Is Your Baseboard Heater or Radiator Making You Crazy?

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel,

I love your blog; it has helped me out on many occasions, most recently on paint color choices. I have been looking for a solution to our very ugly baseboard heater covers and haven’t seen anything online that I find attractive…but maybe it’s just one of those things for which there are only “less ugly” alternatives. Do you have any recommendations?

All best to you,

Susan

 

***

 

Thanks so much Susan. And, no, I really don’t have any recommendations for a baseboard heater alternative. Sorry.

 

But, that’s not what I actually said to her.

What really happened is this: I didn’t say anything until after I had fallen down an entire-afternoon-rabbit-hole of baseboard heater curiosity a couple of weekends ago.

 

Ya know… I love it when you guys ask me questions on an interior design topic I know little about.

 

Oh, I can probably help you with an attractive radiator cover.

 

bronxville-white on white dove paint color bathroom-detail-radiator cover- custom designed - LBI - Architectural Grille

 

Remember this one I designed back in 2014? It was for this bathroom in Bronxville.

This time, I lucked out. The heating system was already recessed into the wall. The contractor did a superb job of creating my vision.

 

The part I’m struggling with is the actual HEAT. The heating system.

 

That is definitely not my area of expertise. And, there are so many variables. Plus, you might be stuck with what you already have.

Realistically speaking, it may be prohibitively expensive to make a big change; or, even impossible.

For instance. I live in an old apartment building. And, there is no option but to have a not very attractive radiator. At least, as far as I know.

 

christmas decorations that don

Here, you can see one of my radiators in my living room. There’s one more in the bedroom. So far, as you can see, it’s just kind of there. But, there’s a settee in front of it normally. So, you don’t see it. Problem solved. :]

 

But, there’s one more source of heat and it’s not a radiator or a baseboard heater.

 

It’s a floor-to-ceiling pipe in my teensy-weensy bathroom. This was back in May 2017 when I was pretending to look surprised.

On a day such as today which is FREEZING, this pipe becomes scaldingly HOT. And, it is only 32″ away (as the cockroach flies) ;] from the vanity.

Yes, I know that cockroaches don’t fly.

(note, after publishing. apparently, there is a type of cockroach in the south that does fly.)

 

However, do you have any idea how many times I’ve burned my ass reaching to get something out of my horrid vanity?

 

Do you?

Me neither. And please stop laughing at the thought of me scorching my ass.

And no, the look of surprise was not because I burned myself on that occasion. (The May 2017 link above explains why. And, you’ll get to see more that I don’t know.)

Fortunately, until yesterday, it’s been one of the most mild winters ever with average highs in the upper 40s. Crazy warm for a New York winter. Average highs are usually a good 20 degrees colder than that.

 

However, now that it’s finally winter, I need to be mindful of that horrid pipe.

 

The point is, of course, that most of us, no matter where we are in the US have to heat our homes at least part of the year.

And most of us do not have radiant floor heating. If you do have it or have experienced it, it is quite sublime, I think. But, it’s super expensive to install.

Many of us have a forced air system. That requires a furnace, usually in the basement. Or, we might have an HVAC (heating, venting, air-conditioning) pump outdoors. We had one of those babies outside our old townhouse.

It was okay. We went through three of them in 22 years. That’s because the first two were a POS. And, also because in northern Westchester County, strictly speaking, the climate is too cold for such a system. However, one advantage is that a heat pump can both heat and cool the home.

 

But, many of us in older homes and apartments have an ugly radiator.

 

ugly metal baseboard heater

Or, actually worse, sometimes, is an ugly baseboard heater.

 

The latter is particularly bad because they stick out 4″ – 6″ and they are from about 6″ to 9″ tall.

Not only are they unsightly, but putting furniture in front of them is impossible. I’ve worked on some homes built in the 60s where practically every wall has one of these babies at its base. Sometimes some of them can be yanked out or made smaller. But, that’s definitely a job for a pro!

