Do you have a couple spots in your house that you struggle to heat? If you're constantly fighting cold spaces (and cold toes), you may want to consider adding some kickspace heaters (also called toe-kick heaters) to your home. These tiny heaters can make a big difference in the way your rooms heat. This is what you should know.
What are they?
Kickspace heaters are designed to be virtually invisible. They're usually installed just above the floor, underneath cabinets and along the base of walls. If you look at the space between your bottom kitchen cabinets and the floor, that strip is an ideal spot for something like a kickspace heater. There are two different types available on the market—hydronic units draw in the cold air and heat it using the water from your boiler or water heater and electric units run the cool air over hot coils to heat it. Either way, they're an effective supplement to your main heating unit when you have a spot that just doesn't seem to warm up, no matter how high you have the temperature set.
Where can you put them?
The ideal spot for a kickspace heater, of course, is wherever you think you need one—but they make great replacements for their less-invisible (and more dangerous) cousin: the space heater. There are also some locations you probably wouldn't ordinarily consider; although, they have the potential to make your home environment much more cozy this coming winter:
- underneath the bathroom vanity
- behind or beside the toilet
- beside the shower door
- in the laundry room near the folding table
- under stair risers, especially if the stairs face an outer door
- under the garage or basement workbench
- under a sewing table or crafting table
- in attics that have been converted to living space
One of the advantages of kickspace heaters over both space heaters and baseboard heaters is that they preserve your available floor space, which makes them useful anywhere it would be inconvenient to have the others. They also have the advantage of being able to operate independently off your main heating system, which means that on mildly cool days you could use them instead of turning on the whole heater.
How hard is installation?
Electric kickspace heaters are cheaper and easier to install because they come in prepackaged kits and only require access to an outlet in order to work. They're not quite as efficient as hydronic kickspace heaters, but hydroponics have to be hooked into your existing plumbing system, which means that they're also more expensive to install. Either way, you may want to consult with your HVAC contractor before you start, especially if you aren't sure about your basic carpentry skills.