Title:
BASEBOARD RADIATOR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved baseboard radiator comprising a substantially tubular conduit formed of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tubing for containing and conveying hot water; a plurality of fins disposed onto and along the conduit for radiating heat energy transferred from hot water contained within the conduit; and a housing to contain the conduit/fin assembly. Alternate embodiments include the use of an integrated return water line formed of PEX tubing.



Inventors:
Lawrence, Phillip H. (Trenton, ME, US)
Application Number:
12/245718
Publication Date:
04/08/2010
Filing Date:
10/04/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
165/148, 237/69, 165/104.19
International Classes:
F24D19/02; F28D1/00; F28D15/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
SOULE, IAN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ANTHONY D. PELLEGRINI RUDMAN & WINCHELL, LLC (84 HARLOW STREET, P.O. BOX 1401, BANGOR, ME, 04402-1401, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An improved baseboard radiator comprising: a primary conduit, said primary conduit being substantially tubular and having a length, an outer surface, and a substantially uniform outside diameter, said primary conduit being suitably adapted to contain and convey hot water; a plurality of fins, each said fin having a central aperture substantially circular in shape and having an inside diameter substantially the same as the outside diameter of the primary conduit, with the primary conduit inserted into and through the central apertures of said fins such that said fins are snugly disposed upon and along at least a portion of the length of the primary conduit on the outer surface of the primary conduit, said plurality of fins together with the primary conduit forming a conduit/fin assembly, said fins suitably adapted to radiate heat energy transferred from hot water contained within the primary conduit to the ambient environment; and a housing, said housing suitably adapted to contain the conduit/fin assembly; wherein the primary conduit is formed of cross-linked polyethylene tubing.

2. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 1 wherein the plurality of fins are disposed along substantially the entire length of the primary conduit.

3. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 1 further comprising a first coupling and a second coupling; wherein the first coupling is suitably adapted to connect an end of the primary conduit to a heating system and the second coupling is suitably adapted to connect another end of the primary conduit to the heating system.

4. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 1 further comprising a support bracket, said support bracket suitably adapted to support the conduit/fin assembly, whereby the conduit/fin assembly is placed onto a top surface of the support bracket and the support bracket is fixedly attached to an inside portion of the housing.

5. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 4 further comprising a top bracket having a bottom surface, said top bracket suitably adapted to be placed upon the conduit/fin assembly whereby the bottom surface of said top bracket is placed against the conduit/fin assembly.

6. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 5 further comprising a plurality of brace members, wherein each of the plurality of brace members is fixedly attached to both the top bracket and the support bracket.

7. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 4 wherein the support bracket comprises a pair of edge flanges, each of the edge flanges depending upward from sides of the support bracket in a substantially vertical orientation, with the distance between the edge flanges being substantially identical to the width of the conduit/fin assembly, such that the conduit/fin assembly is held snugly between the pair of edge flanges when the conduit/fin assembly is placed onto the top surface of the support bracket.

8. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 5 wherein the top bracket comprises a pair of edge flanges, each of the edge flanges depending downward from sides of the top bracket in a substantially vertical orientation, with the distance between the edge flanges being substantially identical to the width of the conduit/fin assembly, such that the conduit/fin assembly is held snugly between the pair of edge flanges when the top bracket is placed onto the conduit/fin assembly.

9. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 4 wherein each of the plurality of fins comprises one or more bottom flanges, each said bottom flange depending downward from a bottom edge of the respective fin; and the support bracket comprises one or more slots formed into its top surface, each said slot running along a length of the support bracket and, where more than one slot is formed into the top surface of the support bracket, each said slot is oriented substantially parallel to each other slot; whereby the bottom flanges depending from the plurality of fins are suitably adapted to be inserted into the one or more slots of the support bracket and the one or more slots of the support bracket are suitably adapted to accommodate the bottom flanges depending from the plurality of fins.

10. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 9 further comprising a top bracket having a bottom surface, said top bracket suitably adapted to be placed upon the conduit/fin assembly whereby the bottom surface of said top bracket is placed against the conduit/fin assembly.

11. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 10 wherein each of the plurality of fins comprises one or more top flanges, each said top flange depending upward from a top edge of the respective fin; and the top bracket comprises one or more slots formed into its bottom surface, each said slot running along a length of the top bracket and, where more than one slot is formed into the bottom surface of the top bracket, each said slot is oriented substantially parallel to each other slot; whereby the top flanges depending from the plurality of fins are suitably adapted to be inserted into the one or more slots of the top bracket and the one or more slots of the top bracket are suitably adapted to accommodate the top flanges depending from the plurality of fins.

12. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 5 wherein each of the plurality of fins comprises one or more top flanges, each said top flange depending upward from a top edge of the respective fin; and the top bracket comprises one or more slots formed into its bottom surface, each said slot running along a length of the top bracket and, where more than one slot is formed into the bottom surface of the top bracket, each said slot is oriented substantially parallel to each other slot; whereby the top flanges depending from the plurality of fins are suitably adapted to be inserted into the one or more slots of the top bracket and the one or more slots of the top bracket are suitably adapted to accommodate the top flanges depending from the plurality of fins.

13. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 4 further comprising a return conduit, said return conduit being substantially tubular and having a length, said return conduit being suitably adapted to contain and convey water; and one or more hangers, each said hanger attached to the support bracket and suitably adapted to support the return conduit below the support bracket; wherein the return conduit is formed of cross-linked polyethylene, the return conduit is supported by the one or more hangers, and the return conduit and the one or more hangers are contained within the housing.

14. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 13 wherein each of the one or more hangers is formed of a substantially rigid material into a substantially u-shape, such that each hanger has a first end and a second end, with the first and second ends of each hanger suitably adapted to attach to a bottom surface of the support bracket.

15. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 13 further comprising a carrier frame, said carrier frame being substantially rigid and having a length, said carrier frame being suitably adapted to support the return conduit; wherein the return conduit is placed upon the carrier frame and the return conduit and the carrier frame are supported below the support bracket by the one or more hangers.

16. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 15 further comprising a second carrier frame, said second carrier frame being substantially rigid and having a length, said second carrier frame being suitably adapted to be placed upon the return conduit; and one or more carrier frame clips, each said frame carrier clip suitably adapted to be placed onto the return conduit and over the carrier frame and the second carrier frame, thereby holding the carrier frame and second carrier frame firmly against the return conduit.

17. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 13 wherein the primary conduit has an open end and a linked end; and the return conduit has an open end and a linked end; whereby the linked end of the primary conduit is substantially aligned with and in fluid connection with the linked end of the return conduit, such that hot water enters the baseboard radiator through the open end of the primary conduit and flows through the primary conduit, exits the primary conduit through the linked end of the primary conduit and enters the return conduit through the linked end of the return conduit, and flows through the return conduit and exits the baseboard radiator through the open end of the return conduit.

18. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 17 further comprising a first coupling and a second coupling; wherein the first coupling is suitably adapted to connect the open end of the primary conduit to a heating system and the second coupling is suitably adapted to connect the open end of the return conduit to the heating system.

19. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 1 wherein each of the plurality of fins is fixedly attached to an adjacent fin, forming a substantially rigid fin unit, wherein the central apertures of the plurality of fins of the fin unit are oriented in substantial alignment with each other to accommodate the primary conduit.

20. The improved baseboard radiator of claim 19 further comprising a return conduit, said return conduit being substantially tubular and having a length, said return conduit being suitably adapted to contain and convey water; and one or more hangers, each said hanger attached to the fin unit and suitably adapted to support the return conduit below the fin unit; wherein the return conduit is formed of cross-linked polyethylene, the return conduit is supported by the one or more hangers, and the return conduit and the one or more hangers are contained within the housing.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to environmental climate control devices, namely, baseboard radiant heating units. Specifically, the invention relates to an improvement on a hot water baseboard radiator for residential and commercial use, where cross-linked polyethylene tubing is substituted for copper tubing as the hot water conduit in the baseboard radiator.

