Sometimes, choosing conventional baseboard heaters over hydronic baseboard heaters may be the best option. But hydronic heaters come with several benefits like energy saving.
However, the hydronic heaters can cost you much time during bleeding sessions, and the worst exercise may be bleeding with faulty bleeders. To help you, I’ll share how to bleed baseboard heater without bleeders.
You may be relaxed into your room, enjoying the warm breeze during winter, and suddenly realize the room is getting cold. You rush to inspect the thermostat and the temperature settings, but they are good.
The possible issue is that your baseboard heater has air built up into the pipe system, and you need to bleed it.
What is Hydronic Baseboard Heater Bleeding?
Baseboard heater bleeding releases pressure that builds up in the pipe system when hot water flows to heat the surrounding air. Usually, hydronic baseboard heaters come with bleeding valves to release pressure once it’s accumulated.
The bleeding valves are turned with a key or a screwdriver to release pressure once you note of hydronic airlock.
The worst may happen when the bleeding valves fail, and you have to use the heater. All you need are basic skills on how to bleed air from the baseboard heating system without bleeders. Else, you’ll have to suffer in the cold.
How Hydronic Baseboard Heater Works
Hydronic baseboard heaters have a boiler fitted with an element. Water is heated by the element and flows through the pipes to the radiator.
The radiator has hundreds of aluminium or iron fins that attract heat from the water and transfer it to the surrounding air, warming the house.
Once the water loses heat, it flows back to the boiler for reheating. On the other hand, the heaters are fitted with a thermostat to take readings of the temperature in the room.
Once the set temperature is reached, the thermostat automatically switches off the system.
The hydronic baseboard heaters are more efficient because heated water can retain heat for longer after the system is switched off. These radiator fins keep releasing heat to the surrounding air, and this extended duration saves energy.
However, you’ll have to keep bleeding the baseboard heater system despite the benefits because the air build-up is not exceptional. It can be tiresome, especially when you have to sit and enjoy your best movies.
How Hydronic Air Lock Happens
Usually, water contains air. When water is heated, the air expands and increases pressure inside the pipes. When these air particles combine, they form bubbles that release the noise you sometimes hear from the radiator.
When these bubbles combine, they become bigger and forms more air pressure inside the radiator, causing a hydronic airlock. The solution is to release the air from the system to allow water to flow easily.
How to Know it’s Time to Bleed Your Baseboard Heater
You may observe several signs to know it’s time to bleed your baseboard heater. Take a look;
- Despite the baseboard heater running, the house gets cooler.
- You hear gurgling noise from the radiator.
Another way to know your heater needs bleeding is by carrying out this procedure;
Step 1: Turn on the baseboard heater and give it around 30 minutes to heat.
Step 2: Move your palm to the bottom of the radiator to feel the temperature. The bottom part is usually hot.
Step 3: Move your palm again to the top of the baseboard heater. You’ll notice it getting colder.
How to Bleed Baseboard heater Without Bleeders
You’ll learn how to bleed baseboard radiators without bleeding valves. It’s a simple DIY exercise that would save you almost $100 every time you need an HVAC specialist to help you.
To carry out the exercise, I’ll share two methods you may choose;
a) Tilting the Towel Rail Compression Joint
Step 1: Turn off the baseboard heater and give it time to cool.
Step 2: Locate the towel rail joint that joins the radiator.
Step 3: Use a wrench to slowly tilt the nut connecting to the radiator. You’ll hear a hissing sound.
Step 4: Once all the pressure is released, retighten the nut quickly to prevent water loss.
Step 5: Leave the heater to run for 30 minutes and check the boiler gauge to confirm even heat distribution.
b) Self-Drilling Valve Method
Self-drilling bleed screws are simple devices you’ll never lack in the nearby hardware. Luckily, they are simple to install and work best as the normal bleeder valves. Check on the procedure;
Step 1: Turn off the hydronic baseboard heater and give it time to cool.
Step 2: Have a cordless drill and the self-drilling bleed screw. Ensure your cordless drill socket heat matches that of the bleed screw.
Step 3: Screw the metallic radiator pipe until the bleed screw tightens. Then loosen it, and you’ll hissing sound as pressure leaves.
Step 4: Retighten your bleed screw and leave it for the next bleeding session.
Step 5: Leave the heater to run for 30 minutes and confirm if heat is evenly distributed on the boiler pressure gauge.
FAQs about Bleeders on Baseboard Heaters
Where Are the Bleeders on Baseboard Heaters?
Many hydronic baseboard heaters have bleed valves located on the pipe system. Check on the top of the radiator to locate the bleed valves every time you need to bleed air from the system. They are round holes with a square-like cap inside. You can use a screwdriver or radiator key to turn it clockwise, and the air will escape from the pipes. It could be blocked if no water or pressure comes out of the valve after tilting.
Do You Bleed a Radiator When it is on or off?
You can’t bleed the radiator when the heater is on because the metal pipes might be hot enough to burn you. Additionally, pressure build-up can cause much water to spray on you. Turn off the heater and let it cool before bleeding to carry out the exercise safely.
Does Bleeding Radiators Affect Boiler Pressure?
When you bleed a radiator, the system releases air. As a result, the boiler pressure will go down, and you’ll have to leave the heater on for some time before pressure normalizes.
Bleeding a baseboard heater without bleeders may seem to be a hard task if you have less knowledge about it. However, this DIY task will save you time and money you’d pay a specialist with these basic skills.