What Is a Baseboard Heating System?


Quick Answer

A baseboard heating system is a unit installed near the floor above baseboards to heat a home or office. Baseboard heating systems can be used as a supplemental heat option or as an alternative to forced-air heating systems.

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Full Answer

Baseboard heating systems are typically commonplace in older homes that may not accommodate the use of the ductwork needed for forced-air heating systems; ductwork isn't necessary for baseboard heating systems. In many cases, baseboard heating systems may offer a less noisy option compared to the blowers that are part of forced-air heating systems.

Baseboard heating systems are relatively easy to install and do not require ongoing maintenance. The heat radiates evenly versus intermittent blasts that occur with forced air heating systems. To operate, baseboard heating units heat water in a boiler, then pipe heat to baseboard units mounted along the walls. The heat rises as air is distributed by convection. Boilers used with baseboard heating systems are typically fueled by electricity, oil, propane or natural gas.

Baseboard heating systems are considered to be energy efficient and offer close temperature control. When installing this type of heating system, residents must avoid placing furniture or drapes in front of the unit to eliminate obstructions.

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