Toekick heater conversion in our kitchen

I keep meaning to write up the toekick conversion we did in our kitchen baseboard heat, which I described the motivation in this post.

But it was complicated!  And my Massachusetts friends tell me it’s actually illegal to do plumbing work your owns in Mass (but not so in NH).

So I will give a high-level description of what we did, and if one wants to do their own project some additional research will be needed.  I will say all information we needed was found in Youtube videos, online forums, and diy articles.  This project was still not for everyone, it took us 3 weekends and some mid-week shopping.

Quick problem recap

We wanted to put more cabinets and work space in our kitchen, but the remaining wall was taken up by baseboard heat.

Solution

Convert baseboard heat into toekick fan that fits under cabinets.  We got the Myson Whispa Kickspace III 7000EZ from Houseneeds.com.

How

We dropped the hot water pipe behind the baseboard under the floor and created a short parallel loop up to the kitchen that fed the toekick fan.

Weekend 1

(1) Measure in & out of kitchen baseboard pipe and find supply pipe under floor, access from garage ceiling below.

(2) Figure out zones, supply, and return lines for hydronic heating system to boiler, also other major parts zone valves & pump.

(3) Plan new pipe layout, to describe in Cartesian coordinates (x,y,z): x & y will be same as original baseboard pipe layout except now below floor (we had an L), other z considerations are floor joists for the direction in which the pipe can’t go between joists (we went under joists, then build soffit box around).

Mid-week

Buy materials needed, including monoflow tee (only at plumbing supply store), copper pipe, pipe cutter for tight spaces, abrasive cloth, assortment of elbows, tees, and couplings.

Pipe cutters and gear needed
Pipe cutters and gear needed

Weekend 2

(1) Drain water from system: shut off water supply to boiler, valve between supply & return, and only open zone valve for zone to be drained.  Connect hose to drain outlet and open drain valve, remove water from system.

(2) Cut old pipes leading up to kitchen, remove baseboards and old pipe in kitchen.

(3) Cut new pipes for new layout planned in weekend 1, fit the pipes together.

Weekend 3

Solder pipes, refill water in system, bleed air, turn on heat.

Done!

(It was so not that easy..)