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Old 10-22-2008, 11:09 AM   #1
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Putting baseboard heaters on interior walls instead of exterior?

Virtually every house with baseboard heaters that I've been into has the heaters along the exterior walls.

However, since heat is lost through exterior surfaces (including walls and windows), and since the amount of heat transfer is proportional to the temperature difference (i.e. cold walls transfer less heat to the outdoors than hot walls), shouldn't baseboard heaters be placed along *interior* walls in the rooms instead of exterior walls?

I understand about drafts and whatnot, but most modern houses (especially those with good caulking and film over the windows, etc.) have pretty minimal drafts, and besides I don't put my chairs or beds directly near those drafty places anyhow... (do you?)

-Bob C.
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:52 AM   #2
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you would be surprised by how uncomfortable that is with hot and cold spots.

its like houses with radiators, certain parts of rooms get toasty while others get unbearably cold. the drafty areas will get worse.
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Old 10-23-2008, 12:16 PM   #3
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Yes, the baseboard heaters are placed on outside walls for maximum comfort, otherwise the areas near outside walls would be really cold, and the inside walls would be quite toasty. I'd consider replacing baseboard heaters with another thype of heating system anyway. Baseboard heat (especially electric) is woefully innefficient and expensive. I once rented a house with electric baseboard heat. A simple 3 bedroom, split level house. I was shocked to find out that the rent was only $1,400 so I jumped on it. Come winter I found out that the electric bill was nearly $700, and that was with keeping the heat on 55F. The neighbor had the same house, but converted to an electric heap pump for heat, and their electric bill was 1/3 the cost, and their house was much more comfortable.

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Old 10-23-2008, 12:49 PM   #4
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I like your thinking, but as others have said, the outsides edges of the rooms would be extra cold.

I have always thought that the most energy efficient houses would have closets on the exterior walls for the same reason- keep the heated air away from the cold outside walls.

But, I think extra attic insulation would be the most practical/aesthetic/cost effective solution.
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:37 PM   #5
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Or thicker/more insulation in the walls. My house is pretty inefficient for a tiny home so I am just assuming the walls are very narrow (they're really narrow, like <5") and don't have much insulation. My best thought would be to get some good, slow rise, spray foam. I found 2 different suppliers and can find them again if people are interested. The stuff had an R value of 7/inch, that is for a 4-5" thick exterior wall in the end you'd have 28-35R value! Plus it full seals all drafts because it'll make a solid foam layer.

Of course the stuff was pretty pricey, I think it was $600 for enough to do 650 foot-boards (which I think were 12"x12"x1", maybe 12"x12"x4"). Either way I remember when I calculated doing my 2 main exterior walls (living room) and the entire attic it would be about $1000 for my small house and it'd probably take me 3-5 winters to recoup that cost and I'm planning to move out in 1-2 years so, meh.
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Old 10-23-2008, 05:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thisisntjared View Post
you would be surprised by how uncomfortable that is with hot and cold spots.
My home has electric baseboard heaters. In one room, the heater is actually along an interior wall, and we have one chair next to a sliding glass door. The room is actually equally comfortable no matter where we sit or stand.

If I had drafts that were as bad as breezes, then I guess I could see that. But it would take a pretty good draft before it would cause discomfort from what I can imagine.

-BC
(BTW I know electric is pretty bad, but we do pretty good)
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:53 PM   #7
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If you pick up an IR Heat temperature gun and go outside on a cold night you will be able to measure the outside of the house and see where the heat is leaking right through the walls. I even picked up the heat from the back of a fridge in my friends house. The higher the reading the more heat that is leaking out. The best thing to do is to add some reflective aluminum foil between the back of the baseboard heaters and wall to reflect more of the IR heat into the room. Placing the heater below a window also radiates almost all of the heat right outside too.
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobc455 View Post
My home has electric baseboard heaters. In one room, the heater is actually along an interior wall, and we have one chair next to a sliding glass door. The room is actually equally comfortable no matter where we sit or stand.

If I had drafts that were as bad as breezes, then I guess I could see that. But it would take a pretty good draft before it would cause discomfort from what I can imagine.

-BC
(BTW I know electric is pretty bad, but we do pretty good)
are there any heaters on outside walls?
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:02 AM   #9
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are there any heaters on outside walls?
In most rooms, yes. But the room I mentioned is our living room, which has a slider along the outside wall and therefore can't accommodate a baseboard heater. Even with the slider (which has quite a bit of glass obviously), there are virtually no noticeable drafts in the room. We spend a lot of time sitting, so it would be noticeable if there were drafts.

-BC
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