What is a Hydronic Baseboard Heater

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When cold weather knocks, everyone dusts off their heaters. Hydronic baseboard heaters have been praised for their efficiency in home heating. With that said, we’ll confirm by learning what is a hydronic baseboard heater.

Many homes and offices rely on baseboard heaters for heating during winter. The devices are believed to be easy to use and durable.

You’ll find these devices in conference halls, office reception, living rooms, and basements on many occasions. But what many people don’t know is they use water for heating, just as the name suggests.

What is a Hydronic Baseboard Heater

What is a Hydronic Baseboard Heater

Before we get any further, you need to learn and understand three key subtopics;

  • Hydronic Baseboard Heater

A hydronic baseboard heater is a heating device that uses heated fluid to distribute and transfer heat to the surrounding air.

  • Hydronic Baseboard Heater Components 
  • Boiler – holds and heats the fluid before flowing to the pipes.
  • Circulating pump – pumps the heated fluid to the pipe system.
  • Pipes – circulates heated fluid to heat the surrounding air.
  • Metal fins – they are attached to the metallic pipes to absorb heat and transfer it to the surrounding air. Usually, the fins are made of copper, iron, or aluminum.
  • Baseboard heater cover – hydronic baseboard heater covers protect the inner components from exposure. Secondly, it contains an air inlet and outlet vents for easy circulation.
  • Types of Hydronic Baseboard Heaters

Hydronic baseboard heaters are available in different categories. They use no toxic fluids to circulate and heat the environment. Some of the fluids are;

  • Water
  • Oil

When it comes to heating, they are very flexible. As a buyer, you can choose between various heating methods like;

  • Natural gas
  • Propane
  • Electricity
  • Oil (mostly kerosene)

Read: Types of heaters for home

What is a Hydronic Baseboard Heater

With that said, you can choose your best hydronic baseboard heaters depending on their purpose or home size. Take a look at the four different types;

  • HBB Type: The Standard Wall Mounted Hydronic Baseboard Heater

It’s used to heat the whole house or the larger areas like the living rooms. You’ll find these heaters in many homes because they are designed for homes or larger areas like conference rooms.

Additionally, they are best for bedrooms and kitchen.

  • FHP Type: Portable Hydronic Heater

They are 120 volts portable heaters with a steel body. They have an automatic thermostat to set any desired temperature.

The devices are safe for kids and pets because they are completely covered to protect any hot part from contacting external objects.

  • LFH Type: Digital Portable Hydronic Heater

They have a digital display platform and control buttons. This 120V hydronic baseboard heater has elements dipped in a liquid that circulates to transfer heat to the surrounding air.

  • PLF Type: Liquid Filled Electric Heater

They have an element immersed in a liquid-filled in a copper tube. They are best for bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and offices.

Read: Hot water recirculating pump with water softener

What is a Hydronic Baseboard Heater

How Hydronic Baseboard Heater Works

In the hydronic baseboard heater boiler, an element is immersed in the fluid. There is a heater underneath the boiler for other models that use propane, oil, or natural gas. Mostly, the boilers are installed in the basement.

Once the fluid is heated, the circulating pump pushes it to the pipes transporting it to the rooms. Around the rooms, the metallic pipes are installed along the wall or at the floor surface.

There are aluminum, copper, or iron fins on the metal pipes that absorb heat from the hot fluid and transfer it to the surrounding air.

Normally, the heater is installed beneath the window to take in the dense air getting into the house through the window. When dense air falls around the hydronic baseboard heater, it’s heated and rises to circulate the room.

When the fluid loses its heat, it flows back to the boiler to be reheated by separate piping. This creates a cycle that ensures consistent heating.

The heater is installed with an automatic thermostat that switches the system on or off to regulate the set temperature.

Read: Liquid filled electric baseboard heaters

FAQs on Hydronic Baseboard Heater

How Do You Clean Hydronic Baseboard Heaters?

There are several ways to clean a hydronic baseboard heater as a maintenance method. First, you need to vacuum and dust the metal fins. With time, the metal fins get clogged with dust, grime, cobwebs, and pollen flowing with the air. Open the cover and vacuum the inner components. Then use a soft paintbrush to remove dust and other unwanted particles between the fins. Secondly, you need to flush your hydronic baseboard heater regularly. You can tilt the drain valve around the boiler’s bottom and open the bleeders to allow air in. Flushing the system is essential because water has minerals like calcium that build up and clog the pipes reducing the device efficiency.

How Much Hydronic Baseboard Heat Do I Need?

Hydronic baseboard heaters are very efficient because they go off once they heat the room to the set temperature. The hot fluid in the pipes can retain heat for several hours without the system running. With that said, the electric heaters that use elements require around 10 watts to heat one square foot. If you use other heating methods like gas, the cost is lower. However, the hydronic baseboard heaters have some more benefits. Take a look;

Cleaner air – they don’t draw in and blow out air. This mechanism enables cleaner air to circulate the room.
Quiet – they don’t have fans or other moving parts, reducing noise.
Energy efficient – the fluid can retain heat for an extended period. By retaining heat, much energy is saved.

Are Hydronic Baseboard Heaters Safe?

Hydronic baseboard heaters are considered safe if you observe safety precautions. These are the risk factors you should consider;

Fire – ensure all objects are placed at a safe distance. For window curtains, install them at 12 inches from the hydronic baseboard heater cover. Secondly, ensure your heater is covered to prevent kids and pets from contacting the inner components.
Injuries – when carrying out maintenance, don’t touch the fins with bare hands because they are usually sharp.

Once maintained and all safety precautions are observed, a hydronic baseboard heater will remain efficient and safe throughout its lifespan. 

Read: How to drywall around baseboard heat