how to heat a walk-in closet

How to Heat a Walk-in Closet (In 4 Simple Steps)

Here’s how to heat a walk-in closet. Does your walk-in closet get super cold as well? I totally understand how you feel. Oftentimes, it’s one of the first rooms you enter in the morning. With a walk-in closet that feels like a teleport to the north pole, you start your day uncomfortably every time.

In this guide, we’re going to cover a few basic options to heat a walk-in closet. I will stick to simple solutions. You can implement most of them on your own, without the need for professionals. So, let’s start.

Short answer: To heat a walk-in closet, you should first identify where the cold comes from. If it comes from an outside wall, you’ll need to improve the insulation of that wall. Oftentimes walk-in closets are limited in space, so you can’t add big heating systems. To improve the heat exchange with your living space, you can install a vented louver door. The best heaters for walk-in closets are underfloor heating and portable electric heaters.

However, there are a lot more points to cover, so keep reading to find out the best way to heat your walk-in closet.

1. Test where the cold comes from

The first step you have to follow is to test, where the heat comes from. You can do so by simply touching the walls. If the outside wall is the coldest part of your walk-in closet, you found the issue. Most likely, the cold is entering your walk-in closet through the outside wall. The best first step to make up for that is to add insulation to that wall. Or maybe even build a second wall, if you live in an old home.

Touch the floor and see how cold it is. If you think it’s uncomfortably cold, the floor needs insulation as well. Luckily, insulating a floor is easy, as even a simple carpet acts as a layer of insulation. So, add a carpet, if you don’t have one yet.

If the air itself is cold, but your living space is not, you need to improve the heat exchange with your living space. Here’s how.

2. Improve the heat exchange with your living space

If the air of your walk-in closet is cold, but your living space is warm, there’s a chance the walk-in closet door blocks of the heat.

Especially, when you have a heat source in your living space, but none in your walk-in closet, you need to improve the air exchange. And luckily, there’s a simple, yet elegant solution.

Add a vented louver door. That’s a door that allows the air to freely move between both rooms. But it preserves privacy. You can’t see through it.

So, whenever you heat your living space, you also heat your walk-in closet. But only add a louver door when you’re sure that the walk-in closet’s outside walls are insulated.

When they’re not the cold air from your walk-in closet will enter your living space. Which will, in turn, increase your heating bills.

Here’s how to insulate a walk-in closet.

3. Insulate the outside walls

When your walk-in closet has no heat source and no proper insulation, it has no other choice than being cold. The cold enters your walk-in closet and stays there because there is nothing that warms it up. The combination of no insulation and no heat source is nearly always the reason for a cold walk-in closet.

I suggest to first add insulation to the outside walls of your walk-in closet. With outside walls, I’m talking about the walls that face the outside. You don’t need to insulate walls that face your living space.

Anyways, go with simple insulation first. For example, you can add thick curtains to your window. If that doesn’t help, then you can make it a bigger project to insulate your walls or hire a professional.

In some extreme cases, for example, when you’re living in a very old house, it might even be necessary to add a second wall.

4. Pick a heat source for a walk-in closet

The very best heat source you can have in a walk-in closet is underfloor heating. In a walk-in closet you generally face three problems:

  1. Lack of space
  2. Fire hazard
  3. Few freestanding walls.

The fire hazard results from the number of clothes in your walk-in closet. And oftentimes, especially in small walk-in closets, you don’t have any freestanding walls.

All these three points eliminate all heaters that get overly hot. Mainly, because of the safety risks.

Here are the types of heaters that are best suited for heating a walk-in closet.

Underfloor heating

Advantages of underfloor heating for a walk-in closet

The best choice for heating a walk-in closet is underfloor heating. It is superior to any other heating method, simply because it isn’t affected by the three problems I mentioned above.

Underfloor heating is a heat source, mostly hot water pipes, that carry heat below your floor. It doesn’t take up any space. That’s a property that no other heater has. And secondly, it doesn’t get overly hot.

Because the heat is distributed over the whole floor, there’s no single spot that gets hot. Instead, underfloor heating provides even heat.

Disadvantages of underfloor heating

“In older buildings creating the right conditions under the floor can take time and cause major upheaval”

Underfloor heating is generally a very expensive way to heat. Not because of the efficiency of heating, but because it has high upfront expenses. It is difficult to install.

Additionally, underfloor heating takes a long time to warm up. So, for heating a walk-in closet in the morning using underfloor heating you’ll also need a smart thermostat that heats your floor before you wake up.

Otherwise, it would take an eternity to heat.

And you can’t use it under certain types of furniture. Especially the type of furniture that touches the floor with a large area.

best infrared heater is the dr infrared heater DR-968

Space heaters for a walk-in closet

Underfloor heating is nice to have. For sure. But the upfront expenses and the effort might not always be worth it. Instead, why not get a simple and safe space heater? Here’s my suggestion.

Advantages of space heaters for a walk-in closet

Space heaters come in all sizes and shapes, so I’m 100% sure you’ll find one that suits your walk-in closet.

Portable space heaters beat any other heating source with their heating speed. They can heat incredibly fast. So, you don’t even need to preheat your walk-in closet before you enter it. This helps you save money in the long run.

And space heaters are relatively affordable. Especially compared to the huge efforts underfloor heating requires. You can get good quality space heaters that will last you for many years, if not decades, for very reasonable prices. You can check my space heater recommendation on this Recommended Products page. I only recommend heaters where I’m absolutely sure the quality matches what you pay for!

Disadvantages of space heaters

Space heaters come in many different types. From infrared heaters to oil heaters and ceramic heaters. It can become confusing to decide for the right one, especially if you’re not familiar with the topic.

That’s why I suggest checking the Recommended Products page where you can find the single best heater for each heater category (oil, infrared, propane, …) together with a description where it’s good to use at.

PS: I recommend to take a look at the infrared heater for your walk-in closet.

Conclusion: How to heat a walk-in closet

For heating a walk-in closet, you can choose between installing underfloor heating or using simple space heaters. I recommend space heaters, simply because they don’t require any installation and they are way more affordable than underfloor heating.

Heating a walk-in closet does not only depend on the right heat source though. It’s also important to have properly insulated outside walls.

If your living space warms up nicely, but your walk-in closet stays freezing cold, it is likely that there is no heat exchange between the two rooms. To fix the heat exchange issue, I recommend getting a vented louver door, which allows for the air to go from one room to the other. And louver doors still retain privacy. Perfect for a walk-in closet.

I hope this article was helpful to you! If yes, then consider sharing it with your friends or your spouse to announce your next weekend project: Heating your walk-in closet!

About the Author

Daniel Hirsch

Daniel is an electrical engineer, blogger, and author. He studied electrical engineering and information technology and decided to blog about heaters after working in the temperature sensing industry.