The Basics of Hydronic Baseboards

The Basics of Hydronic Baseboards

In the late 1940s, hydronic baseboards were introduced as lightweight and easily installed alternatives to cast-iron radiators. Today, they dominate both new and retrofit markets for hydronic heating. But what is hydronic heating? How does a hydronic baseboard differ from an electric baseboard? Let’s go over the basics of hydronic baseboards and why they’re the safest, most efficient option for heating your home.

How Hydronic Baseboard Heating Works

The mechanics of a hydronic baseboard unit are similar to, but slightly different from, those of an electric unit. Electricity still generates the system’s heat, but instead of doing it directly, it does it indirectly. To start, an electrical current warms up an enclosed fluid—either oil or water. This fluid is obtained from a boiler, which is heated by gas, oil, or electricity. Once the fluid is heated, it’s pumped through a series of pipes installed in the baseboard. These pipes are usually fin-shaped, which ensures faster dissipation of heat from the surface of the pipe. The fluid radiates heat throughout the room and, once it has cooled down again, is piped back to the boiler room, replaced with fresh fluid, and reheated.

The Benefits of Hydronic Baseboards

Now that you know the basics of hydronic baseboards, let’s look at the benefits. Hydronic baseboard heating systems are more efficient than electrical units. Once the fluid is warm, it takes longer to cool down. The metal fins in an electric baseboard, by comparison, cool down quickly. In short, this means a hydronic baseboard is better at retaining heat, which translates into a warmer home and reduced operating costs.

Another unique benefit of hydronic baseboard heaters is the lack of forced ventilation. Compared to a home where a central air conditioner is blowing air through the vents, hydronic baseboard heaters are quieter and produce less dust. They’re also safer than electric units. With a hydronic-based system, you won’t have to worry about damaged furniture, burns, or worse.

Planning the switch to a hydronic system or need a sleek, efficient cover for your existing baseboard unit? EZSnap™ Covers carries custom, decorative, and replacement hot water baseboard covers made from epoxy powder–coated galvanized steel. They’re durable and strong, and they install in a snap. What are you waiting for?

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Measure Your Baseboard Heaters

How to measure baseboard heaters:

Step 1

Always measure left to right, and twice for accuracy

Step 2 

Always measure left to right, and twice for accuracy

Step 3


Based on how your heater is configured,

choose an option below to expand and view

specific hot water baseboard heater measurement templates.

[+] Option 1: Straight Heater Configuration
[+] Option 2: L-Shape and U-Shape Configuration
[+] Option 3: 45 Degrees, Z-Shape Configuration


Now that you’ve learned how to measure baseboard heaters,

you’re ready to order.