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Electric radiant to supplement steam

HarryL Member Posts: 59
We have a two story 1927 home with a one pipe steam system. The previous owners remodeled the kitchen about 30 years ago and removed a radiator from the kitchen that had 33 EDR. It was where a sliding door to the deck now exists. The radiator is in the garage. There is a small 1/2 bath off the kitchen that has a 19 EDR radiator. The door is usually open so it helps a bit but generally the kitchen is a bit cool in the winter, especially on the coldest of days and nights. We replaced the boiler about 10 years ago and it seems to be sized for the current radiators. The attached shows the locations of the radiators on the first floor and the thermostat (first floor is 95 EDR excl the small radiator in the 1/2 bath). There are no doors between any of these rooms so that probably helps with air circulation, helping to balance the kitchen. The basement is cool in the winter, around 55-60 degrees except when it is in the teens outside then it is down in closer to 48-50, but that doesn't happen too often. The floor below the living room is insulated from below but the rest of the flooring on the first floor is not insulated. The floors are all red oak. The kitchen had a new wood floor laid over the top of the original when the previous owners remodeled.

We are now looking to remodel and we may pull up the floor in the kitchen as it has some damage and we are going to be moving the bath but leaving the wall between the kitchen and dining room. We plan to replace with red oak.

If we do pull up the old floor, I was wondering if it would make sense to put radiant electric under it as supplement. Or is there a small hydronic system suitable for one room? Since the first floor is mostly warm enough from the steam, I was thinking that the radiant would only need to run on colder days so maybe electric bills wouldn't be too bad. On the other hand, I was wondering if during the boiler's downtime and before the steam radiators get hot again, if the radiant would be trying to heat the whole first floor and confuse the thermostat in the dining room. Along with whatever else I might be missing.


Home owner, 1927 2-story, single family
1 pipe Burnham IN4I, Boston area


  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,128
    edited March 2021
    You could run a hot water loop using the water in the steam boiler to heat an under cabinet heater for the kitchen. here is a picture of that type of heater

    Kickspace Heaters
    Is your kitchen area not as warm and comfortable as you’d like? Are you tired of stepping on a cold bathroom floor? Look no further than the Twin-Flo III.

    Our compact solution is designed to fit easily within the toe-space of your kitchen or bathroom cabinets – floor and wall options are available as well.

    Our system is made with pride in the USA and is guaranteed to provide you with years of comfort.

    Here is an article on how the pipe the water loop to your steam boiler. There are several ways to do this. Some less expensive, Some more expensive.

    Yours truly,

    At about the 9th question down the list is where the discussion starts on how to do it the inexpensive way

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • HarryL
    HarryL Member Posts: 59
    @EdTheHeaterMan Thanks. I'll take a look.
    Home owner, 1927 2-story, single family
    1 pipe Burnham IN4I, Boston area
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,904
    Most of our customers find these toe-kick heaters to be less than satisfactory. Electric radiant is more expensive to run than gas or oil in most areas- and when it fails, you have to take up the floor to fix it.

    Find a place to put a radiator. This will probably cause the remodeling contractor to have a hissy fit, but that's their problem. You have to live with it, they don't.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 355
    It looks like there are a couple places a radiator could be tucked in to your kitchen discreetly (possibly even incorporated into cabinetry with open grills on the doors for example.