Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit

upgrading hot water baseboards question

vic5991 Member Posts: 1
Hi all,

I recently purchased my first home last summer. Previously i lived at my parents who had natural gas forced air heating.

My house has an NTI boiler that is newish, and has hot water baseboard heaters throughout the house that look really old. Last winter my house was absolutely freezing, and that was with cranking the heat all winter. The worst part is we dont have natural gas, we have propane, so we ran through quite a bit of propane and the house wasnt even warm. 

Now heres my questions, the NTI boiler seems to be functioning, but the baseboard heaters do not seem to give off alot of heat, some dont seem to work at all. 1. Do baseboard heaters require replacement after a certain amount of years? My house was built in the 70s and it could very well be the original baseboard heaters.

2. Is it worth it to replace the heating to some other alternative, are hot water baseboard heaters considered "outdated"

3. Would we be best calling a plumber, or an HVAC specialist to inspect the baseboard heaters and tell us if they are working/need cleaning? We've tried opening them up and taking a look but our knowledge is minimum.

Thanks for the help everyone, would like to attempt to fix the heating prior to this upcoming winter, cause it was awful last year.

I have photos of the boiler/baseboard heaters if need be.


  • fenkel
    fenkel Member Posts: 132
    i would have your boiler inspected and any adjustments made to it first.. boiler and heating system may need to be cleaned as well. then go from there...
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,328
    Baseboard heaters do not wear out. They do need to be reasonably clean, and they do need to be able to circulate the air -- not blocked by furniture or curtains or what have you.

    And they are not considered "outdated".

    They also need the hot water from the boiler circulating, and if they aren't giving off enough heat -- if any -- that is the place to look. There are lots of things to look for in that regard. Are the circulating pumps running? Is there air in the pipes? Is the system fill pressure high enough (but not too high)? Are any control valves open on a call for heat? Is the boiler actually heating the water enough? Has it been cleaned and the burners adjusted lately -- like yearly? A competent heating contractor can check all those things -- and more.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,810
    @Jamie Hall has it right. Get it checked out by someone who knows what they are doing.
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 339
    You'll get better response if pics are supplied.
    The "need be" there.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,306
    edited August 2020
    There could be several things wrong, but any major issues with the BBs themselves is probably further down on the list - assuming the fins are reasonably clean and the covers are intact.

    The Out Door Reset curve (ODR) on the boiler may not be set correctly causing the SWT to be too low. It also sounds like you have a circulation problem which means there could be air in the system which needs to be purged.

    The average plumber or HVAC tech is usually clueless on these systems and can do more harm than good. You need a hydronic specialist. Try the contract locator above.

    In the mean time, please post some pics of the boiler, its near piping and controls, and some of your BBs.

    How does a wonderful heat source become out dated?
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 1,555
    @vic5991, I've merged your two posts because they are on the same topics. And yes, please post photos of your system. Thanks!
  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 287
           As others have mentioned, check the baseboard fin tubes; after 50 years it's not uncommon for dust, dander, pet hair, etc. to be built up on the fins and preventing air flow.  Are the dampers fully open? I've seen carpet installed too close & too high at the front cover; the opening at the bottom of the front cover should be equal to or greater than the top opening of the baseboard......
Sign In or Register to comment.


It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!