The very worst is if they are electric. Really horrible and you absolutely cannot have anything touching your electric baseboard heater. And, curtains need to be several inches away.

 

baseboard heater - no flood length curtains please

ummm… no. No flood-length curtains please.

In this case, I would not do anything other than blinds

or Roman Shades.

 

So, let’s review the issues with both the radiator and baseboard heating systems from a practical and aesthetic point of view.

 

The old steam radiators from 100 years ago are bulky and pretty unsightly. In addition, they are usually sticking out into the room.   Therefore, putting drapes that will close is not an option.

However, if the radiator can be recessed under a deep sill, then the problem is solved.

 

radiator under deep window sill via - Fantastic Frankradiator under deep window sill via – Fantastic Frank

 

But, here’s an idea that I have.

 

My favorite windows are large and are deeply recessed with interior shutters. Or, at least a shutter look. Many of these are from the Georgian period of architecture.

 

Classic Homes Adam Architecture Bighton Grange -George Saumarez Smith drawing room window detail garden
You may recall this image that I took 2.5 years ago on my trip to England. This exquisite home in the English countryside was designed by George Saumarez Smith of Adam Architecture.

I learned just today that this type of window is called “embrasured.” It’s when the opening is splayed like this.

In fact, here you can see that there’s a heating system built into the window pocket to make for a window seat.

 

Let’s look at a few more windows of this style.

 

embrasured window - Georgian architecture

Beautiful Georgian window with a window seat. (original source unknown)

Although, this window does not appear to be splayed.

But, there could easily be a radiator underneath this window.

 

Greet LeFevre - Belgian Pearls - window with deep recess

Greet LeFevre – Belgian Pearls – window with deep recess. How beautiful is this!

And, I do believe that it is a radiator as I see some slits at the top.

 

lb-Brooklyn-An-Architects-Delight-architectural radiator cover

lb-Brooklyn-An-Architects

This is so beautifully integrated!

 

Built in radiator cover - stunning contemporary living room

Built in radiator cover – stunning contemporary living room.

You can see the entire home here.

 

You see, it might be possible to build the wall out.

 

I don’t know if it was here or not. But, if the room is large enough, maybe it would work?

 

I love this!

 

integrated TV into built-in radiator cover

And, look what pops up in the middle of it all. How fabulous is that!

 

Radiatorbekleding | Quinterieur - radiator covers

Radiatorbekleding | Quinterieur

 

Above and below are some gorgeous radiator covers. They made them an architectural feature which is absolutely fine. But, in my opinion, not with the window sill length curtains. Some might disagree with me. And, these aren’t terrible. I just prefer floor-length curtains.

But, there is a solution along with the same idea as in the previous room.

 

Radiatorbekleding | Quinterieur - radiator cover - alcove

Radiatorbekleding | Quinterieur

 

And, that is,  why not build the wall out to meet the radiator? That alcove  between the two radiator covers is not serving any purpose. That way, if one wanted to put up draperies, they could do so.

In fact, there are many situations where we could build the wall out so that either the radiator or the baseboard heater does not stick out any further than necessary.

 

via House & Garden - DeVOL kitchen - radiator - embrasured window

Here’s one more in a DeVOL kitchen via House & Garden and underneath the deep window sill is a low radiator.

And, then a lovely embrasured window.

 

But, what if that radiator was in front of the window that did not have the recess originally?

 

Again, the wall could’ve been built out. There could even be built-in storage on the wall next to the window.

In the meantime, the radiator is tucked away. And there could maybe even be an attractive grille over the front of it.

 

Okay, it’s time to move onto the ugly baseboard heater. Hopefully we can come up with something better than those horrid things from the 1960s.

 

There are two main types of baseboard heaters. One is an electric convection heater. These are always underneath a window. These types have limited covers that look better. But, there is one company that at least is making a baseboard heater cover that looks better.

