What You Might Not Know About Baseboard Heaters
What You Might Not Know About Baseboard Heaters

What You Might Not Know About Baseboard Heaters

There are two main types of baseboard heaters: electric and hydronic. Despite sharing a few key similarities, the two function in completely different ways. Here’s what you might not know about baseboard heaters—and why you should typically pick a hydronic baseboard heater over an electric one.

Electric vs. Hydronic

As the name suggests, electric baseboard heating systems use electricity to directly heat your home. Hydronic systems operate off electricity, too, with one minor difference: they heat the room indirectly through steam that emanates from heated water.

Since electric baseboards take a direct approach, they’re less energy efficient, and if you’re not careful, they can pose a major risk to your home. If your heaters are too close to flammable objects, you could end up with burns on your furniture or a blazing fire. Hydronic systems are more energy efficient, and they pose fewer risks to your furniture and home.

What’s a Fin Tube?

Baseboard heaters are equipped with something called a fin tube. Fin tubes are spiral-shaped tubes with small fins coating the outer surface. The fins increase the surface area of the tube, which improves the heater’s overall heat transfer rate.

How Do Hydronic Systems Work?

Let’s learn a little more about hydronic baseboard heaters and why they’re useful additions to your home. One thing you might not know about baseboard heaters is how they function. The type of heat that hydronic heaters produce is mostly convective. A stream of hot water passes through the heater, heating air between its fin tubes. This sets the convection process in motion. The warm air rises through a gap at the top of the baseboard heater’s enclosure, and cool air flows in at floor level to replace it.

The heater’s heat output is highly reliant on water temperature, which is an important consideration when you’re sizing your baseboard heater. The length of your baseboard heater should be adjusted accordingly to the water temperature.

Why Use a Baseboard Heater?

Newer, modern methods of heating are slowly overtaking the traditional ones, but that doesn’t mean baseboard heaters are outdated. Baseboard heaters have plenty of benefits, including easy installation and maintenance processes. Since there’s no ductwork involved, baseboard heaters are simple to install. This makes them fantastic options for older homes. The lack of ductwork makes for easy cleaning, too. Take off the cover, sweep up the dirt and dust, and you’re done.

A common misconception about baseboard heaters is that they’re loud. The truth is, they’re not. Unlike forced air heating systems, which loudly and repeatedly blow heated air, baseboard heaters are designed to operate quietly.

If you think regular baseboard heaters are unsightly, there’s good news. A decorative baseboard heater cover won’t just cover up the bad—it comes with the added bonus of improving your heater’s function and preventing the buildup of rust.

If you need a sturdy, reliable cover for your hydronic baseboard heater, come check out EZSnap™ Cover’s selection of functional and decorative baseboard heater covers.

Also in Home Improvement by EZ Snap Covers

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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.