Baseboard radiator fin pipe in crawlspace

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timral

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I have baseboard hydronic heat in my house--4 zones, which is all my new electric boiler's smart circuitry can handle. I'd like to make this system more efficient.

My concern is that one of the zones does double duty: on the first floor side north baseboard heating loop, where it goes under the house to avoid sliding glass doors etc. it is both uninsulated and often even has fin pipe!

Presumably that is to keep the (well insulated) supply pipes in the crawlspace from freezing. The house is 1970s construction, when oil was cheap. The crawlspace itself is not terribly well insulated and has significant airflow. It could be tightened up but could never be very tight.

But this isn't a very efficient design for a cold coastal climate in SE Alaska, where most spring/summer/fall days we have highs in the 50s and that means calls for heat 12 months a year, but temperatures do not drop under freezing in the crawlspace--except for during a 3-4 month winter window.

I'm trying to figure out a way to make this system more efficient and only run when there is freeze danger. I'm wasting a lot of BTUs 8-9 months a year.

My ideas:

(1) Separate the 1st floor heating loop from the crawlspace heating loop, and figure out some way to create a subzone for the crawlspace fin pipe heating that calls for heat only when crawlspace temps are (e.g.) < 35 degrees.

(2) Cut off the fins and insulate the heating pipes. Provide makeup heat (probably a couple of electric resistance heaters) that would only run when crawlspace temps were (e.g) < 35 degrees.

Any advice on which is the better option? Or one I haven't thought of?

I suppose I could also use heat tape/cable, but there is a lot of supply pipes I'd have to unwrap and rewrap, some of which are difficult to access, so I've mostly ruled that out.
 

Fitter30

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Since boiler is electric cut the fins off or wrap them with a carpet that will stop the fins from heating. Most heaters their thermostat doesn't go down to 35°. This will. Measure the length of the fins 180° anout 600 btu's per foot. Electric is 3.41 btu's per watt.

://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Thermostat-Temperature-Controller-Thermsotat/dp/B083FJ7GKR/ref=asc_df_B083FJ7GKR/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=693128203607&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17730811511952621343&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=t&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=200619&hvtargid=pla-1950553134175&psc=1&mcid=e48d95b7842d364ca7578dec27a7411c&gad_source=1
 
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