I want to build wooden baseboard covers. Drawbacks?Are metal designed to throw heat?

Discussion in 'Boiler Forum' started by CanOfWorms, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. CanOfWorms

    CanOfWorms Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I want to build wood radiator covers.
    There are beat up metal ones there.
    Replacing them they will still look kinda cruddy.
    I was thinking that the metal ones are curved inside and may throw heat better.

    What say you?
    wooden covers.jpg
  2. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,864
    Location:
    01609
    The crummy sheet metal baseboards housing fin-tube are designed to promote convective heat transfer, and are primarily convectors, not radiators, though low double-digit percentage of the heat transfer is radiated when operated at a high temperature.

    Cast-iron baseboards are more radiator than convector, though at least a double-digit percentage of the heat transfer is via convection, except at low temperature.

    Assuming yours are fin-tube convectors you need a panel close to the sides of the fins to direct the air flow through the fins, with enough vertical to that air-channel box to give it some stack-effect to work with. The taller you make the stack, the more reliable the heat transfer is at lower water temperatures. Larger fin-tube convectors are typically 20-30" tall, with an open space below, and grille openings only at the top:

    [​IMG]

    The enclosure in your picture would not be nearly as effective, since the fins are open to air flow at the sides, which cuts into the convective forces need to keep air moving through the fins. Making the grille openings only at the top 2" of the sides, or on the currently flat top would work. Keeping flat side of the enclosure no more than 1/4" away from the edges of the fins also reduces the amount of bypassing air, enhancing convection. If you don't mind the extra height, making it 12-16" tall instead of the typical 8-10" would also improve performance, as long as you keep the cross section of the exit-air openings at the top the same, and extend just the flat air-ducting sides.
  3. CanOfWorms

    CanOfWorms Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    New Jersey
    So what you are saying is that the internal shape of the cover does not matter as much at the venting at the top being 2" high and the height being 12" - 16".
    I'm thinking the bottom gap should be 2" also. I think I can make this pretty easy with 1x4 x 12 on the ends. 1x5 on the top and a 1x8 in the middle raised 2" from floor and 2" gap from the top.
    Now I just need to make sturdy.
  4. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    Cold air in from the bottom, hot air out the top.
  5. BadgerBoilerMN

    BadgerBoilerMN Master Hot Water Mpls,MN

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    The fancy cover first pictured will not work the stack effect is foiled by the oven vent front. The output will likely be cut in half, perhaps less.
  6. CanOfWorms

    CanOfWorms Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    New Jersey
    image.jpg So I slapped this together.
    The only problem is that the slats are touching the face board and keeping the cover from going flush to the wall. I need to use a wider board on the side and fix it to the wall.
    To me this already looks 10 times better than the metal ones and was super easy.
    Unless, of course, there is some other problem I don't see.
    image.jpg
    image.jpg
    image.jpg
  7. CanOfWorms

    CanOfWorms Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    New Jersey
    So, If I make it only 9" High will that drastically decrease it's efficiency?

    Please take a look at my work below. I am obviously not a cabinet maker.

    Thank you
  8. jayb21

    jayb21 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    maine
    Trying to do the same, how's it going?

    I've also done a TON of research and want to do the same thing. How's it going? I've read about putting some insulation and using mesh on the front, but then plenty of people don't.

    Any ideas?

  9. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    Location:
    01609
    On baseboards that are on exterior walls if you made the wall side with 1/4" plywood and 1/2-3/4" foil-faced rigid polyiso (Thermax) you'd get a measurable uptick in efficiency. (Steel brackets can hold up the top plate.)

    While going higher than 9" would improve heat transfer, 9" would probably be good enough to heat the room, given the typical levels of oversizing on these systems. Having the fins nearer the lower edge of your facia board will work slightly better than having it at the very top, but either way it'll work.

    Looks like nice wood- too nice to be using between the fins & wall!
  10. CanOfWorms

    CanOfWorms Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Thank you. for now I just need to get them done, but will revisit them when it gets cold.
    Also there isn't enough clearance between the wall and fins for that. But I will figure something out.
    I actually picked through all the #2 at the big orange store for the good ones. Made a huge mess.
    I need to add little 2" blocks along above and below the center piece to support the cap when the little kids walk on it.
    The moment they saw them they both immediately walked along them.
  11. CanOfWorms

    CanOfWorms Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Frankly I'm not into the mesh because it is expensive, will only get dented and reminds me of a confessional.
    I did almost all of them in my house and they look really good.
    I will post some pics and you will see.
    I used 1x4 or 1x6 on the sides 1x6 on the front and 1x5 as the cap 1x2 along the back. 2" gap above and below the front.
    As far as insulation, I'm going to play it by ear.
    If you don't have a nail gun get one or rent one. Use 1 1/2 inch trim nails and wood glue. I scuff the area to be glued and then wet the area so the glue sucks into the wood.
    Once they are dry they are furniture solid.
    I see the orange store has a Ryobi battery one that I am going to check out.
  12. CanOfWorms

    CanOfWorms Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    New Jersey
    So this is one pic showing the end of the base board cover along with the new craftsman style window and door trim.
    I will post some of the more complex and of course some complete pictures in a few.
    trim base.jpeg
  13. piano08man

    piano08man New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Thanks for the suggestion here. I ended up doing two of these last night. It worked perfectly! I used a 1x6 for the top and front boards, and shaved a 1x6 down to a 1x5 for the sides. my heaters are a little too far away from the wall for a 1x4 to work. I kept my height to 9 inches (slightly taller than the original aluminum) to make them less obtrusive. I used a piece of 1x2 MDF to center the cover and anchor it to the wall. Here's a picture of the completed cover.

    2014-08-07 00.00.14.jpg
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