Suspected carpet blockage with hydronic baseboards

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Old 11-17-14, 12:42 PM
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Suspected carpet blockage with hydronic baseboards

Good Afternoon Folks,

I recently bought a ~1960 house with slant fin hydronic baseboards which I have pretty limited experience with. The upstairs bedrooms really aren't heating all that well compared to the rest of the house, and I suspect the new carpet installed by previous owners might be too thick to get good circulation.

The PO upgraded to a high-efficiency natural gas boiler with all new Taco control, circulators, zone valves and t-stats about 5 years ago. That work was done by a reputable mechanical contractor with permits, so I don't think it's a problem with system design or performance. The boiler consistently reads around 180F @ 20 psi, which I believe is normal for this type of system. There are three heating zones about 600sq each plus the hot water tank on zone 4.

Here is the baseboard in the bedroom -- the gap between the heater and top of the carpet is about 1/2". It's about 1" to 1-1/2" throughout the rest of the house.



Long term, I probably will do some sort of hard surface flooring, but what is a good short term solution? Should I pull the faces off the baseboards or does that make it worse? Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 11-17-14, 01:35 PM
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First, I would snake your pinky under each of the end caps and verify that the pipe is really hot during a heat call. If not, then it's something more than just the carpet - namely flow.

To correct the carpet situation, I would remove the baseboard covers and cut back the carpet and pad with a carpet knife.
 
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Old 11-17-14, 01:46 PM
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Yes the pipes and baseboard casing does get good and warm during a heat call. The issue is really that it calls for a quite a long time compared to the other zones to get to say 68F in the room. The bedroom zone also runs probably twice as often as the other two.

My concern is that we're only a month into winter with outdoor temps around 30F and it seems to struggle to get to 68F in the room. When we get into real winter I'm not sure it will keep up at all.
 
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Old 11-17-14, 02:03 PM
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Should I pull the faces off the baseboards or does that make it worse?
I don't know that it would make it worse, but don't think it will help much either.

The design counts on the 'chimney effect' and removing the covers negates that... air will flow around the fins rather than between them.
 
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Old 11-17-14, 03:03 PM
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What do you guys think about fabbing up a cover that is 1" shorter on the bottom? Not perfect, but better perhaps?
 
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Old 11-17-14, 04:08 PM
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That might be an improvement, but shortening the 'chimney' will produce slightly less draft.

S/F baseboard covers have rolls on the top and bottom that the the hanger brackets clip into. You would need a full featured metal shop, and engineer some clever way of attaching them.

What's under the carpeting? Might it be possible to trim the carpet back? I'm sure that the 'tack strip' is in front of the baseboards. Maybe cut it back and install a wood, metal, plastic 'threshold' transition piece to finish the cut edge?
 
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Old 11-17-14, 04:37 PM
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Seen a few places where they must have cut the padding 4 inches in front of the baseboard,carpet continued. Looked pretty good and still got the space.
 
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Old 11-17-14, 05:06 PM
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Yeah, that's true... might be padding under the baseboard also. If there is, removing that might give enough space.
 
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Old 11-18-14, 09:46 AM
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I did a little recon and found some good, some bad. The good is that there is T&G red oak flooring underneath so that makes a future flooring option pretty good. The bad is that the tackless strip is nailed right under the edge of the S/F baseboard and the 1/2" carpet pad runs right up to the strip making it at least 1" thick under the heater cover

I think I'm going to try cutting the pad back about 4", reseating the carpet on the tack and see if that provides enough clearance to get acceptable airflow.
 
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