Question

Can you suggest an efficient heating system for an entryway mud room?

Asked by Cheryl
Holyoke, MA

I live on a slab foundation and have a entryway mud room with no heat. It is 11x13. I live in New England 4 seasons to go thru.

Answer

Elizabeth DiSalvo

Answered by Elizabeth DiSalvo

Norwalk, CT

Trillium Architects

April 26, 2013

Hi Cheryl

I feel your pain! There is nothing worse than coming in from the freezing and snow to take off coats and boots in a cold room.

Let’s take a look at the options.

Your space is about 143 sf which is basically a good size candidate for heating with a space heater.

  • But space heaters take up space, can be knocked over, can accidentally come in contact with flammable items, and use a lot of electricity.
  • And they generally have to be turned on when you enter the room -- which defeats the purpose.  You are not in a mudroom long enough for the space heater to heat up!

Alternatives to electric space heaters

There are alternatives to traditional electric space heaters.

Wall hung flat panels. One nice alternative are electric, wall hung flat panels, like the ECO-heater Convection Flat Panel Electric Space Heater.  You can find a number of these panels available and they are often a lot more energy efficient than some of the traditional models.

  • They are a low cost, hang on the wall and plug in. An easy option. 
  • Do seriously consider getting the thermostat that goes with the panel. That way you can come home to a warm mudroom.
  • They do get a bit hot so if you decide to buy this sort of panel, I recommend you hang them high on the wall where kids and pets won’t bump into them.

Radiant floor mat. Another electric option would be a radiant floor mat. Your size room is a good size for this sort of application.

You could install it under a thin set tile and hook it up to a thermostat. These are fairly cost effective to install (a lot less involved than a hydronic radiant floor system) but they can be costly to run. In a slab application a good amount of the heat can be lost through the floor and they can take a while to heat up the room.

However, you probably will not be living in your mudroom. So you can set the thermostat to kick on early in the morning and evening when you are leaving for work and coming home again for example. If it needs to be on more long term than that you might consider the wall mounted panel heater.

Hyrdronic space heater. If  you have a hot water/ radiant heating system in your house you may be able to add a hydronic space heater in the form of a super slim radiator or even wall mounted towel warmer (from Eurpean companies like Runtal or Buderus.

They are a bit more expensive than traditional radiators but you will probably only be buying one).

  • Towel warmers might be interesting in a mudroom because they – like the panel heaters -- are wall mounted, relatively low profile and actually do add heat to the room and help to reduce humidity AND they have the added bonus of being a great place to hang wet mittens, hats and scarves.
  • These units are controlled by thermostats and would require installation by a plumber.

A poor man's radiant floor

All in all you might be able to help the room feel warmer by addressing the floor. If it is truly an exposed concrete floor, this can be very cold and hard on your feet no matter how warm the room is.

If you have enough head height, and enough money, you might consider doing what my contractor friend calls a ‘poor man’s radiant floor’.

  • This means putting a layer of rigid board insulation down and then another sort of flooring on top of it.
  • The layer of insulation will truly take the edge off the cold and give your feet a bit of a cushion.

You could cover the floor with one of the many interesting new eco-friendly linoleum or vinyl type floor coverings that are durable and easy to clean. Or you could even put in a real hardwood floor.

These do get a lot of wear in a mudroom, but with area rugs and walk off mats they can hold up well.

 

Best of luck,

Elizabeth

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