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Supplemental heat for bump out nook?

Debra_Ann | Posted in General Questions on

We are building a house, and have a tiny 4′ x 6′ bump out in our kitchen.  The bump out will have a booth in it, with large windows on 3 sides.  It’s on the north side of the house.  

This is located in the corner of a large 24 x 28′ great room. This large room will be heated with a mini split.  The windows are good quality double pane vinyl, and we are located in Virginia, climate zone 4.

We are older, and this is our retirement home.  I’m wondering if we will feel too cold during mid-winter next to all these windows.  This is our dining area.

Does anyone have any suggestions for possible supplemental heat to keep us warm while in this booth? (Maybe a radiant heat source from above?)  We’ll soon be installing rough-in electric, so this is a good time to make this decision.  Thanks.

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  1. Trevor_Lambert | | #1

    This might be a case where getting European style, triple pane windows is worth it. No one can know your comfort range, but I can tell you that we sit in the window sills of my house in zone 6 in the winter, and are perfectly comfortable. That's inches away from the window. But by all means, no matter what you decide with windows, rough in electrical for a cove heater or even a ceiling panel. It costs very little during construction.

  2. drewintoledo | | #2

    Curious to see your floorplan if you're willing to share?

  3. Jon_R | | #3

    This might give you a little better idea of discomfort level. If there is an issue, radiant makes sense to me.

  4. user-2310254 | | #4


    Is the bump-out cantilevered or on the same foundation as the rest of the house?

  5. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #5

    +1 for triple pane windows here, they will help with comfort. There are US and Canadian manufacturers that make a good product. Try to get the 1-3/8" full thickness type for maximum benefit, or at least the 1-1/8" type (these are thicknesses of the IGUs, not the frame of the entire window). The 7/8" triple pane windows don't add much over a double pane window that has the i89 coating on the interior.

    I would consider putting an electric radiant heat system into your booth if it's a built-in booth, which it sounds like is your plan. This will be like having heated seats in your car. Put a switch near the booth to let you turn the system on and off when you need it. This should help a lot with comfort without using a lot of energy to run.


  6. Debra_Ann | | #6

    Thanks for your questions and suggestions. Unfortunately, replacing our windows for triple pane ones is not currently an option. The bump out is above a closed, conditioned crawl space (not cantilevered). The windows have low E, U-factor .27, and SHGC .29. I've attached a copy of the floor plan for our great room with bump out.

    Bill, I never though of having a built-in heating system in the booth. I like the idea, but I have problems when exposed to elevated magnetic fields that are too close. But I'll look into it.

    Jon, I used that online tool you provided and plugged in my numbers the best I could. I couldn't find a way to submit a plan with 3 windows around a booth. But, with just one window, it said that our booth passed on comfort levels (just barely at our coldest temps, but reasonably well at our usual winter temps). But this was assuming we were one foot from the window (it didn't allow for closer positioning). So, we're a bit borderline at the coldest temps. Thanks for sharing that.

    I think we may rough in some electric for possible ceiling radiant heaters. But I want to learn all our options first.

    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #8

      A SMALL radiant heat system shouldn't produce much in the way of a magnetic field, but if you're concerned, have a metal fabricator cut a piece of sheet steel to fit under your booth seat, then install the heating cable beneath that. Have your electrician connect a ground wire to the sheet steel (probably not necessary, but best to have some extra safety anyway). The steel sheet will help to shield you from any magnetic field produced by the heating cable. I would use 1/16" mild steel for that, which should be pretty cheap. They will round that "1/16 inch" to the nearest metal gauge, which will be close and will be fine.

      The steel acts as a magnetic shield. It's not perfect, but it will help, and it's MUCH cheaper than mumetal or anything else that would do much better. The steel will also help to act as a heatsink for the heating cable and spread out the heat for a very even warmth.

      If you don't want to go the radiant cable route, I'd go with Malcolm's suggestion of putting the heater below the table. Heat rises, and warm legs and feet is very much more comfy than a warm top of your head from a ceiling-mounted heater :-)



  7. Expert Member


    I'd suggest placing a resistance heater below the table, rather than try and heat from above. Cozy feet and warmth wafting up.

  8. Debra_Ann | | #9

    Great suggestions! Thanks. I'll look into them.

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