 

But, to be honest, when it comes to baseboard heating, I’m no expert.

 

I realize that might sound lame.

However, whenever I was working on a job, I always worked with the best trades people I could find. Or, that my clients could find. Then, we would discuss options.

It’s a lot like being an internist. They’re doctors but they aren’t going to operate on your brain or do open heart surgery.

So, I’m not going to lay your bricks or advise you on heating systems.

 

I’m only going to try and help you make them look pretty. But, of course, we  need to keep everything functioning optimally and safely.

 

However, I know that some of you might know more than me in this area. So, we’ll use this post as something of a workshop for us all.

 

baseboarders - before-and-after-rusty-baseboard-coverbaseboarders – before-and-after-rusty-baseboard-cover

 

The most common baseboard heater systems are called a hydronic baseboard heater. That is a system that uses water. They are safer to use.

 

runtal-electric-baseboard-heater

 

In fact, this company, Runtal, whose products are shown above, makes a sleek, stylish baseboard heater. This would be terrific in an urban home, I think. They say that it’s fine to put your curtains in front of their heaters. They don’t use water. There’s a whole thing on their website that explains how they work.

Yawn… I’m fine. I don’t need to know how they work. Just keep me warm and look pretty.

And no. That is not a come on.

Unless you’d like it to be. ;]

Sorry, it’s late.

 

charleston-install - Runtal steam radiator
Runtal also has a sister company that makes a very sleek steam radiator as shown above.  And, they make other heating panels and radiators that can go anywhere on the wall.

 

curtains over baseboard heaters

There is often an issue with curtains over the baseboard heaters. As long as the baseboard doesn’t get hot enough to combust, you should be okay. Of course, you don’t want to block the heat.

If you live in an area where it’s very cold and they are on for months at a time and you need privacy, or light control. I would augment with window shades or blinds of some sort.

The other issue is that the baseboard heater often sticks out too far. There’s only so far out the rod can project. I would not have it project out from the wall more than 9″ at the most. But, that’s super deep. I don’t think I’ve ever done more than 7 inches.

 

Are there some attractive baseboard heater solutions?

 

Yes, I found one company in particular which makes some gorgeous custom hydronic baseboard heater covers.

The company is Sunrise Woodwork.

Below is a selection of some of my favorites. However, there are many more examples on their website.

 

Sunrise Baseboard heater integrated into mouldings

Wow! You barely even notice that this is a baseboard heater.

 

Baseboard-Heat-Covers-sunrise woodworking

And, it looks like it’s only projecting not more than 3″ from the wall. Although, it’s difficult to tell that for sure.

 

Sunrise Woodworking - integrated baseboard heating - wainscoting

Love how they integrated the baseboard heater into this panel moulding wainscot.

 

Baseboard-Heat-Covers-sunrisewoodwork.com - hide ugly baseboaord heater
Beautiful and sleek.

 

baseboard heater integrated into architecture

And one last image of a beautiful curved  window.

 

Has anyone done anything like this to hide their baseboard heater?

 

And, if so, please share anything pertinent we need to know. And, sources, too!

Well, I hope gave you some ideas for hiding an ugly radiator; or, unsightly metallic baseboard heater.

xo,

 

 

PS: Please check out the spectacular and newly update HOT SALES for President’s Weekend!

