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Natural gas and baseboard heating

leannedra Member Posts: 2
My husband and I are looking at buying a house that has baseboard heating.  There is also natural gas service at the house.  I initially thought baseboard heating was electric heat but I'm finding out there is hydronic heating.

Can you have baseboard heating with natural gas service?  If not, what would be the purpose of the natural gas connection?  Is there a way to tell if its electric heat or hydronic heat?

I've never had anything but forced air heat so I'm out of my realm on this one. Please help!


  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,281
    edited August 2011
    Of course you can

    and hydronic (hot-water) baseboard, using gas or oil as the fuel, is a lot less expensive to run than electric.

    If the baseboard units are fed by pipes rather than wires, and there is a boiler in the basement that heats the water for the baseboards, it's hydronic.

    Are you in a position to take pictures?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Gas Heating System

    It is most likely a hydronic (hot water) system though depending on the age of the house it could be a steam system. There should be a boiler in the basement which will look like a box with a lot of piping attached to it. Take some pictures of "the box" and piping leading to it and post it on this board and we should then be able to tell you what sort of system it is.

     If you are serious about the house you might want to look in the "Find a Contractor" section at the top of this page and see if there is a pro listed there located close to you. (Scroll down and use the States section as the zip code section doesn't work well)  In any case I would get a pro to look the heating system over as they could tell you the condition of the system and whether it is operating properly. Hydronic heat (Hot Water or steam)  is very nice and after having it a while you'll prefer it over forced air.

    - Rod
  • leannedra
    leannedra Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the info...

    We haven't actually been in the house yet - just looked through the windows so far - but we have an appointment to take a look at the house.  I'll check for a boiler and for pipes leading to the system.  I'll also see if I can take some pictures of the system.

    What are the advantages and disadvantages to hydronic heating?  The house was built in 1998, if that helps determine the type of system.
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Hot Water


    If it was built in 1998, it’s a hot water system and is probably reasonably up to date technology wise. You might want to get the boiler checked out as if original, it’s now 13 years old and while boilers can last much longer than that if it wasn’t properly maintained that can shorten the boiler’s useful life.

    Advantages of Hot Water Hydronics for heating:

    1. Economical to run. Modern  systems use just the amount of energy to get the job done.

    2. Quiet

    3. Gives steady even heat - not the “on and off” of forced air.

    4. Not drafty like forced air.

    5. The heat in each room can be individually adjusted.

    6. Cleaner than forced air as air movement is not distributing dust.

    Disadvantages of a Hot Water Heating System.

    There aren’t many. The only one I can think of is that since the heating system  contains water it might  freeze in cold weather if it is shut down or not running. This is easily remedied by the addition of a special anti freeze to the system.

    All heating systems require regular annual maintenance though quite often this isn’t never done until something stops working. . As I mentioned before, if you decide to buy the house, I would have a heating pro go over the system first to check and see that it doesn’t have any problems due to lack of maintenance.

    - Rod
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