I rent a room in a house that has hot water baseboard heating. I like it cool when I sleep. I also have a cat so I have to keep my door shut and can only open the windows a small amount.


I need to figure out how I can cut back on the amount of heat that the baseboard heater puts off in my room. It is controlled by a thermostat that is centrally located. The main part of the house is bigger than my room and people raise the thermostat to heat the house. Consequently, the baseboard heating overheats my room.

I am looking for a way to cut down on the amount of heat that my room receives, without causing a fire or damaging the heater.

  • Would an aluminized heat shield placed across the output work?
    • I saw someone had said aluminum foil.
  • Would I need to block the intake too?
    • If so could I use some material to block the intake?
  • If so would a sheet or a towel work?
    • If this is the way to do it, would I drape the material over the top to the bottom or just put it underneath?

Photo of my 3 Legged cat Lucy. Photo of my 3 Legged cat Lucy.

Photo of baseboard heater now closed. photo of baseboard heater

  • Please edit to include a picture of your baseboard heater. With cat if possible ;-)
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 13:42
  • 1
    Awww, thanks! Nice cat! >^∞^<
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 22:26

3 Answers 3


Baseboard water heating means causing a fire or damaging the heater is not an issue. Baseboard electric heating causes fires - water is low temperature and cannot.

You don't include a picture, but standard baseboard water heating includes a movable "flap" on the top that can be opened or closed. Close that. It may be a bit stiff (they are rarely changed once set up.)


Baseboard with flap open (none too clean)


Baseboard with flap closed (none too clean)

If that's not enough, or yours doesn't have that stock feature, feel free to pile fabric against the heater to block airflow. Being water-heated, it will never get to ignition temperatures, and it won't be damaged by not releasing heat in your room. Rugs, towels, quilts - whatever's handy will work.

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer and the photo. That is just the kind I have. I have now closed them and so far so good. 👍 👍 Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 22:03

If you are lucky there is a shut off valve which you could adjust but I suspect not. You can block it off as you suggest, even using paper as it is not hot enough to be a fire hazard. Start by blocking about 1/2 and dry it for a few days. Then if you have to adjust change only 1/2 of the remaining, by about the third or fourth try you will have it. It can be blocked on either the top or bottom but it is best to be consistent. Another way would be to block 1/2 and have a sliding part that you can adjust the opening in the other half.

  • Most such setups are not zoned on a "per room" basis, so a shutoff is unlikely, and if present may shut off heat to other rooms. There's your central thermostat, there's baseboards in various rooms, the flaps are adjusted to get the heat "even" or "distributed as desired" - it's not as adjustable as a system with many zones, but it's a lot cheaper, generally good enough, and thus more common.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 22:35

The adjustable flaps are a first choice. If still an issue, you can remove the face piece and wrap some of those radiating fins with aluminum foil to inhibit convection. I've done this and it works.

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