How to Repair Noisy Hydronic Baseboard Heaters

Hydronic baseboard heaters are one of the oldest home heating systems available. The heaters are usually installed along the bottom of a wall. They draw cool air from the room, heat the air, and then discharge it from the top of the heater into the room. The heater makes use of heated fluid to regulate temperatures indoors. It is vital that you don’t block the convection units with furniture, curtains or other items. Obstructions tend to lower the heater's efficiency. Baseboard heaters are one of the quietest and most efficient heating systems you can install in your home. However, there are times when you may hear your heater gurgle. It may also make pops and bangs. This is caused by trapped air in the system and friction from pipes expanding when heated. To repair your noisy heater, you need to bleed the system as outlined below.

Materials Needed

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Radiator key
  • Small bucket
  • Old towel
  • Foam pipe insulation
  • Vinyl tape
  • Razor knife

Step 1 – Switch On the Heater

Turn on your heater. This ensures that the trapped air is forced out once the water begins to move.

Step 2 – Locate Bleeder Valve

This may be found where the water pipe attaches to the baseboard. If your house has centralized heating, the valve should be found on top of the main radiator. It may have a knob or small screw that secures it to the system.

Step 3 – Position Bucket

Place a small bucket at the end of the bleeder valve. This serves to capture the water that flows out once the air is released. You may also want to lay an old towel on the ground to absorb water spills.

Step 4 – Open Valve

Twist the knob counterclockwise to open the valve. If the valve has a small screw with a straight slot, twist it counterclockwise with the help of a flathead screwdriver. Otherwise, you may require a radiator key to open the valve. Open the valve slowly to allow the trapped air to be released from the system. You should hear the air hiss as it escapes. Once you see water beginning to flow from the valve, do not turn the valve anymore. Leave it open until the hissing stops. This indicates that all the trapped air has been released. Exercise caution as the water is released. It can be very hot and may scald you on direct contact.

Step 5 – Close the Valve

Turn the knob in a clockwise direction until you’re unable to turn it any further. For screws, tighten the screw firmly in a clockwise direction with the screwdriver or radiator key. Remove the bucket of water and towel.

Step 6 – Insulate the Pipes

It helps if you cushion the pipes of your heater with insulation. Cut the insulation with a razor knife to fit around the pipes. Attach vinyl tape to hold it in place. This helps to eliminate noises once the system is heated up. It also helps to reduce energy loss. When the insulation appears to be worn out, remove and replace it with new insulation.