BACKGROUND

The present invention utilizes cross-linked polyethylene tubing as a substitute for copper tubing in hot water baseboard radiant heating units.

Traditional baseboard radiators are typically constructed of a conduit fitted with heat dissipating fins, all contained within a housing. The conduit carries heated water from a heat source, such as a boiler, and the heat is transferred by the fins to the space in which the baseboard radiator is located. The conduit is typically made of metal, most commonly copper tubing. Copper tubing provides for efficient heat conductivity as well as providing rigidity to the baseboard radiator. However, copper tubing is relatively expensive and difficult to work with. Moreover, if copper tubing is exposed to freezing temperatures any water contained therein may expand and burst the pipe, causing significant damage to the baseboard radiator as well as to the space in which it is located. There thus is a need for an improved baseboard radiator that utilizes a cost-efficient, easy to work with substitute for copper tubing that is also freeze damage resistant.

PEX is the common trade name for cross-linked polyethylene. Through one of several processes, links between polyethylene molecules are formed to create bridges (thus the term “cross-linked”). This resulting material is more durable under temperature extremes, chemical attack, and better resists creep deformation, making PEX an excellent material for hot water applications. Developed in the 1960s, PEX tubing has been in use in many European countries for plumbing and radiant heating applications. PEX was introduced in the United States in the 1980s, and has seen significant growth in market demand and production.

PEX's flexibility and strength at temperatures ranging from below freezing up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit makes it an ideal piping material for hot and cold water plumbing systems, service lines, and hydronic radiant heating systems. It is flexible, making it easy to install and service. PEX is able to withstand the high and low temperatures found in plumbing and heating applications, and is highly resistant to chemicals found in the plumbing environment.

Flexible systems are quieter than rigid piping. The smooth interior will not corrode which can affect other materials long term pipe flow characteristics. PEX systems have fewer joints and are easier to install providing a lower cost installation over traditional plumbing materials. Moreover, PEX is an approved material in all the current model-plumbing codes. PEX piping is also freeze damage resistant as it can expand and contract as water freezes and thaws within the tubing. This presents a significant advantage over copper piping, especially for use in seasonal homes which may be left unheated during the winter season.

PEX is cost-effective as a substitute for copper due to its relatively low price and copper's relatively high price. In addition, the installation of PEX in heating systems is fast because of the easy handling of the tubing and connection methods. Crimp fittings, insert compression fittings, and outside diameter compression fittings can be used to join PEX tubing to other components, as compared to the need for soldering to connect copper piping. Many heating systems already use PEX tubing to connect baseboard radiators to the heating source; however, the connection between the PEX tubing and the copper tubing of the baseboard radiator presents difficulties. A system utilizing PEX to PEX connections eliminates these difficulties.

Notwithstanding the superior characteristics of PEX for plumbing and heating applications, however, PEX tubing has not previously been used within baseboard radiators, primarily because of its characteristic flexibility. A conduit in a baseboard radiator comprised of PEX tubing will tend to sag, especially when coupled with heat dissipating fins. For this reason PEX tubing has been limited to radiant floor heating systems or radiant wall heating systems, in which the PEX tubing is embedded in a fixed matrix, such as a concrete floor. The matrix provides the rigidity to the PEX tubing that would be otherwise lacking in a baseboard radiator.

The present invention addresses and solves the above-stated problems.

It is therefore an objective of the present invention to provide an improved baseboard radiator which is cost-efficient to manufacture.

It is a further objective of the present invention to provide an improved baseboard radiator which is easy to install.

It is yet a further objective of the present invention to provide an improved baseboard radiator which resists freeze damage.

It is yet a further objective of the present invention to provide an improved baseboard radiator which uses PEX tubing as the hot water conduit.

It is yet a further objective of the present invention to provide an improved baseboard radiator which incorporates a support structure to provide rigidity to the PEX conduit.