 

***Please also consider purchasing my new 333 Hard to Find Rules & Tips You Need to Know Guide. It’s only $49.00 (for the time being) and over 200 pages filled with my best advice.!*** (please note this is a PDF file that gets downloaded to your computer.)***

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Tracey - March 6, 2020 - 9:36 AM

    hi Another One!
    we recently acquired my inlaws cedar lakehouse. it has baseboard heathers and a propane stove (that looks like a wood stove). We aren’t there much, so we have the baseboards turned to 10C
    and the propane stove to 15C (we are in Ontario) and those temps just keep the place from freezing. But, our hydro bill has been 350.00 a month!! a lot of the baseboard heaters are actually turned to zero. I called Hydro Ontario and they claim the draw from baseboard heaters is high, even when they are off. is this your experience. Thank you for the link to Stelpro. We need to at least replace the 40yr ones we have now. And, i’m planning on painting the baseboards Simply White as well. thanks for you comment!ReplyCancel

  • Sheree L - February 18, 2020 - 5:59 PM

    I think I’d take the flying roaches over what we have in the Phoenix area – scorpions and centipedes. They are scary and they both sting! Also, our air vents are in the ceiling which is super convenient for decorating purposes. That’s because we hardly need heaters, but we do need lots of air conditioning! So vents in the ceiling make more sense. I did used to live “back east” growing up, though, and I remember having radiators and baseboard heating.ReplyCancel

  • Biodynamic Barb - February 18, 2020 - 4:44 PM

    What a great post, Laurel! You almost make me wish we had radiators. We have a gas fired furnace/AC and floor vents, which are pretty unobtrusive, EXCEPT there is one in front of EVERY window and door, which is where I would normally put a plant, but I can’t because they all die either from the hot air or the cold air. I’ve used airflow redirectors on some of them but they’re pretty ugly. So…most of our plants are faux.ReplyCancel

  • Carol - February 18, 2020 - 8:57 AM

    Hi Laurel.. I can’t relate to radiators or baseboard heat as we don’t have them here in CA or at least as far as I know. Got a kick out of all the talk about roaches. Never saw one in my life until we moved to Tucson. We bought a nice house and as we were moving in my 13yr old daughter opened a hall closet door where the heat/ac is and she started screaming & laughing there were roaches everywhere. I went running down the hall and see what was going on…about had a heart attack. Don’t remember if they flew but they sure do in Hawaii where we moved next. I hate them!! A fun read at 4:40am lolReplyCancel

  • Amy - February 17, 2020 - 12:34 PM

    Laurel, have you ever considered wrapping your steam pipe in rope and then maybe covering that with a pretty decorative cord? I know the rope thing is something people often do in this situation, and this way it could blend better with your lovely mirror, etc. No burn hazards at Laurel’s place, please, she is too precious to take risks with!ReplyCancel

  • Tom Andreas - February 17, 2020 - 7:38 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    Thanks for showcasing my wood baseboard heater covers. Like you when one of my clients first asked me about covering their ugly metal covers I did not know a lot about it and I had to research it a bit.
    It was time well spent, because as it turns out there are lots of people who really want to dress up their old metal baseboard heaters. I have done my best to make it easy for people to get beautiful, custom heater covers that will add beauty and enjoyment to their home.
    Leaving aside aesthetic concerns, the important thing to keep in mind if you want to maintain heating efficiency is that baseboard heaters work differently than radiators. Radiators as the name implies radiate heat outward and do not rely entirely on air flow or convection. When you box in a radiator you stop the heat from radiating outward and you are only left with the air flow, which is secondary. Baseboard heaters on the other hand rely almost entirely on convection not radiation. Air must flow in at the bottom and out at, or near the top. As long as convective air flow is preserved you will not lose much heat flow if they are enclosed.
    In order to do this properly they must have adequately sized openings, and just as important they must be tall enough. They are basically little chimneys, and the air will not flow properly if they are too short. That is why they are usually 7″ to 10″ high even though the heating fins are usually only 4″ above the floor.

    Also, I have had customers ask me to replace wood covers which are designed with an open grill on the entire front, but not on top. They tell me they do not heat the room. Again they will not work like a chimney and without air flow most of the heat stays in the hot pipe flowing around in the boiler loop and never getting out into the room.

