Baseboard heat using hot water heater

I recently bought a house that has gas hot air heat. While it does a good job, I am noticing the basement is always cooler than the rest of the house even after opening up all the registers in the basement. I would like to add supplemental heat in the basement on it's own thermostat. Is it possible to add hot water baseboard heat off an existing hot water heater I have in the basement? I thought I heard at one time it can be done.
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Mikepier wrote:

I am now sixty seven years old. When I was in a play pen we lived in a house with a hand fired coal furnace and gravity / convection circulation of hot water to the radiators. My father installed valves to connect the hot water heater to the radiator in the kitchen so my brother and I could have a warm radiator next to the play pen in spring and fall when the furnace was not fired up. During the heating season the valves were turned to "furnace" position.
The valves were still there when I checked the house as we were about to sell it after the funerals.
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It is possible, but against code in most areas to use a potable water for heating too. During times when the heat is not needed the water can stagnate and even grow bacteria. Then the next time the heater is on you have just flushed stagnant water into your water heater. You need a seperate heater, or just use electric baseboard heat. If you had intended using an electric water heater, electric basebord would make more sense. Greg
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Mikepier wrote:

Yes, it is done. You'll need a (small) circ pump which is approved for potable use. The stat can control the pump. The return line goes to the tank outlet where the drain valve is now.
It will probably shorten the heater life, so weigh that. For only intermittent use, you might be ahead with some baseboard electric.
Jim
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041231 0738 - Mikepier posted:

You would probably be better off to leave your water heater alone and install the hot water baseboard system with a new small electric water heater and a circulating pump. You could just turn it on during the winter months. The system would probably run maintenance free for a long time.
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