Category Archives: troubleshooting heating and air conditioning

Hot Water Baseboard Heat Repair? No problem.

Gary Deer Jr is often called upon – even by other HVAC and plumbing companies – to repair hot water heating systems. Very few service providers have training or expertise on these gas or heating oil-fired baseboard systems – but we do.

Hot water heating systems were common in the 1950s/60s but fell out of favor because of fuel costs in the 1970s. Since then, however, popularity has increased for these systems because of their modern efficiency. Most are now “on-demand” so they heat water only when required.

How does it work? When the water is heated by the boiler, at around 225-275 degrees F, it is circulated through the system and passes through radiant heat registers. As the metal fins in the registers warm the air, it rises, drawing cold air from the floor through the register and heating it as it leaves the upper vent. There is no need for an air-circulating fan because natural thermodynamics keeps the warm air moving through the home. Generally, the registers are positioned below windows.

Often ideal for ranch-style homes, these systems are quite simple. They consist of a gas or oil-fired cast-iron on-demand boiler “box,” electronic zone controls, and baseboard heat registers. These systems are very reliable and can be far more efficient than their forced-air cousins.  They differ from ‘steam’ heating radiator systems because the water is moved through the system by a 12-volt circulation pump rather than relying on rising steam.

Graphic courtesy
Here’s the typical layout of a hot water baseboard heating system. Graphic courtesy

Here’s a video from a recent repair of the system Gary Deer Jr installed in his brother Gery’s home in 1999. The circulation pump had gone bad, but since it was only a few years old, this seemed unlikely.

IMG_3514Note: In the video, you’ll see the hard water scale on the distribution manifold caused by aging bleeder valves leaking onto the pipes. One thing that can affect the parts of your hot water heat system is hard water. If you have high levels of minerals in your water, including iron, you might experience failures in pumps and valves. The reducer valve shown here failed on this unit because of corrosion, preventing the system from replenishing the water supply and resulting in the failure of the circulation pump.

If you need a hot water baseboard heating system repair, give us a call – 937-453-2055 or email

A/C problem may be in your set; your TV set, that is!

IMG_6201If your air conditioner is running constantly, freezing you out of your home and driving up your energy costs, the problem may not be in your thermostat or A/C unit, but in your television set!

Placement of heat-producing appliances near thermostats can affect how your heating and cooling system functions. Besides the refrigerator or a dehumidifier, few devices give off quite as much heat as an LCD, flat-panel television set. If you’re having trouble getting your air conditioner to shut off, check the placement of your flat screen in relation to the thermostat. If the heat from the TV is reaching the sensor, it’s likely to keep the unit active for longer periods because, as far as it’s concerned, the temperature in the room is still too warm.

Before you call some big-box HVAC company and spend hundreds on a service call, try moving your TV! If that works, you can permanently relocate it or call us  (937-768-2623) to have your thermostat relocated – if possible – and that may solve your problem.