    I hope this helps understand this better, and thanks again for the mention in your blog post. I enjoyed the post and your wonderful site as well.

    tom andreas – owner, craftman at sunrisewoodwork.comReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 17, 2020 - 9:50 AM

      Thanks so much for the thorough explanation Tom. Your baseboard heating covers are gorgeous! And, of course, are designed to be functional, as well.ReplyCancel

  • GL - February 17, 2020 - 4:27 AM

    I’m a bit surprised at the comment(s) on radiant underfloor heating. We have this installed upstairs (the technology didn’t exist in time for the first renovation in 1981, but did in 1996 for phase 2).
    It is an all-electric system, with the cables installed on top of insulation, and then the floor finished with a thin layer of liquid self-levelling concrete. The thermostats in the different zones react very rapidly, so instant control.
    The result is an invisible system. The other condition for this is full mechanical ventilation. And ventilation is the only solution to condensation problems — vinyl window frames aren’t supposed to be very long-lived.ReplyCancel

  • Kate - February 16, 2020 - 10:37 PM

    Oh my goodness! My fourth grade teacher was Mrs. Roach, in Houston, TX. I wonder if we had the same wonderful teacher?!ReplyCancel

  • Kate Adams - February 16, 2020 - 10:28 PM

    Funny you should blog about this, Laurel – I just wrote “baseboard heater covers” on my Living Room planning board last week.

    Thanks, by the way, for all your practical information. I open magazines or visit glossy sites and pine for what’ll never be. And then I visit your blog and see beautiful images of regular homes like mine, complete with how-to guidance.

    Sunrise Woodwork’s product looks gorgeous! – but alas, not for my house. I have a 1979’er with no moulding. I’m planning to buy my covers at https://dozercompany.com/product/classic-style-baseboard-heater-cover/. They’re so much prettier than the 40 yr old ones I’ve got now.ReplyCancel

  • Monique - February 16, 2020 - 7:52 PM

    I just finished a remodel on 2 condos in Chicago. The units hadn’t been touched in 30 years!! We updated the baseboard heaters with http://www.cover-luxe.com Worth it! Well priced and the finished product is really nice.ReplyCancel

  • Tina - February 16, 2020 - 6:43 PM

    My old house had radiant heating, it was wonderful except you couldn’t have hardwood floors, they would pop out. I had tile floors and rugs in the bedroom. I miss it. My house that I am living in now has baseboard heat, they’re in front of my windows, so no beautiful curtains for me.
    I loved radiant heat. It’s the best. Only thing I miss from my old house.ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - February 16, 2020 - 6:17 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I guess no system is perfect. I have forced air heat. It’s very dry. A couple of years ago my husband added a humidifier to our furnace & that’s helped. But now we get a wee bit of condensation around the windows & it’s causing the paint to chip off. So now we’re looking into replacing the 20 year old windows with new vinyl ones.
    Forced air is dirty also. Before we replaced our carpet with hardwoods, the carpets were always filthy around the baseboards.
    I’ve heard getting your ducts cleaned helps but my husband thinks it’s easy to be scammed by those companies. It’s always something!ReplyCancel

  • Nick Baylis - February 16, 2020 - 5:51 PM

    Hey Laurel and Susan

    My name’s Nick and my company Castrads makes bougie radiators. Mostly cast iron, which is what you’d need for steam, but other types too.

    We do custom finishes and sizes in a whole range of designs. And we also make controls that allow you to adjust the temperature of steam radiators and save energy too.

    Check us out: Castrads. We have showrooms in Manhattan and Brooklyn.ReplyCancel

  • Dale - February 16, 2020 - 3:43 PM

    Re: Your fanny-burner: you can have a carpenter box it in with sheetrock (purple, the kind for wet areas). Tell him you want it as tight as possible to reduce the footprint and add some vinyl molding where it touches the floor. A little paint and it will look like it was always there, and will end the problem.ReplyCancel

