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Valance Heating

7 replies [Last post]
Joined: Dec 9 2006

We just bought our Eichler and found out that it needs new heating. It has the original radiant heating w/ steel pipes and is leaking water. We had a specialist come out (Lipp) and he recommended "valance" heating. He said he designed the system and it runs along the ceiling beams. What do the purists think of this system? There doesn't seem to be any other viable alternative as we have reltatively new floors on most of the house. Any other suggestions or comments? Thanks!

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Joined: Mar 23 2003

heat risies to the top of the house. why would anyone want to have the heater on the beam?

Joined: Apr 20 2006

I sure wish that 'I' had thought of that question. I personally have seen dozens of these Valence Systems that Bill Lipp has installed. You could ask Bill to answer the question. Maybe a Valence Heating System owner will tell us what we want to know. Logic seems to indicate that it would be a great way to keep the inside of your roof warm. I have never heard anyone voice discontent with the system. If you can avoid all the work of plumbing down to the floor, and the inconvenience of having the radiators at the baseboard, it does sound attractive.

Joined: Jun 28 2003

Hello Cara,

I have a valence heating system installed by Bill Lipp many, many years ago.

I do get heat.

I might be heresy for me to say, but I'd look into central air and heat. With the low profile ducting, you might look into it.

When the valence system was installed in my home (by the previous owners), central air and heating was awfully expensive and looked ugly.

As a practical matter, I lost some of the MBR closet space -- not much -- but some. Bill Lipp did an excellent job in designing and installing the valence system.

If I were you, I would check to see what the costs are getting central air and valence.

Good luck.


Joined: Mar 25 2003

Look into a mini split ductless system. There's even a modern looking one from a Korean manufacturer.

Joined: Mar 23 2003

Of course the valence heating will heat up the room but it has to heat the room from top to bottom which takes longer.

Joined: Mar 16 2005

Don't know anything about valence heating - - I think Cathy S. knows as much about heating as any Eichler owner -- she had to decommissioned her floor radiant heating several years ago and went with baseboard -- I believe they were able to keep boiler and re-route copper piping for the baseboard units.

(1) Central -- anything esthetically pleasing would have to be something like the Unico system w/ low profile & high velocity roof ducting -- I thought it was only cooling, but in any case, it was priced at $30K because a new foam roof would be needed.
(2) Mini-split -- don't think it's a good option because the heat source is very concentrated -- generally limited to 2 (perhaps 3 air handling units) -- Loni's Samsung mini-split, I understand, is great at quickly "taking the chill out of the air" in the mornings, but would be overwhelmed by general heating task and heating would be uneven. I have a 9,000 btu Samsung AC/heater for a 240 sf addition; it can raise air temperature 5-10 degrees in about 30-45 minutes (and cool just as quickly), but the tile floor (18 inches squares) would still be cold as ice.
(3) Another is the STEP electric radiant heat -- not sure if anyone has used it but is positioned as great for re-models. It is all electric and requires transformer (something that size, I expect, will emit an hum).

So baseboard radiant would seem the most practical.

Joined: Mar 22 2003

We do have baseboard heating and have been happy with it, as it does allow us to use the current boiler, and is 100% quiet with no forced air. Forced are systems were not an option for us, since we both are highly allergic to house dust. Anything that blows air bothers us. -Not to mention the challenge of trying to place ducting in an Eichler!

We did get 2 mini-splits for AC in the summer and they are fantastic, but for winter, we are happy w the radiant baseboard heat. Its biggest disadvantage is aesthetics. You can't hide them, but nor do you need them along every wall either. The compromise was worth it to us - since I understand that once an in -floor system begins to leak, it becomes a never-ending process of ripping up the floor, fixing the leak, and then waiting for the next leak so you can start all over again. Note: we inherited the baseboards w the house as the previous owner had installed them. The pipes for it run over the roof-but best of all, they can be zoned off so you don't have to heat the whole house like you do w the original in-floor system

You may want to take a look at the Runtal baseboard and wall heating systems. They are considered some of the best in the world and several of the expereinced Eichler controactors on this site can do the intallation.

Here is the link:


Cathye Smithwick
cathyelynn AT comcast DOT NET

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