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Baseboard Heating

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Baseboard Heating Performance Issue

The Home Wizard app calculates your ideal home care program to avoid problems with your Baseboard Heating, but sometimes trouble can still occur. Here are answers to questions about baseboard heating performance issue.

QUESTION FROM Dwight Gregory

If power is lost, due to storm,where can I connect temporary 110 volts to my hot water oil fired furnace so pipes won't freeze? Any information would be appreciated.


Dear Dwight:

If power is going to be out just temporarily, then there are a couple of things you can do to keep the water pipes in your house from freezing:

Regarding your oil-fired furnace and its hot water heating pipes, you have a couple of options:

1) If you are concerned that the power could be off for quite a while, you could turn off your furnace and drain all of the water out of your heating system (but of course, then you will need to refill it and purge out the air to start it back up).

2) A variation of this is to open the drains on each of your zones just enough to keep a slow steady drip flowing. This way you will have water movement, which can help prevent the pipes from freezing. And if the power comes on soon, then you won't have to refill your entire system, just what has drained out from the slow drips. However, you will need to be familiar enough with the piping of your heating system to be sure that you have the right valves open to allow water to circulate through all of your heating loops, including through your furnace.

3) However, with the power off, I would NOT recommend trying to wire up your furnace and water circulation pump to a temporary power supply, unless you are absolutely sure what you are doing.

4) But if your circulation pump for your heating system is the type that is plugged into a standard electrical outlet, then you might want to consider plugging this pump into your temporary generator (and I assume that you know that you should NEVER run a fuel-burning generator indoors). However as mentioned above, you will need to be familiar enough with the piping of your heating system to be sure that you have the right valves open to allow water to circulate through all of your heating loops, including through your furnace. Keeping the water circulating in your heating system can help prevent it from freezing.

Now regarding your household water supply (to sinks, washing machine, toilets, etc.) there are a couple of things you can do:

1) turn on faucets to drip slightly, as the movement will help keep the pipes from freezing. Remember to drip hot water faucets as well, so this will keep water moving through your water heater tank.

2) you need to drain the water out of all of your toilets, sump pumps, etc. Wherever you have standing water.

3) open cabinets under sinks, etc. where the backs of the cabinets are against outside walls. This allows warmer air from inside the house to circulate around where the sink pipes are.

Hope this is helpful.


How do you remove air that is trapped in pipes of hot water base board heaters?



Please note: BE VERY CAREFUL working around your boiler, as the water can be SCALDING HOT.

I'm assuming you have air in your baseboard hot water system and it's making noise, which is a common complaint this time of year. Regarding the procedure for bleeding air from your baseboard heating system, first shut off your boiler and make a note of the water pressure. Next locate the self-feeding (auto-makeup) water valve and ensure that the make-up water supply is connected and water is available. Then open up all of you valves that go to your various heating zones. Then close all of the shut-off valves. Next, attach a short piece of garden hose to one of the spigots coming off of the return line that goes back to your boiler. While manually opening the auto-makeup valve, open the spigot and let the water run in to a bucket or a drain. BE VERY CAREFUL, as the water coming out of the hose will likely be very hot. Let it run until you no longer see any air bubbles, which could take several minutes. While you are doing this, keep an eye on the water pressure and don't let it get above 25 PSI. If needed to control the pressure, release the auto-makeup valve momentarily. After you have stopped seeing air bubbles, release the auto makeup valve and close spigot. Allow the water pressure to return to normal. You then repeat these steps until all of your zones have been bled. When done, close all of your zone valves and open all of your shut-off valves. Then check the water pressure, which should be the same as what you noted at the beginning. And then finally, turn your boiler back on.

Hope this is helpful.


How does a baseboard heater boiler replace water after heating up? In other words, how does the boiler know how much water to replace?


Gene in Maine:

When a baseboard heating system heats up, the water in the system expands, and since it is a closed system, this expanded volume of water has to go somewhere. This is why baseboard heating systems have an “expansion tank” that accommodates this additional water volume. Note however, when the boiler heats up, the water expands taking up MORE volume, rather than water needing to be replaced.

But your question seems to be about how water is replaced, so let me describe how this works. Water needs to be replaced if the baseboard heating system has a leak somewhere in the system. The system handles this by a pressure regulator that allows fresh water supply from the house to replace this lost water. Water will come into the system until the pressure that is lost from the leakage of water is brought back up to the setting on the pressure valve. The water is replaced essentially instantaneously. If there is a significant water leak in your baseboard heating system then you will hear water being replaced, which will sound like someone has briefly opened a faucet somewhere in the house.

Hope this is helpful.


purchased a home with 2-zone heating, second zone is for the rec. room which we do not use and would like to turn off the heat. If I turn off the water at the furnace leading to the rec. room, do I have to shut off anything on the furnace? Thermostat is set at 55o but is registering 70o.


Catherine / Cathy:

We have tried several times to send the answer to your question to the email addresses that you have registered with, and they have all come back non-deliverable.

Could you please check that the email address that you put in your profile is correct, or that you do not have a spam filter with AOL that is set to block messages from Home-Wizard. This way we will be able to send you a response to your question.


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