Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC radiant heat in bathroom floor, heated towel bar, hot water

Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC radiant heat in bathroom floor, heated towel bar, hot water

Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC /radiant heat in bathroom floor




Remember us? You switched the steam boiler to hot water in our Capitol Hill rowhouse over 5 years ago. It works so well that we feel you are the *only* person who can definitively answer our heating questions!

Now we’re re-doing out upstair bathroom which is about 6′ x 6 1/2′ and would like to use either radiant heat in the floor or heated towel bar. We’re getting conflicting info. from the contractors who have given us bids. One says the hot water in the floor would be too hot and uncomfortable on the feet, the other says it should be ok. What do you think?

If the floor is not good, would a towel bar with hot water running through it be enough to heat the bathroom?

Thanks! Cathy & John

ANSWER: Wow, Small world. I think about your family, and the job when I am in that part of town. Nearly everything went as planned. That is a good thing. Would you say it was less costly to run the hot water system compared to the steam system (if it is possible to figure in the increase in fuel costs over the last 5-6 years?

Whatever you put in the floor, it should be individually controlled. (Electric or water radiant) You can also have success with heat in the ceiling—then you could insulate it well above in the «attic?» if you have one. Towel bars are nice, and they can be electric or water.

How much renovation are you doing below the bathroom?

QUESTION: What a great service this is! We are completely renovating the bathroom — tearing everything out — but only the bathroom — nothing below it.

Do you think the hot water towel bar would give enough heat or would we need an additional source?

We’d like to try to stick to using hot water whichever way we’d go (towel bar or floor) b/c we’re thinking that is more efficient.

As for your first question — our gas bills are definitely lower than before you made the change — and were the 1st winter after you did it. Its also completely silent and I remember that the steam system was pretty noisy. We have no regrets!

Thanks again,



I have rfh in our master bath. It was expensive, and allot of work, and I can still feel where the pipes are when it operates—but I am of course looking for these. And this is with tile. I used a board product with precut grooves for the pipe. In retrospect, I would have gotten similar performance from electric radiant in the floor. The board underlayment did have the effect of strengthening the floor. As a result we have had no problems with cracked tiles, or failed grout.

I would advise against hydronic floor heat unless you are running a separate zone from the boiler with an individual control. The reason is you can overheat the floor using the temperature of water that can be in your radiators. The other problem can be flow. Your large radiators all have very low resistance to flow. If the rfh has a greater resistance, then you can have low, or no flow. Getting the air out of it could be a nightmare. Talented installers have gotten good results putting the pipe into a radiant wall. $

www.smithsenvironmental.com/ ) Your contractor can buy these products locally if they are what you choose. I don’t do contracting work, sorry.

The other option would be electric floor, with a towel warmer, or panel type baseboard. If you use the same pipes that are currently on the bathroom radiator it should be OK—but no way to guarantee the flow through the radiator.

You can never have too much dry heat in a bathroom in the winter.

How soon before you begin the demolition?

I don’t know this contractor, but his website has illustrations of wall heat.

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