Heating Systems for Small Homes
June 18, 2008, 10:02 am
Filed under: Design, Trades

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.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

What about wood heat for small spaces? Both RAIS and MORSO make units that would appeal to most modernist.


Comment by John Paulsen

John – good point, there are some gorgeous wood burning models out there. However, unless the home is a cabin, I’m not sure a wood burning unit should be the only or primary method of heat with regional and seasonal burning bans becoming more common.

Comment by buildllc

[…] Heating Systems for Small Homes 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 … […]

Pingback by Aeon » Blog Archive » Heating Systems for Small Homes

I like this because you can heat your home and be decrative!

Comment by Tavia

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: