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Extreme Balance Problem

MB Member Posts: 3
Happy New Year!
We live in a 2 year old home in MA with oil / hot water / baseboard heat. Our 2nd floor has a baseboard / fins / loop system.
The loop starts out in my youngest sons room (15’), moves to the hallway (6’), the Master Bedroom (20’), the Master Bath (8’) the Kids Bath (5’) and then to my oldest sons room (12’). Oddly, my oldest son's room is larger than his brother's room yet it's on the end of the loop and on the NE side of the house.
All doors are kept closed at night.
My youngest son is just over 1 year old so this is the first winter he has spent in his own room. That is why we are just discovering this balance problem.
For a while we have noticed the extreme difference in temps between the boy’s rooms. We had a professional out to the house yesterday and he did remove 3 feet of fins from the hottest bedroom. That didn’t seem to help much however.
This morning at 6:00 AM, my youngest son’s room temperature was 77.8 degrees. The hallway was around 73.4. The Master Bedroom was approximately 71 and my oldest son’s bedroom (last on the loop) was 70. The thermostat is located in the Master Bedroom and was set to approximately 73 degrees (we’re searching for a temp that does the best job of keeping each room from getting too uncomfortable).
I suppose the next step that the pro will recommend is removing more fins but this makes me a little nervous as he told me that this process is not reversible. I understand that wrapping foil around the pipe in the hotter room might also help to balance things off.
I also saw something on this site about TRV which appears to be the solution to our problem. Can TRV be installed after the system is already in place and approximately how much can we expect to pay?
Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance and stay safe …. MB


  • tp tunstall
    tp tunstall Member Posts: 63
    to use

    a trv , you will have to change the piping system. get back with that professional and get his advice.
  • MB
    MB Member Posts: 3
    Follow up

    I spoke to the professional today and he wasn't sure why the fin removal had no effect.
    When I mentioned the TRV he wasn't sure what it was. Very nice guy but he seemed to be out of ideas to correct the problem. That's why I decided to post here hoping that somebody has experienced a similar situation and discovered a solution.
    Does adding a TRV in the first bedroom really require changing the entire piping system? If that's the case we'll need to explore other options.
    I'm pretty desperate for ideas. We're not at all comfortable with our kids continuing to sleep in rooms that can be too cold or oppressively hot.
  • jeff_25
    jeff_25 Member Posts: 110

    have you tryed closing and opening the dampers on the baseboard also check the cold room that the finn is in right and under the finn the carpet is not blocking the air flow also furnure placement not up tight to baseboard aslo drapes dont hang over the baseboard close tha damper in the warm room open in the cold room
  • Jerry Boulanger_2
    Jerry Boulanger_2 Member Posts: 111
    Baseboard works by drawing

    cool air in the bottom of the element enclosure, heating it with the element, and discharging warm air out the top. No airflow - no heat. Some types of residential baseboard have adjustable air dampers built into the cabinet to regulate the output.

    Try blocking off the airflow through part of the element in the overheating rooms with something temporary, like cardboard and masking tape. This will have the double effect of reducing the heat output in those rooms and delivering warmer water downstream. It will be trial and error, but it's easy, non-destructive, and reversible. If you find the right balance, replace the temporary dampers with something more permanent and cosmetically acceptable.
  • Steve_24
    Steve_24 Member Posts: 6

    Would Enerjee's bypass TRV (see http://www.enerjee.com/bypass/) allow individual baseboard control in a loop layout with minimal repiping?
  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    HOW ABOUT....

    What would appear to be the easiest solution, place the thermostat centrally, and don't close all the doors. Let the air set its temp. to a central location, and the rooms will more likely than not all see about the same temp..

    If privacy is the main issue, this won't work, but it will if the air is allowed to "mediate". Just my 2 pennies. Chris
  • Can you tell us...

    what the supply temperature is and what the return temperature is,measured at each end of the baseboard zone?

    Also, the actual length of finned tube in the zone? I'm trying to figure out water flow rate, as well as if you have enough air flowing through it.

    Too slow flow rate will do what you describe, if everything else is OK.

  • reply

    I have had this happen to me before, a couple of times and it ended up being a water flow/pump size issue. this came back to the length of the loop, itself. It sounds like Neol might be on top of this for you. Get the starting temp and ending temp of the rads, and the length. This is a good start.
  • Boilerpro_3
    Boilerpro_3 Member Posts: 1,231
    In addition to Noel's suggestions..

    if the thermostat is set for too short of cycle, the pump may not be cirulating long enough to get hot water to the end of the loop on each cycle. Just another thought.

  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909

    can block the bottom of the baseboard and effectivley shut it off.

    Check to make sure that the bottom opening of the baseboard is not blocked.

    Mark H

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  • Dave Yates (PAH)
    Dave Yates (PAH) Member Posts: 2,162
    one resolution

    we utilized in a troublesome application (apartment building) where the existing system refused to balance due to diminishing water temperatures, was to install a Danfoss thermostatic valve in the room that was governing the unit and then relocating the zone valve thermostat to the coldest area, which was the master bedroom. When the livingroom area is satisfied, the Danfoss valve closes forcing the water through the smaller 1/2" diameter tubing, which routes it to the remaining fin-tube baseboard. This grants the opportunity for continued heating until the bedroom thermostat is satisfied.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • Joe_13
    Joe_13 Member Posts: 201
    On the overheating room

    were you've removed fins, I would get some cheap polyethylene pipe insulation down at HD and start covering the unfinned copper tubing.
  • mellow
    mellow Member Posts: 19
    Sorry but lets start at the begining

    The first thing that should be done is a heatloss. This is a formula that will tell us how much heat is needed in each room and with out that, everyone is Assuming things. This will give us a specific amount of heat needed in each room and we can compare that with whats there. This is a service ofered by your service man or your local fuel dealer hopefully. The system should be inspected for other problems at the same time. This is a time consuming task and is worth every minute but should not be taken lightly. The baseboard system you discribed is very common an so is this problem but do not give up hope this can be fixed.
  • Floyd_5
    Floyd_5 Member Posts: 418
    My vote ....

    goes with you, Noel

    I think it sounds like a flow issue.

    With out further info. it is impossible to say for sure.
    but it sure seems like what you would end of with if you had "ghost flow", and that may if fact be what you are seeing...
    it could be enough to keep the circ off most of the time....
    maybe a bad check valve, or the header is piped in such a way tto cause it..

    just some thoughts... gotta be "in the flow" somewhere....
  • steve_26
    steve_26 Member Posts: 82

    The room that overheats,how big is it LxW? South or north ect.
    I think the heat loss needs to be calculated first as stated before..If I read correctly you should have about 12' off fintube and depending on the Manufac. lets say 600BTU's per ft. So need to know how big the room is..
  • MB
    MB Member Posts: 3

    First off thanks so much to all who have responded. What a great site!
    Per Jerry’s suggestion, last night I blocked off the bottom of the baseboard in the hottest room by running some tin foil the entire length. This AM the temp in that room was only 73 and change. The Master Bedroom was a comfortable 72 and the normally cold bedroom was in the vicinity of 71. What was a 7 to 8 degree difference in the kid’s bedrooms was only 2 degrees last night. I’m going to keep this temporary fix in place for a couple more nights before I move to install anything more permanent.
    Since I can’t close off the bottom of my baseboard cover, any thoughts on what would be an aesthetically acceptable way to accomplish this? Is it as simple as buying an upgraded form of baseboard cover which does have some type of damper at the bottom?
    Ideally I would like to have something that is adjustable in case there is a need to open a portion of it back up in the future.
    Thanks again and Happy New Year! MB
  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542

    That's the first time I ever heard of that...:-)

    It sounds prety serious though. I know how I'd feel if someone had plucked a bunch of my fins off...and it's NOT good. Fortunately, if necessary (doubtful) the fin tube can be replaced. Don't let him pluck around with your fin tubes any more.

    Stick with the aluminum foil trick. It's reversible and adjustable. If you go with the TRV and bypass thing, I'd go with the EnerJee system. Makes the most sense. Be oreoared fir a slightly higher fuel bill, but greater overall comfort, which most people feel is reasonable.

    In the rooms of coolness, check the fin tibe for blockages (animal hair, dust bunnies) and make sure the dampers are open.

    What size of pipe, pump and how long a piping run?

    I've had to do this once or twice in my career...maybe it was three times, I don't know:-)

    Pictures and sketch/schematics would be helpful:::

    We'll get it figgered out.


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