How to Bleed Baseboard Heaters? Step-by-Step Instructions!

Keeping your baseboard heaters working effectively depends on how often you bleed them. The process is simpler than you think!
Last updatedLast updated: October 19, 2021
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Baseboard heaters are great when they’re working. They really warm up a room and keep your home nice and toasty. Sometimes though, when the radiators stop working, it can be quite frustrating. It gets more frustrating when a Google search reveals solutions like “bleed the air from the heaters.” What exactly does that mean, and how do you do it? If you’re not sure how to bleed baseboard heaters, our informative article will help you.

Additionally, our article will cover everything you need to know about heaters with bleeder valves and those that don’t have the required valves. Once you understand how your baseboard heater works, you’ll never struggle with cold, blocked heaters again. Read on to find out how the air bleeding process works!

How does air get in the system?

Air in your heating system is often referred to as your baseboard becoming “air-bound.” Essentially this means that a considerable amount of air has become trapped in the heater.

Air becomes trapped when there’s a blockage or an air bubble that forms in the pipes. The unit is then unable to circulate the hot water through the heating distribution system and doesn’t produce any heat to the room it’s in. Unlike the best pellet stoves, baseboard heaters can easily develop an air blockage.

Bleeding the air

The process of clearing the air out of the baseboard heater is referred to as “bleeding the air.” Basically, it means the air needs to be purged or let out of the pipes and heating system.

You might want to avoid the whole process of having to bleed the air out of baseboard heaters by investing in a Comfort Zone CZ600 Indoor Space Heater. This electrical heater’s advanced safety system includes a safety tip-over switch that easily cuts the power if the heater is accidentally bumped over by the kids or pets.

A stay-cool body and overheat protection sensor also prevent the unit from getting too hot. Additionally, this electric baseboard heater works silently and has a stylish design, allowing it to fit into any type of décor. With its 1500 Watt output, it’s the best heater for a large room!

Procedure

The good news is, it’s a DIY job, and you can easily do it in a few simple steps. Bleeding the air out of the heater will make the unit run more efficiently. It’ll also prevent any further damage to your heating system.

If your baseboard heating system has valves, the bleeding process is much easier because you can just bleed the valve that’s not heating up. It might not be necessary to do all the valves. However, if you’re doing a full maintenance on your baseboard heater, it might be a good idea to bleed all the valves.

Units that don’t have valves can be a little more complex. The unit will then have to be flushed, and because you can’t open individual valves, you’ll have to do the whole unit. Read on to see how you can bleed the units with and without valves.

How to bleed it with bleeder valves?

How to Bleed Baseboard Heaters? Step-by-Step Instructions!

If you don’t have any tools, don’t worry – you can use whatever you find around the house as easily.

Baseboard heaters have valves that release the built-up air in the pipes. Heaters that have valves make the process so much easier. You’ll need a radiator key or a screwdriver, a small bowl, and a cloth to touch any warm parts as well as to clean up any water spills.

  • Switch the baseboard heating system on. You’ll need the heaters on to establish which units aren’t getting hot.
  • Identify which units aren’t warming up the way they should be.
  • Switch the heating off and let the radiators cool.
  • Select the radiator furthest from the boiler. On it, you’ll find a small bleeder valve that can be opened with a flat-head screwdriver or radiator key Trusted Source What is a Radiator Key? - Wonkee Donkee Tools Radiator keys are hand tools for undoing, tightening and adjusting the fittings of a central heating radiator. They are also known as radiator spanners, radiator wrenches, valve keys, air release keys and bleed or bleeder keys. www.wonkeedonkeetools.co.uk .
  • Place a small bowl or pot under the valve for the water to run into.
  • Use the radiator key or screwdriver to open the valve. Only open it slightly so that small amounts of water can bleed out. If the pipes and valves are still warm to the touch, use your cloth to avoid scalding.
  • There will be air coming out of the valve as well which is the air that has caused the blockage.
  • Once only water (no air) comes out, turn the valve clockwise. Do this for each heater, leaving the valve closest to the boiler for last.
  • Test the boiler when you’re done bleeding the valves to make sure the heater is heating up properly.

How to bleed it without bleeder valves?

Unfortunately, not all baseboard heaters have bleeder valves. The reason for this varies. It could be as a result of cheaper design or installers cutting corners.

Essentially, you’ll be flushing water around the loop and draining it out of a hose instead of the back of the heater.
This process can result in additional air being trapped in the heating system, so it’ll require some careful work on your part. Follow these few steps:
  • Put a hose on the drain valve.
  • Open the drain and allow the water to run clear without any air.
  • You’ll have to run water through your whole system to find the trapped air.
  • This can take a bit of time, but unfortunately, if your unit has no valves, this is the way to do it.
  • Often homeowners tend to hire professionals for units that don’t have visible valves as the hose and flushing isn’t always as effective as is required.

If you have a baseboard heating system that’s old and doesn’t have the necessary valves, you might be thinking of replacing the unit entirely. If that’s the case, you might consider one of the best-infrared heaters or even a Fahrenheat FBE15002 Portable Electric Baseboard Heater.

Its portable design means you can move this unit around between rooms. A 120-volt plug will work in most electric outlets. As a safety feature, the unit has an overheat protection feature, which prevents the heater from functioning when the air intake is blocked.

By using convection heat, the unit keeps allergens, bacteria, and dust from blowing around the house. Natural convection Trusted Source Natural Convection - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics Natural convection refers to situations where a buoyancy difference resulting from a temperature difference in a fluid causes movement of the fluid. www.sciencedirect.com means the heat will be moved around the room without loud fans or noisy components. This nifty system is considered to be one of the best types of heating systems currently on the market!

Final thoughts

With our easy-to-follow steps, bleeding your baseboard heat system is easier than you think. You might want to consider hiring a professional if your heating system doesn’t have any bleeder valves. Hiring a professional contractor will get the job done quickly and correctly.

The good news, though, is that most baseboard heaters have the required valves. Units with valves are much easier to bleed. And you can set up a schedule to maintain your baseboards heaters throughout the winter months. You no longer have to spend your day wondering how to bleed your baseboard heater. Bleed the air out of your baseboard heaters and returned the heat and coziness to your home!

References

1.
What is a Radiator Key? - Wonkee Donkee Tools
Radiator keys are hand tools for undoing, tightening and adjusting the fittings of a central heating radiator. They are also known as radiator spanners, radiator wrenches, valve keys, air release keys and bleed or bleeder keys.
2.
Natural Convection - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics
Natural convection refers to situations where a buoyancy difference resulting from a temperature difference in a fluid causes movement of the fluid.
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