Replace radiators with electric in basement remodel? Or re-route? or other?

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by ironspider, May 2, 2014.

  1. ironspider

    ironspider Member

    Jul 26, 2008
    Greetings all!

    Okay, so I'm helping my brother in his recently purchased home and he wants to finish his basement. I got some awesome confirmation of the best way to accomplish this in another thread which is no surprise since everything I've ever asked here has been answered :)

    So, the house does no have Central Air and everything is heated by baseboard radiators (slint/fin looking deals from the 60s I think). The basement radiators are in a "zone" with the living room radiators apparently. The basement currently has 2x2 top plates and bottom plates and some 2x2s (warped, bent, and otherwise wrecked) between them with fake wood paneling on top of that. We pulled all that out and there was a vapor sheet nailed to the vertical 2x2s but no insulation or anything. Needless to say, my brother says during the winter "it was very cold down there"... :)

    So we're going to do it up right with rigid XPS and 2x4 framing and all that and eventually drywall. I did my basement (with a lot of advice from this very forum!) about 3-4 years ago and it has been fantastic. BUT! We didn't have these baseboard radiators.

    So the problem in this basement is that the piping for everything is, essentially, *below* the joists. That's fine, he doesn't want to finish the ceiling, but the pipes, in most places, run along the underside of the joists--I mean to say they are EXACTLY where you would nail the top plate. In other places, the pipes run vertically down to the baseboard radiators in the basement and the radiators are attached *directly* to the foundation walls. I will try to attach some pics to illustrate a bit more.

    SO, that leads me to my advice seeking. My brother did have the electrical service upgraded to 200AMPs when he moved in so we've got about 50 breaker spots open :) So i started to wonder if it might make more sense to simply remove these radiators and their runs completely and just allow the water piping to go straight to the living room? This would just require a couple of elbows and some straight pipe. Then we could just install 240v electric baseboard heaters which is no sweat as we will already be pulling new circuits.

    The obvious point though, is that I can't really seem to find ANYONE that prefers electric baseboard heating to radiators. And, to be sure, I'm not saying I "prefer" them, I'm just trying to evaluate how we should try and go about this. My brother is trying to keep costs down, obviously, so I'm trying to figure out what the best option is for minimizing costs, but making sound decisions.

    So any thoughts/suggestions/obvious approaches I'm missing? Thanks!




  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; My brother is trying to keep costs down, obviously, so I'm trying to figure out what the best option is for minimizing costs,

    He is going to "minimze" costs by going to ELECTRIC heaters? Unless you are in the TVA system it is not going to happen. You also already have the baseboard units, (but I hope they have the covers on them which you do not show), and you would have to purchase the electric ones, again not a "cost saving" move.
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  4. ironspider

    ironspider Member

    Jul 26, 2008
    Yep, he still has the covers. So is the best play here to just "bumpout" the vertical pipes so that they run in the stud cavities? (so on the outside of the XPS [so foundation wall>XPS> stud cavity containing water pipe]) and then just temporarily stub out the bottoms, build the wall, then mount the existing heaters to the dryall, and cut, elbow, and tie in the stubbed out pipes?

    But what do we do where we have a pipe running horizontally where the top plate should go?
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