Other objects of this invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the description and claims which follow.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention discloses an improved baseboard radiant heat unit, using PEX tubing as the hot water conduit as a substitute for copper tubing. The baseboard radiator of the present invention comprises the PEX conduit, fins for radiating heat energy, and a housing. The fins are disposed onto and along the conduit, forming a fin/conduit assembly, with the fin conduit assembly contained within the housing. The fin/conduit assembly is made rigid by the use of a rigid fin unit or by the use of one or more support brackets. A return water line may be integrated with the baseboard radiator, also being comprised of PEX tubing. So configured, the improved baseboard radiator may be integrated with traditional heating systems, though it is preferably used in heating systems which utilize PEX tubing to convey hot water between the various components.

Other features and advantages of the invention are described below.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan front view of one embodiment of the present invention, with a portion of the housing cut away to reveal the interior components.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the embodiment of the present invention depicted in FIG. 1, with a portion of the housing cut away to reveal the interior components.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the fins and the conduit.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the fin unit embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5A is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention utilizing a support bracket.

FIG. 5B is an exploded perspective view of the embodiment of the present invention depicted in FIG. 5A, with dotted lines representing how components fit together.

FIG. 6 is a perspective exploded view of yet another embodiment of the present invention utilizing fin flanges.

FIG. 7A is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention utilizing both a support bracket and a top bracket.

FIG. 7B is an exploded perspective view of the embodiment of the present invention depicted in FIG. 7A, with dotted lines representing how components fit together.

FIG. 8A is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention utilizing a return conduit.

FIG. 8B is an exploded perspective view of the embodiment of the present invention depicted in FIG. 8A, with dotted lines representing how components fit together.

FIG. 9A is a perspective view of an embodiment of the return conduit utilizing carrier frames and carrier frame clips.

FIG. 9B is an exploded perspective view of the embodiment of the present invention depicted in FIG. 9A.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides for an improved hot water baseboard radiator 1 for use with a conventional residential or commercial heating system. The improved baseboard radiator 1 comprises a primary conduit 100 formed of cross-linked polyethylene tubing (PEX), a plurality of fins 200, and a housing 300. See FIG. 1.

The primary conduit 100 has a uniform outside diameter 110 and is suitably adapted to contain and convey hot water. See FIG. 3. The PEX tubing from which the primary conduit 100 is formed may be coiled tubing or straight tubing. Straight PEX tubing requires less external structural rigidity than coiled PEX tubing in order for the primary conduit 100 to have its desired shape, which is substantially linear with minimal bending or curving, and is thus preferred, but either may be used. Any size PEX tubing may be used, though in the preferred embodiment the primary conduit 100 is ¾ inch diameter PEX tubing, as heating systems that use PEX tubing to connect their components typically use ¾ inch PEX tubing. The length of the primary conduit 100 should be approximately the same as the width of the housing 300, though the length of the primary conduit 100 may be slightly longer than the width of the housing 300 which results in the ends of the primary conduit 100 extending somewhat beyond the sides of the housing 300. Such a configuration allows for easier connection of the baseboard radiator 1 to the heating system. While shorter lengths of PEX tubing may be connected together to form the primary conduit 100, in the preferred embodiment the primary conduit 100 is formed of a single seamless length of PEX tubing.

The plurality of fins 200 used in the improved baseboard radiator 1 may be any standard heat dissipating fins known in the art. The fins 200 need only be adapted to radiate heat energy transferred from hot water contained within the primary conduit 100 to the ambient environment. The preferred embodiment uses aluminum fins 200 being substantially planar and having a substantially square or rectangular shape. See FIGS. 2 and 3. However, other configurations and materials are also contemplated. The only limitation on the choice of fins 200 is that each fin 200 must have a central aperture 202 that allows the primary conduit 100 to pass through the fin 200. See FIG. 3. In the preferred embodiment the central aperture 202 is substantially circular in shape and has an inside diameter 204 substantially equivalent to the outside diameter 110 of the primary conduit 100. This permits the primary conduit 100 to be inserted into and through the central apertures 202 of the fins 200, resulting in the fins 200 being snugly disposed upon and along the length of the primary conduit 100 on its outer surface 108. See FIG. 2. In other embodiments, the central apertures 202 may be of different shapes and diameters, with only a subset of the fins 200 being snugly fitted onto the primary conduit 100. In the preferred embodiment the fins 200 are disposed along substantially the entire length of the primary conduit 100. In other embodiments the fins 200 may be clustered at one end or the other of the primary conduit 100, or at the center of the primary conduit 100, or at random intervals.