  • Ina - February 16, 2020 - 1:21 PM

    Hi Lauren, I’ve been following you for a couple of years now. Accidentally found you when I was looking for a white paint. I’m also a graduate of NYSID (AAS). Did not really work that long in the field — I love Interior Design, but I need to eat and have to support myself — esp. in NYC (maybe someday…)! I’m so glad to have found your blog. I’m learning even a lot more from you! Anyway, I saw this a couple of years w/c could be helpful: Intelligent HVAC
    https://www.fastcompany.com/90235707/forget-smart-ovens-intelligent-hvac-is-the-smart-homes-future

    https://www.alealabs.com/technology/

    Thank you for all your articles!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - February 16, 2020 - 1:09 PM

    …about those ultra sonic bug killers…
    Unless they have dramatically changed in the last few years
    They’re a nice warm spot for roaches and other creepy things to nest and breed.
    My girlfriend had one we found loaded with roaches and egg sacks
    EW GROSSReplyCancel

  • Kirsten Giving - February 16, 2020 - 12:06 PM

    Hi
    Wonderful post about a rather un-interesting topic!
    I grew up in a house in St. Paul, where my sister stills lives. There are large radiators in each room. The house was never cold as the radiators produced plentiful, not-too-dry heat. My mom was a wonderful baker. She used the radiators to help her coffee breads rise! Oh, the aroma…
    Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • cheryl - February 16, 2020 - 11:29 AM

    Would you suggest some type of decorative cornice or something to go with the blinds? Every single window in my house has the air vents directly below the windows. Blinds alone are not so bad in some rooms but they just look boring and naked in the bedrooms. Any suggestions?ReplyCancel

  • Madonna - February 16, 2020 - 11:23 AM

    We had a terrible hail storm a few years ago and had to replace our roof. A civil engineer friend of my husband recommended we have the roofing company tear off the plywood sheathing and replace it with a radiant barrier. Best thing we’ve done for this house.

    It helps your home maintain its temperature–cool in the summer, warm in the winter. You know that point in your trip up your stairs to your second floor where you feel the difference in temperature in the summer? That no longer exists. The temperature stays far more even, and it’s easier to heat and cool the house. When you have heating and cooling problems, those issues are usually complicated to fix and often involve more than just the HVAC–insulation, windows, doors, roof…ReplyCancel

  • Kaye T - February 16, 2020 - 10:54 AM

    Yes ma’am I understand that problem. When I had an apartment in NYC and had no control over the thermostat in the dead of winter I would open windows. But in houses, when you see (and pay for) the actual costs of heating the walls and radiator covers and doors, versus having the radiators standing free and into the room, you might not want the attractive covers. For me, it was a 3x decrease in natural gas bill for the same size house. No, I cannot have drapes that cover the radiators and have solved this with shutters, blinds, and swags/jabots in some cases.ReplyCancel

  • Kaye T - February 16, 2020 - 10:20 AM

    I have lived in two separate houses in Virginia, both of which had/have STEAM boilers and radiators. The first house had recessed radiators and the sort of doors and covers with screens that are much more attractive. The second house just has the radiators sticking out in the room. I’ll just say the second house stays MUCH warmer. You’re basically heating inside the wall and the doors when they are recessed and covered. Sorry, sad news but it is true. The functionality takes a hit when the aesthetics improve.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 16, 2020 - 10:49 AM

      Well, my apartment gets boiling hot. I mean like close to 90 degrees and with windows open. I can’t control it. We’re not supposed to turn them off. But, I’ve been known to put the air-conditioning on. It’s been so mild outside, that with the heat cranking, it’s the only way I can get the air temp down some.ReplyCancel

