Hot Water Baseboard Heating Systems

Hot Water Baseboard Heating System Benefits and Drawbacks

By Mark J. Donovan




Hot water baseboard heating systems circulate hot water through heating circuits in the home. Hot water baseboard heating systems provide steady warm heat to a room via convection / radiant heating and are ideal for people with allergies. Unlike hot air heating systems, hot water baseboard heating systems, a.k.a. hydronic heating systems, do not blow air around the room. Instead hot water is quietly circulated through hot water baseboard heating elements that radiate heat outwards into a room.

Hot water baseboard heating systems consist of several key components. At the heart of a hot water baseboard heating system is a hot water boiler.

The boiler heats up water and via circulator pumps the hot water is circulated through hot water baseboard heating circuits, or zones. On each circuit, or zone, there is a ring of copper tubing with hot water baseboard heating elements interspersed around it. Typically the baseboard heating elements are located under windows and along exterior walls. The circulator pump, along with a zone valve and a thermostat control the flow of hot water though the heating zone.

When the thermostat is set to a higher temperature, the zone valve opens up and the circulator pump turns on and begins to circulate hot water through the hot water baseboard heating system.

Depending upon the size of the home, and the amount of heating control desired, there can be one to several separate heating zones in a home. With a hot water baseboard heating system, each heating zone has its own thermostat control and zone valve.

In some cases each zone may have its own separate circulator pump, and in other cases there may be just one common circulator pump for multiple zones.

Hot water baseboard heating systems are powered by oil, natural gas, propane or electric.

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Hot Water Baseboard Heating System Drawbacks

Hot water baseboard heating systems have a few drawbacks. First, hot water baseboard heating elements have to be installed all around the exterior walls of the home. Besides taking up space, they can also be non eye appealing to many.

Second, they take time to warm up. It can take several minutes for the hot water to circulate around the heating zone and warm up the hot water baseboard heating elements.

Third, if in the rare event a leak occurs in the hot water baseboard heating system, e.g. a heating element, water damage to the home is possible.

Fourth, if the hot water baseboard heating system’s pipes were to freeze, due to a loss of power for example, the pipes could burst causing water damage to the home.

Finally, a hot water baseboard heating system is more expensive to install than a hot air heating system.

How water baseboard heating element.

Hot Water Baseboard Heating System Benefits

Though there are some drawbacks to a hot water baseboard heating system it is still one of the most common forms of home heating today. Unlike hot air heating systems they do not create drafts, circulate dust and allergens, or dry out the air in the home. Secondly the warmth radiated from hot water baseboard heating elements is steady and uniform so it is a much more comfortable heat. Third, hot water baseboard heating systems are quite. Unlike hot air systems there are no loud fans and blowers or whooshing sounds of air blowing around a room.

So if you are contemplating a new home heating system spend some time looking at hot water baseboard heating systems. For many the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.


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