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Hot Water Baseboards

A hot water baseboard is a type of home heating unit that uses boiling hot water to warm a space through a combination of radiation and convection heat.  Traditionally, these heating units were the most popular method of heating prior to the introduction of forced air systems. You can find many hot water baseboards in older homes throughout Manhattan.  Because the system focuses on water as the main conduit of heat, a plumber is responsible for the majority of repairs and installations.  A Manhattan plumber can help with any problem related to a hot water baseboard in an emergency scenario, or routine checkup.

How Does a Hot water Baseboard Work?

The design of a hot water baseboard is simple. Water is distributed and heated by a boiler, or hot water tank, and is pumped to “fin-tube” baseboard radiators along the walls.  By using “fin-tube” piping, the surface area of the hot water heat dissipation is increased, which increased the productivity of the system.  While the system is heating and pumping water, air is simultaneously distributed through the process of convection. For fuel sources, hot water baseboard radiators are powered by natural gas, oil, propane, or electricity.

There are many advantages and disadvantages when using hot water baseboards.


Typically, baseboard units are more efficient that competitors, as they use less energy to heat the home. Baseboard units are relatively quiet in comparison to popular forced air units that use a loud fan to power the system.  The boiling of water cannot be heard unless you are standing very closer to the heating unit. Temperature can be controlled through the use of a normal thermostat. All you have to do is raise or lower the overall heat number to the desired temperature.  The unit can also be switched on and off with relative ease.


Baseboards must be placed in an area an area of room that is, uncovered, blocked, or hidden. This may make furniture placement difficult and can hinder interior design initiatives. Additionally, as a result of the need for baseboards to be exposed, slight burn risk is higher for small children who may stick their hands in the unit.

Although the unit can be controlled with a standard thermostat, it does take a longer time for temperatures in the house to increase.

Lastly, baseboard heating does not provide any form of cooling operations. For homes that have baseboard heating will require another system for cooling initiatives.

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