  • Janet R - February 16, 2020 - 10:19 AM

    I used to have some nasty looking baseboard electric heaters and would have loved to cover them up like this! Instead, we yanked them out out and went to full wood heat with 3 stoves for several decades. Getting into my 60s and somewhat tired of having to mess around with cutting, splitting, stacking, storing, hauling arm loads of wood upstairs, we have gone solar and heat pumps were suggested as a good adjunct to keep costs down. (We have lots of wood for free, so not used to paying anything but labor to keep warm). While we still use wood (and need to with our western NY state climate) we are using a lot less. It’s nice to have a system that deals with dampness which was a problem on days when it wasn’t really cold enough to start a fire. But… Every time I look at the front of my house, I shudder at the look of the system! I’m adjusting to the inside view of the units, but I would love to see options for the outside. We’re going to paint the conduit to match the house come spring. Honestly, when I look at it, all I can see is a square-ish alien with mismatched arms trying to climb the side of the house. Maybe I should paint a face on it and call it a day…help me before I do it!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 16, 2020 - 10:54 AM

      Oh, gosh. That one’s beyond me too. But certainly painting the conduit to match the house should help.ReplyCancel

  • nancy - February 16, 2020 - 10:08 AM

    Yes, I am here to back up my Southern Sisters. Cockroaches fly. They call them palmetto bugs or water bugs when they fly but, basically, *a Roach*.
    My second grade teacher was Mrs. Roach, poor lady, but she was my favorite.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Hijazi - February 16, 2020 - 9:26 AM

    Hey Laurel,
    Happy Belated Birthday and Happy Valentines ❤️
    I had an apartment with radiators like yours, great heat
    but always banging and letting off steam sounds in the night. Don’t miss that
    And yes dear, the cockroaches sister, the Palmetto
    actually can fly and will scare you half to death If it gets in your hair or clothes. I nearly had heart failure in the bathroom of a restaurant one night.
    Oh the SouthReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 16, 2020 - 10:45 AM

      Oh, I nearly did say stink bug. They definitely fly. And we get those HUUUUUGE waterbugs too. (I live about 200 feet from the Bronx River.) And, yes. Every time I see one I want to die. A friend of mine told me about these ultra-sonic things you plug into the wall. We can’t hear the sound but it drives the bugs insane and they stay away. Well, it’s been 17 months and so far, no water bugs. And, maybe only one or two of those horrid stink bugs.

      But, when I think of cock roaches, I think of those NYC crawlers where they are very common.ReplyCancel

  • Ivis - February 16, 2020 - 8:56 AM

    You don’t have to go to Australia for flying cockroaches…we have them in the south from Florida through North Carolina (where I live). I have a pest control service but you can never eliminate them in a small house built in 1924. They are always around the ceiling when I spot them and often fly downwards…at me! Horror!ReplyCancel

  • Val - February 16, 2020 - 8:46 AM

    Your ability to research is unparalleled, Laurel! Especially, if you weren’t an expert in radiator covers in the field before. You definitely are the radiator covers expert now. (Not an attractive name. Sorry! I need to learn how to paraphrase better. I mean you’re an interior architecture master, and you have ideas for radiators, too) Amazing post! I could find only 2 options myself. And you found so much more and better information than me. I hope you’ll do the tile layout option for the bathrooms too one day. I am looking at TripAdvisor at a hotel named “Mama Palma” by Jacques Grange. Look at his corridor marble layout. John Rosselli’s sconces are the only thing I can recognize. Lol. His marble layout option on floors is sublime. And the small details on the ceiling and door trim… oooh. But you know, I came to the marble yard only to discover that Carrara and Calacatta slabs in Jaques’s work do not match any single slab that I have. lol. And the same with the tile layout. I’m at a loss. Hopefully waiting for your next post. hahaha!!!ReplyCancel

  • MARY a CONTE - February 16, 2020 - 8:30 AM

    We love, love, love our radiators. However, ours are covered with layers of paint, including pepto pink, and they are hard to keep looking presentable aside from the paint as they collect dust and dirt in all of the hard-to-reach parts. We have had covers made and marble tops cut from scrap at the stone store and I think they are great now. I would not trade them for anything!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Green - February 16, 2020 - 8:06 AM