The conduit/fin assembly 250 is the combination of primary conduit 100 and fins 200 where the fins 200 are disposed onto and along the primary conduit 100. See FIG. 5A. In one embodiment the fins 200 in the conduit/fin assembly 250 are fixedly attached to each other into a fin unit 270, such that the conduit/fin assembly 250 is a substantially rigid structure. See FIG. 4. In this embodiment the primary conduit 100 is maintained in the preferred straight configuration within the central apertures 202 of the fins 200. This embodiment has the advantage of not requiring any further means for maintaining structural rigidity, but has the disadvantage of requiring non-standard fins 200 and/or requiring the use of connection means between the fins 200. In the preferred embodiment the fins 200 are not attached to each other, with the result that the conduit/fin assembly 250 is flexible. This configuration is the most cost-efficient as standard fins 200 may be used without modification, but additional structural rigidity means must be employed.

The housing 300 of the baseboard radiator 1 of the present invention may be any standard baseboard radiator housing that can accommodate the conduit/fin assembly 250 within its interior. Typically the housing 300 will be constructed of metal, to improve radiation of heat energy, but other materials may also be used. In the preferred embodiment the housing 300 will be of standard dimension so as to be available for new construction or easily retrofitted into existing facilities without special modification.

The improved baseboard radiator 1 of the present invention may comprise a first coupling 410 and a second coupling 420. See FIG. 1. The first coupling 410 should be adapted to connect one end of the primary conduit 100 to the heating system, and the second coupling 420 should be adapted to connect the other end of the primary conduit 100 to the heating system. Where the heating system uses PEX tubing to connect its components, the first and second couplings 410,420 will be PEX-to-PEX couplings, such as crimp fittings, insert compression fittings, and outside diameter compression fittings. Where the heating system uses copper tubing to connect its components, the first and second couplings 410,420 will be PEX-to-copper fittings, which may require soldering of the fitting to the copper pipe.

In embodiments of the baseboard radiator 1 of the present invention in which the conduit/fin assembly 250 is flexible, the baseboard radiator 1 further comprises a support bracket 500. See FIGS. 5A and 5B. The support bracket 500 is adapted to support the conduit/fin assembly 250. It may be constructed of any rigid material, though in the preferred embodiment it is metal and in the most preferred embodiment it is aluminum. The support bracket 500 should be substantially planar, with or without edge flanges 530. In embodiments using edge flanges 530, the edge flanges 530 depend upwards in a substantially vertical orientation and the distance between the edge flanges 530 should be substantially the same as the width of the fins 200 in the conduit/fin assembly 250, such that the conduit/fin assembly 250 is fitted snugly between the edge flanges 530 and held therein when the conduit/fin assembly 250 is placed onto the support bracket 500. See FIG. 5B. The support bracket 500 is fixedly attached to an inside portion 302 of the housing 300 to hold the conduit/fin assembly 250 in place.

In another embodiment the baseboard radiator 1 may comprise a top bracket 600. The top bracket 600 is adapted to be placed over the top of the conduit/fin assembly 250. It may be constructed of any rigid material, though in the preferred embodiment it is metal and in the most preferred embodiment it is aluminum. The top bracket 600 should be substantially planar, with or without edge flanges 630. In embodiments using edge flanges 630, the edge flanges 630 depend downwards in a substantially vertical orientation and the distance between the edge flanges 630 should be substantially the same as the width of the fins 200 in the conduit/fin assembly 250, such that the top bracket 600 is fitted snugly onto conduit/fin assembly 250 and held therein by the edge flanges 630 when placed on the conduit/fin assembly 250.

