HVAC solutions for asthmatics

Troubleshooting A Hydronic Baseboard Water Heating System

If you have a heater in your home that supplies heat through a hydronic baseboard system, then water is heated and moved through the pipes in the heating registers. The warmth from the water radiates into the air to heat your home. If your heater is running, but no heat is coming from the baseboard registers, then there may be an issue with the hydronic part of the heating system. To troubleshoot your heating issue, keep reading.

Bleed Air From The System

When your furnace turns on, a burner is lit with the help of gas, electricity, propane, or heating oil. Water is pulled into a series of pipes that sit above the burner. The burner warms the water, and a water pump moves the water through the pipes in the baseboard heating registers. The warm water will move to the designated zone or room that needs to be warmed. The water releases heat and then moves back to the furnace to be heated once again. 

The water that moves through the heating system will be recycled over and over again. However, water loss will occur on occasion. Small holes can form in the water pipes, and water may sometimes be lost through condensation. Most heating systems will have a water flow control valve that pumps water into the system when fluid is lost. However, large air pockets may get stuck in the pipes. The air can block the flow of water through one, several, or all of the pipes that feed the baseboard registers. 

Air can typically be removed by bleeding the system. You will need to first locate all the baseboard radiators and the bleed valves on these radiators. Start at the radiator the farthest away from your furnace, and use either a screwdriver or a radiator key to open the valve. Place a small dish under the valve and wait for water to start coming out. Close the valve and move to the next farthest one from the heater. 

Replace The Water Flow Control Valve

If you notice that water does not come out of the bleeder valves or if hot water does not move through the baseboards, then the water flow control valve may not be working correctly. To check to see if this valve is working, you will need to drain the water from the furnace first. Look for a drain valve on the bottom of the furnace. Connect a hose to the valve and place the end of the hose in a sink or near a basement floor drain. 

Open the drain valve to allow water to flow out of the furnace. Close the valve and remove the hose when you are done. Afterwards, look for a valve on the water inlet pipe that feeds the furnace. There will be a small push button or knob on the top of the valve. It may be labeled as a quick fill button. Press this button. If the valve is working correctly, then you should hear water pouring into the furnace. If it is broken, then you will not hear anything and a replacement is needed.

The water flow control valve is threaded into place along the middle of the water intake pipe. This means that it can be removed by twisting it off. Turn off the water at the main before removing the valve. You also may need a plumbing wrench to release the valve. Once it is removed, take the valve to your local home or plumbing supply store to find a part that matches. Twist the valve into place and turn the water back on. Test the new valve by pressing the quick fill button and investigating whether water flows into the furnace. 

Contact a local professional, such as Custom Comfort, for assistance.