Method to calculate the amount of feet of baseboard heat

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    • #272970
      Avatar photoMasterPlumbers

        What is the method to calculate the amount of feet of baseboard heat, per given room?? Is there a formula
        or some way to figure out how much is enough, and not too much?? Thank you so much!! Have a great day!!

      • #286643
        Avatar photoSylvanLMP

          Yes, to calculate “heat” you should take the following into consideration.

          Find your heat loss by sizing the area in question. How high the ceilings are, how large the room is length times width. How much insulation you have in the walls how many windows? which direction are the windows facing? Type of glass single or vapor barrier, the developed length of the supplying piping and material Cast Iron base board or copper fin (Cheap stuff) fins per inch size (diameter of the piping supplying the heated Steam /water) pounds pressure of the steam as there is something called pressure temperature relationship, more pressure more heat 1 PSI of steam = 216 degrees as opposed to 212 degrees with no pressure (again depending on sea level)

          You can also get more output by raising the steam pressure/water temperature (hydronics) heating to make up for your lack of professional sizing knowledge just in case you should slightly undersize your heating system.

          To find your heat loss you should also take into consideration are the pipes insulated and if so what is the “R” factor or the insulation and can you take these bare pipes into your heating factor? You could go to an IBR school to try to learn this kind of heating calculations OR do like the bum non licensed plumbers/techs do and throw a piece of base board on every out side wall hoping you have enough radiation to cover your heating demands.

          One important factor is to be careful of your “Delta” (return water temperature) as you honestly don’t want water return lower than 15 degrees. thermo shock kills more boilers than lack of maintenance,

          If your running your heating system @ 180 degree’s or more BE VERY CAREFUL of your velocity going through the copper baseboard and piping as the proper design FPS should be 2-3 FPS other wise you will get pitting and erosion problems.

          You should also find your heat loss per room and then decide if you would be better off with a two pipe system with non electric zone valves as opposed to a garbage single loop system type of heating system.

          I am sure you wont have any trouble sizing this heating system as ANYONE legally can install heating in most localities (look at all the heating under slab failures).

          In a few days I hope to have another article out on the pit falls of letting the “techs” use plastic under a slab where no one can ever service it or inspect it BUT hey they have no codes or special SKILLS required like the older generation had.

          I am positive if you go to a local library and study heat loss calculations and various materials YOU will know much more than the average heating guy/gal out there now.

          Heating is relatively simple to install and size (except commercial applications) as there are lots of tricks you can do to make even the worst systems function OK.

          Don’t let the technical aspects scare you as you have just as much skills as most of the non licensed technicians out there now.

          Good luck and don’t worry and believe me there is lots of help out there to help you size your heating system. Take the measurements of each room bring it to a local home center or plumbing supply house and the clerk can help you figure out your heating demands based on degree days in your area. BEWARE of ANYONE who even suggests installing under slab “PLASTIC.” RUN LIKE HELL from them.

          If in doubt HIRE a Licensed Master Plumber and demand to see his/her license.

          Have fun and enjoy

          [Edited by SylvanLMP on 22 May 2000]

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