi,
    I installed the Myson; it's audible on the boost/hi fan setting, but blends into the background noise on the normal setting. The Hi fan speed also cycles on and off too often; plenty of heat on low anyway. It was an awesome subtraction from the kitchen to lose the 36" wide 400lb chunk of cast iron.
    Casey

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    95

    Default Re: Toe Kick Heaters

    fgnangel,

    Point well taken----hard to answer this for each & every kitchen because each kitchen is different---a larger kitchen with a lot of windows & limited insulation in the walls with a high ceiling is going to be harder to heat than a much smaller kitchen with tight walls & low ceilings; another factor is how hot is the HW being pumped thru the supply piping when it arrives at the kitchen; that's why all these issues have to be run thru a HEAT LOSS CALCULATION for the kitchen to see how many BTUs/hour are needed to keep the kitchen warm; how hot is the HW that is now being pumped thru the supply piping when the boiler comes on----do the "feel with the fingers test" and touch with your fingers the supply & return piping on your present kitchen cast iron rad to see if you're getting good 180 degree water thru there, or if it feels like something much less---if you can't hold your fingers on the pipes for more than a second or two you've got good HW & maybe you can try to get by with just the KSH.

    I think John also has a good point-----I'm a big fan of zone valves for different parts of the house, especially if you have a large kitchen, or the heat you need for the kitchen just isn't making it now---------typical install is a Taco 571/572 zone valve, (you would need 2 of them, one for the kitchen, one for the rest of the house), another T-stat for the kitchen, a step-down xformer---the parts cost is low, but the re-piping of the system from usually a single-pipe loop to 2 separate loops would be the biggest cost, which is for labor.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    3

    Default Re: Toe Kick Heaters

    Thanks much for the reply. Unfortunately I am not a skilled DIY'er (nor is my husband) so we're finding this issue a little difficult to navigate on our own and while I've talked to three different plumbers who specialize in hydronics and working with boiler systems, not one of them has ever actually installed a toekick heater and all three seemed surprised to hear that Turbonics said the Toester would need its own zone. Certainly none of them advised me of that when they initially came to provide an estimate for installing a toekick. So now I feel especially confused and we can't afford to spend a ton of money on labor for re-piping the system.

    The kitchen is 200 sq. feet, with one smallish window and regular height ceilings (i.e. not vaulted, or higher than average.) However the house was built in 1949 and is brick with plaster walls, so I don't believe the walls are super (at all?) insulated. It is not an eat-in kitchen and doesn't have a bar or island, so it's not as if we spend time in there eating our meals or hanging out/entertaining. Therefore, in my unexpert opinion, it feels like overkill to spend the money to create a separate zone for a small kitchen that will only have one toekick heater.

    HOWEVER, if by installing a toekick on the same zone as my other baseboard heaters and cast iron radiators, I am somehow compromising the effectiveness of my entire system, then that's obviously something I would want to know. But I haven't been able to ascertain is if that is the reason why it needs its own zone, or if it's more that if I don't put the toekick on its own zone then I may get a lower heat output in the kitchen than I currently do from the CI radiator. In which case I think I could live with that, as long as I still got some heat.

    Do you have any thoughts? Thanks again!

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    95

    Default Re: Toe Kick Heaters

    fgnangel,

    You have the right to expect that the contractor you hire to install a toekick is experienced & will install something that does the job (adequately heats the kitchen, is not noisy, etc.), & will come back to correct any problems that arise without additional charges; I would continue to call different installers (Yellow Pages, "Heating Contractors", "Heating Equipment, Supplies") until you find one that has installed them before---you have the right to expect that the new TKH will heat the kitchen as well as the present CI radiator does now---I suggested in a previous post that the homeowner turn the heat up & wait 1/2 hour & then quickly touch the kitchen rad in several spots (the touch test)---you're looking for metal so hot that you'll burn your fingers if you leave them on there for more than a second or two----if the rad DOES get that hot, you're in luck---that means that the water temp in the supply pipes & inside the rad is approx 180 degrees & that the kitchen is a good candidate for a quality brand TKH---there are some things the tech you hire can do to modify the HW temp in the supply pipes---a) the "High Limit" temp at the boiler can be raised 15 degrees or so; b) your present T-stat can be easily moved from its present location (Living Room? den?) to a wall in the kitchen---this would force the boiler to keep producing heat until the T-stat in the kitchen is "satisfied" & its contacts open, shutting down the boiler---this can sometimes overheat other rooms in the house, but locating the T-stat in various rooms can often solve the problem without the cost of re-arranging the supply piping.

    It should be noted that cast iron rads, although they are ugly to some & take up a lot of room, are perhaps the BEST way you can heat a room--even if the supply HW is less than 180 degrees; the rad, with all that metal mass, accumulates & stores a tremendous amount of heat---and they will stay hot for an hour or two, continuing to heat the room---it's a quality that no other heat convector can claim---there are the newer stainless steel rads that are attractive enough to be hung on kitchen walls & are very popular in Europe, but they are still very expensive.

    If you continue to have a problem finding a contractor, consult the 2nd option cited in the Yellow Pages (Heating Equipment Houses)---this is NOT Home Depot or Lowes, these are the hydronic parts supply houses that serve the heating industry technicians in your area---ask for the COUNTERMAN---explain what you need to have installed & ask if he can recommend a few heating techs that specialize in this area & leave your name & phone #.
    Last edited by brewster; 04-06-2014 at 11:59 AM.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    1,215

    Default Re: Toe Kick Heaters

    Mine is on the same pipe and as close to the same position as the cast iron one was. There were simply 1/2" risers off the hot water feed, and going back into the line, which eventually returns to the boiler inlet. It's not on a special loop.
    Here is the room:

    And that's it under the sink. The dimensions are 11x17 roughly; 9'9" ceiling, 2x4 stud walls with blown-in rockwool, 2 exterior walls, One original 33"x72" double hung window, one new andersen insulated low-e window, one exterior door (faces north). The heat loss calc said something like 3600 btu/hr.
    Casey
    Last edited by Sombreuil_mongrel; 04-06-2014 at 11:58 AM.
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    95

    Default Re: Toe Kick Heaters

    That's a great-looking, beautiful kitchen, Casey---thanks for the photo!

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    3

    Default Re: Toe Kick Heaters

    Thank you so much for your replies Brewster and Casey. Casey, I really appreciate the picture and your response as I was particularly interested to know if yours was on a separate zone since you mentioned that it was providing plenty of heat for you. Knowing that it is not on its own zone but is still working well for you puts me much more at ease with not creating a separate zone for mine. Also your kitchen is beautiful!

    Brewster, in my area boilers/radiators are pretty uncommon and it appears to be even rarer still that people swap a radiator out for toekick heaters as they boilers and radiators are considered not desirable and most people prefer to get rid of the whole boiler system altogether and change to forced air. We were advised to do that several times by a variety of people when we bought our house several months ago, however, we love our radiators and have no plans to eliminate them, just need an alternate option for the kitchen.

    re: the touch test you mentioned, I forgot to respond to that earlier, but yes, my radiators, while not the steam variety, do get very hot to the point where you would not want to rest your hand on there for longer than a couple of seconds.

    So based on the advice I've received here, I think I will proceed with getting the toekick and not putting it on its own zone.

    Thank you!

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