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Toe kick off of DHW?

PatrickNorth Member Posts: 22
edited January 2022 in Radiant Heating
Hi all,
Not sure if this is the right section to post...
I have one pipe steam but am preparing for a kitchen renovation and would like to add some supplemental heat.
Other reno will include adding a hot water recirculating pump to keep hot water nearer to distant fixtures. I was thinking I could exploit this by running a low temp toe kick hydronic unit.
  • Should monoflow t's be used to draw water from the recirc line? Does this depend on flow rate of the recirc pump?
  • Any preferred brand of heater?
  • And... though several manufacturers say this CAN be done, I'm just not seeing info out there. Is this a bad idea?


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,519
    It can be done. Rather creative, in fact! However, you may not get all that much heat out of it -- your domestic hot water at the faucet shouldn't be over 110, so unless the recirculatioin feed is hotter and your tempering valve is at the sink, you're not getting heating hot water.

    I'd pipe it directly is series on the return from the faucet. No need to get fancier than that.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,430
    If you open yourself up to the idea of adding a hot water loop off the steam boiler, you would have a whole bunch of solutions, including radiant floors.

    For me it's really a question of how much heat and comfort you want/need and how much money you want to budget for it.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • PatrickNorth
    PatrickNorth Member Posts: 22
    Hello both,
    A little more background. The extra heat won't strictly be necessary, just nice. In renovating the kitchen I replaced a more contemporary CI rad with a more historically appropriate- and waaaay cooler- "dining room radiator" with a "warming oven." I'm noticing a little drop in heat output, but that's the price of fashion!
    In other words, a low temp hydronic toe kick is just gravy- I definitely won't be relying on it as primary heat for the room, and it's fine if the output is small.
    My options for local steam pros is VERY limited, and regardless I am not motivated to pursue the expense of running a hot water loop off of my steamer. Really no budget for in floor hydronic, no room for additional baseboard. I was thinking that with the hot water recirculator already in the mix, just adding in a toe kick would be inexpensive and I'll be happy with whatever (probably minimal) heat I can get.
  • Jon_blaney
    Jon_blaney Member Posts: 313
    Recirculation pumps can use significant electricity. I turned mine off because of the cost.

    I believe recirculation system circulate at tank temperature. There needs to be a pressure drop for the cold water to mix in.

    The plumbing is not the problem, it is the control system that need to be work out.
  • PatrickNorth
    PatrickNorth Member Posts: 22
    The recirc pumps I've used in the past worked with a thermostat at the pump and (optionally) a timer if, say, you weren't concerned with having instantaneous hot water at 2am. The kick space heaters I've looked at use a thermocouple to detect water temp but also allow for the addition of a wall thermostat.
    Add that all up and I'm imagining the kickspace heater operating only during waking hours when the kitchen ambient temp is below the temp set for the main (steam boiler) thermostat, and that works for me in this situation.