How to Drain Water from Baseboard Heating System

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Baseboard heaters are heat-generating devices commonly found in homes or offices. The devices are essential for heating homes and offices during the cold season to avoid moisture.

However, for them to run efficiently, they need proper maintenance. And to continue enjoying the warm breeze, this article will share how to drain water from baseboard heating system.

Baseboard heating systems are popular among homes because they are installed inside the room at the bottom area. For that reason, accessing them for use or maintenance is easy.

Secondly, the devices are energy-efficient, especially the hot water baseboard heaters making it easy for middle-class families to install them.

How to Drain Water from Baseboard Heating System

How to Drain Water from Baseboard Heating System
Boiler

How Baseboard Heating system Works

There are two different baseboard heaters. And although their purpose is to heat the house, they work differently. First, learn about the two;

  • Convection Baseboard Heater

It has an element that transfers heat to the air passing inside. Afterward, the air is released into the environment.

However, we will not discuss convection baseboard heaters since they don’t use water.

  • Hydronic Baseboard Heater

The hydronic baseboard heater contains a boiler, piping, and pump.

The hydronic baseboard heater operates as an ordinary heater. Inside the boiler, there are elements that heat the water. However, non-electric baseboard heaters use gas or other methods to heat the water. Mainly, the boiler is located in the house basement.

Water is heated in the boiler, and the pump circulates it through the piping. The pipes are installed along the wall or the floor in the room.

There are aluminum or iron fins on the metallic pipes that transfer heat to the surrounding air. The air circulates within the room, and that’s how you get the warm breeze.

When the water loses heat, it flows back to the boiler to be reheated. Further, when the room is heated to the required temperature, the thermostat switches off the system.

This article will focus on hydronic baseboard heaters since they use water.

Read: How to drain a hot water heater quickly

How to Drain Water from Baseboard Heating System
water heater system

Why Do We Drain Water from Baseboard Heating System?

With time, water leaves sediments within the pipes when circulating to warm the air. Additionally, the metal pipes and other internal components may rust because the water may not be pure. As a result, the unit’s performance is downgraded, and if not fixed, it may fail.

Draining water from the hydronic baseboard heating system is essential during regular maintenance. It flushes out all sediments and rust from the pipe system.

In another case, you may be leaving for an extended vacation during winter. Usually, pipes may freeze and crack if the units are left with water for an extended period during the cold season.

For this reason, you may need to drain your baseboard heating system before leaving home.

How to Drain Water from Hydronic Baseboard Heaters

Draining a baseboard heating system is a simple do-it-yourself exercise that doesn’t need a specialist. To carry out the process, follow this procedure;

1. Do a Little Warm-Up

Turn on the heater for about an hour and let it run at a lower temperature. The method weakens some sediments and rust that may have been stuck on cold pipes.

2. Turn Off the Baseboard Heater

If your heater is already running, you can turn it off. Set the thermostat to low temperature and switch off the wall power outlet. Some heaters have a circuit breaker; you can flip it instead. Further, some electric boilers have an on/off switch. You can switch it off too.

On the other hand, turn off the gas supply valve if your heater uses gas as a heating method.

Read: Cash for old water heaters

How to Drain Water from Baseboard Heating System
solar heater

3. Turn Off the Water Supply

Check on the baseboard heater water supply valve and turn it off to endure no water enters the boiler. If the valve is faulty, you can consider turning the water off at the source tank and disconnecting the supply pipe from the boiler.

4. Locate the Drain Valve and the Bleeder

Check on the drain valve near the boiler bottom. For the bleeder, check on the water pipes around the top of the radiator. 

5. Connect a Hose to the Drain Valve

A ¾ inch hose on the drain valve may fit well without securing it. However, insert and secure it with a hose clamp if you have a wider hose. Then, run the hose to a sink, a bucket, or any other safe drainage location.

6. Open the Bleeder Valve

Use the radiator key, screwdriver, or pair of needle-nose pliers to turn the valve counter clockwise. You’ll hear a hissing sound as pressure leaves the pipes. Airlock in hot water baseboard may hinder effective draining of the water.

7. Drain the Boiler

Open the drain valve by turning the knob counterclockwise for the water to leave the system. Check on the drainage location if the water coming out of the hose has sediments or is discolored.

Ensure all the water has drained before closing the bleeders or turning on the water inlet valve.

Read: Why do I keep getting air in my heating system?

How to Drain Water from Baseboard Heating System
solar water heater

8. Close all the Valves

Close the drain valve by turning it clockwise and disconnect your hose. Afterward, move upstairs to the bleeders and turn clockwise to close before turning on the water inlet valve.

FAQs on Baseboard Heating System

How Do I Add Water to My Heating System?

First, turn off the bleed valves and the drain valves. Then, proceed to the water inlet valve and turn it on. After a short time, your heating system will fill with water.

What Happens If a Boiler Runs Out of Water?

Usually, the boiler tank is made of steel metal. The metal will overheat and crack on the welds if the boiler runs out of water. That’s the reason you notice water leakages in most tanks.

Is Hot Water Baseboard Heating Good?

Hydronic baseboard heaters are considered safe and more energy-efficient than central heating systems. However, for efficiency and reasonable lifespan, you’ll have to perform some maintenance and safety precautions like;

Regularly draining and cleaning the devices.
Investing time in the appropriate maintenance methods.
Ensuring power supply is turned off when performing maintenance practices.
Ensuring no flammable substances or electrical cables hanging around.
Checking the user manual to learn the recommended distance to place your furniture from the heater.

It’s recommendable to drain water from the baseboard heating system at least once a year. However, if you regularly use your baseboard heater or your home is dusty, consider regular maintenance for better performance. 

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