I live in an apartment with baseboard heaters. As the temperature outside gets colder so does my apartment. The thermostat is set high enough, but it just doesn't reach that temperature. When it's warmer outside the inside temp is fine.

The pipe is hot on one end and gets cooler the farther along you go. It's almost room temperature by the time it gets to the end.

The bottom of the baseboard heater is covered by wooden baseboard. There is no gap between the floor and the heater.

Is the fact that there's no gap there enough to stop my apartment from getting warm? Are there styles of baseboard heater where there wouldn't be a gap?

  • You want to encourage convection airflow through most kinds of radiators, so it does sound to me as if whoever installed that badeboard made a mistake. Unfortunately, in an apartment yo nedd the landlod's permission to fix this. I;d start by just telling them what you've told us -- that the apt isn't hezting, and that you think the blocked baseboard heaters are the problem -- and see what they say.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 18:37
  • 1
    Picture would help, but I agree with @keshlam
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 18:49
  • I agree with Keshlam but if the base bord is only hot 1/2 way down the run a heating element may have failed.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 20:02
  • 1
    Heating element? OP mentioned a pipe.
    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 20:10
  • In that the intake is hot, outtake is cold, the heat is clearly leaving the water (which is good), so your theory that the blockage is the issue is likely true...the air isn't circulating to spread the head throughout the room. A simple fix might be to stick a fan in that room.
    – DA01
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 22:57

2 Answers 2


Baseboard heaters work largely by convection--the heating of air by the radiator fins causes a rising action, and a low pressure zone below. That zone must be replenished. Ideally, open space below allows a "chimney effect" to occur.

However, since you say that the downstream end of the pipe is room temperature, all available heat is already being extracted, and therefore no efficiency stands to be gained.

I'd test that, though, to be sure. Take an accurate temperature reading at the downstream end of the system, and if it's more than about ten degrees above ambient you have more heat available to be released with better airflow.

If you can't get the property owner to assist, a small fan directed at the heater would provide adequate airflow to extract additional heat during very cold spells.


This doesn't sound to me like a problem with air flow / convection at all. You might have bad air flow as well, but when one end of the baseboard radiator is cold, it's possible that the radiator needs to be bled, that is, you have to purge the air from the radiator. If there's a bleed valve on the radiator, you open it (usually with a little key made for radiators) and let the air escape, and close it once water starts coming out of the bleeder.

On baseboard radiators, you'll usually have to remove the sheet metal at one end to get at the bleed valve.

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