    Hey Paula…I grew up in a home with lovely, big, fat radiators and loved them. I read this with surprise as i would never have found them unattractive! So cozy on a cold day!ReplyCancel

  • PAULA RENNIE - February 16, 2020 - 8:06 AM

    Great information! I’m investigating a baseboard heater for the bathroom to replace a too-large hot water radiator, so will follow up on your recommendations.
    Fellow Canuck.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Doyle - February 16, 2020 - 7:47 AM

    Hey Laurel – I had no idea you could cover baseboard heaters. Very cool. btw regarding radiant heat, be careful what you wish for… 2 years ago we moved into a house entirely heated by radiant. its true it is silent and completely invisible, BUT… if you want to change the temperature it takes 2 days for the system to adjust, and we also just had a leak that required the boards to be taken up, the underneath to dry out for weeks, and then the floor in the entire room had to be refinished. very expensive and messy.ReplyCancel

  • Another One - February 16, 2020 - 7:29 AM

    First I just wanted to say that pipe of yours can and should be insulated with pipe foam or something appropriate. It’s not only a hazard but thermally inefficient.

    As for baseboards…Canadian with electric baseboard heat who recently renovated over here 🙂

    A few important points:

    They are basically a giant toaster, so you really do need to properly respect the manufacturer guidelines about distances, especially with curtains, or nearby furniture. You also need to vacuum them before you turn them on each winter, and make sure the channel at the bottom isn’t blocked because that’s where the air actually gets sucked in. If you’re changing flooring, you can also just remove the screws to the wall to move them out of the way, without having to disconnect them electrically. Don’t try to install floor around them, they have to sit on top.

    Don’t try to paint them, cover them, etc. They are inexpensive to replace, and new models are actually pretty inobtrusive. If you have a new one, it will also work better because it won’t be filled with gunk like your old ones and they are a bit better now in engineering. In Canada there is a brand called Stelpro, which is modern looking, and comes in a nice white powder coat that goes well with my BM Simply White. Also I put in taller baseboards that almost match the height and honestly, they just aren’t that noticeable anymore.

    Electric baseboards are intended to go under windows on purpose, for thermal insulation. So they are supposed to be the width of the window. I found this out the hard way because when I bought this house, the living room couldn’t heat properly on cold winter days, and it turned out the baseboard was too short. I later realized it was obvious because the original one wasn’t centered but the new, longer one was, after installation. Conversely, in my bedroom I put a longer one than the room was designed for, because I’m always cold and after doing the calculation of the room volume etc relative to the heater specs, I figured bigger would be better and I was right.

    Baseboards can vent either out the side, or the top, which can have big implications depending on your window treatments. Personally I always thought side works better, but I know the top venting manufacturers claim it heats a room faster.

    The heaters are 220V so don’t try to DIY that stuff, although they are quite simple to install. Modern thermostats will also improve your efficiency because they have intermediate heating levels and not just on/off.

    Electric baseboard heat is also EXPENSIVE. However it’s modular, almost never breaks, you can zone your heating, and replacing heaters is cheap. No furnace.

    Good luck everyone 🙂ReplyCancel

  • PAULA RENNIE - February 16, 2020 - 6:20 AM

    One note of caution: radiator covers can reduce heat by 30% – meaning your furnace will be working harder and you’ll be burning more fuel. I love my old radiators – to me they are lovely, and in summer are handy shelves for stacking magazines, books, plants… In winter a handy place for warming boots, mittens and hats before venturing out, or just resting a cold bum. If you do use radiator covers, be sure to allow venting for the tops – the heat radiates from the top as well as the sides. Also, if you have old radiators still wearing their original gold paint, don’t repaint them – you’ll lose heat.ReplyCancel

  • Carole Baker - February 16, 2020 - 5:54 AM

    Here in Australia, Laurel, cockroaches DO fly. In summer they fly in through windows without insect screens. They are enormous.ReplyCancel

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