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baseboard controls?

rich_4 Member Posts: 3
hi folks,
i'm installing my first baseboard heat zone and am planning to use simple series loop piping. my question is under which circumstances are any valves or other controls necessary along the loop and at what baseboard element interval should they be used? some of the books i have show controls in series loop diagrams but offer no explanation in the text. this first zone is a simple one for my basement workshop and is a test run for installing another, more complicated zone in my apartment on the second floor. any other series loop baseboard tips also appreciated


  • series loop baseboard

    A few rules I go by.. I like to use a ball valve and a tee with a boiler drain as a purge station on each loop, located just before the pipe enters the return manifold, if multi-zoned. If a single zone, locate it before the return pipe enters the boiler.

    On a basement zone, that may be enough, unless each riser from the baseboard goes from the floor to the ceiling. If that is the case, manual air vents at the high spots will help a lot. The same thing can be said of upper floor runs.

    Another thing to consider is the pipe size. 1/2" copper pipe can feed 15,000 BTUHs of baseboard, not counting the pipe between the units. Normal residential baseboard would be about 25'. 3/4" copper carries 40,000 BTUHs, or about 67'. One inch pipe will carry 80,000 BTUH. These numbers figure with a 20° F. temperature drop from the supply to the return of the boiler. Use the average of the supply and return numbers to figure your baseboard lengths off the charts to meet the heat loss of the room.

    Size the circulator to the TOTAL length of the baseboard and the pipe connecting it.

    When you hang the pipe and when you drill the holes, remember that the pipe moves. Allow room for the pipe to not touch wood. That is where the noises come from. 20' of copper pipe grows a quarter inch in length when the heat comes on. It shrinks after the heat satisfies. The risers up and down through the floor usually soak up the expansion by tilting. If you have a long run under the floor, or a long run of baseboard, plan for this movement by using hanger types that allow for it, and favor one side of the hole through the floor with the pipe, to allow the long pipe to grow longer without rubbing.

    Where carpet or rugs may be used, lift the baseboard off the floor to allow for air flow. Don't go too high or the risers will show under the end caps. I also like to shim a quarter inch on tile or sheet floors, too, to keep it from trapping moisture at the bottom.

    Use Rust Resistor baseboard in bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements and other moist areas. Handle the baseboard covers carefully. If you scratch the paint in handling at installation time, little rust lines may form there, six months later.

    If you trim any baseboard covers to length, plan to have the cut end under an end cap. The splice plates where two pieces join in the middle like a clean factory edge.

    Use only enough flux, always. Too much flux makes pinholes in the last 8" of baseboard in a very short time. Clean your piping out after you solder it. Wipe your joints while hot. Ream your cuts, too.

    I'm sure I'll think of something else, soon.

  • rich_4
    rich_4 Member Posts: 3
    thanks noel

    thanks for all the excellent info. i should have mentioned that i have a new gas boiler already set up for 4 zones (one of which is for indirect hot water) so the circulators (taco 007's) are in place and the return manifold is already set up with purge valves for the as yet uninstalled zones. as far as high spots, there won't be any in the basement zone as i plan to run the pipe (3/4") straight through from each baseboard element to the next. however there may be some risers on the second floor zone so i will install manual air vents at these spots.

    as for the pipe size versus baseboard total run, i've been reading lots on these topics and what you say reinforces what i've read so far. ditto on the pipe expansion.
    i really like the flux tip. i wasn't aware of this last 8 inch pinhole risk. in the past i've been pretty liberal with flux but not anymore. however, i'm not too clear on what you mean by cleaning out piping after soldering. and i've always thought that you shouldn't mess with (wipe) a hot joint for fear of compromising the joint. i guess i still have alot to learn about soldering pipe versus soldering electronics...
  • cleaning

    Some installers purge and flush the zone with only hot water from the boiler. Some use commercial cleaners, (follow the label directions) and flush the flux and dirt and oils that way.


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