In yet other embodiments both the support bracket 500 and the top bracket 600 are used. See FIGS. 7A and 7B. In these embodiments the top bracket 600 may be fixedly attached to the support bracket 500 by one or more brace members 700. The brace members 700 may be constructed of any rigid material, though in the preferred embodiment they are metal and in the most preferred embodiment they are aluminum. The brace members 700 may have any shape or configuration, though in the preferred embodiment they are substantially planar and rectangular. The brace members 700 may be fixedly attached to the top and support brackets 600,500 by any known means, such as fasteners, welds, adhesives, and the like. In the most preferred embodiment using brace members 700 the top and support brackets 600,500 also comprise edge flanges 530,630. See FIG. 7B. So configured, the conduit/fin assembly 250 is maintained substantially rigid, without sags or bends.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, each of the plurality of fins 200 comprises one or more bottom flanges 212. See FIG. 6. Each of the bottom flanges 212 depends downward from the bottom edge 210 of its respective fin 200. In conjunction with the flanged fins 200, the support bracket 500 comprises one or more corresponding slots 512 formed into its top surface 510. See FIG. 6. Each of the slots 512 runs along the length of the support bracket 500 and, where more than one slot 512 is used, each of the slots 512 is oriented substantially parallel to each other slot 512. The bottom flanges 212 of the fins 200 are inserted into the corresponding slots 512 of the support bracket 500 to provide a snug attachment of the conduit/fin assembly 250 to the support bracket 500.

In yet another alternative embodiment, each of the plurality of fins 200 comprises one or more top flanges 222. See FIG. 6. Each of the top flanges 222 depends upward from the top edge 220 of its respective fin 200. In conjunction with the flanged fins 200, the top bracket 600 comprises one or more corresponding slots 612 formed into its bottom surface. Each of the slots 612 runs along the length of the top bracket 600 and, where more than one slot 612 is used, each of the slots 612 is oriented substantially parallel to each other slot 612. The top flanges 222 of the fins 200 are inserted into the corresponding slots 612 of the top bracket 600 to provide a snug attachment of the conduit/fin assembly 250 to the top bracket 600. In yet another alternative embodiment, both top and bottom fin flanges 212,222 are used, along with slots 512,612 formed into both the support and top brackets 500,600. With the fin flanges 212,222 inserted into the corresponding bracket slots 512,612, the conduit/fin assembly 250 is maintained substantially rigid, without sags or bends.

The baseboard radiator 1 of the present invention may further comprise a return conduit 150 to serve as a water return line. See FIGS. 8A and 8B. The return conduit 150 is formed of cross-linked polyethylene tubing. The PEX tubing from which the return conduit 150 is formed may be coiled tubing or straight tubing. Straight PEX tubing is preferred. Any size PEX tubing may be used for the return conduit 150, though in the preferred embodiment the primary conduit 100 is ¾ inch diameter PEX tubing. The length of the return conduit 150 should be approximately the same as the width of the housing 300, though the length of the return conduit 150 may be slightly longer than the width of the housing 300 which results in the ends of the return conduit 150 extending somewhat beyond the sides of the housing 300. While shorter lengths of PEX tubing may be connected together to form the return conduit 150, in the preferred embodiment the return conduit 150 is formed of a single seamless length of PEX tubing.

The return conduit 150 is supported by one or more hangers 800. Each hanger 800 is attached to the support bracket 500, if used, or to the fin unit 270, such that the return conduit 150 is supported beneath the conduit/fin assembly 250. See FIG. 8A. The hangers 800 may be formed of any substantially rigid material. In the preferred embodiment the hangers 800 are formed of metal into a substantially u-shape. See FIG. 8B. The first and second ends 802,804 of each hanger 800 are then attached to the bottom surface of the support bracket 500 or the fin unit 270. Other configurations of the hangers 800 are also contemplated by the invention.

Where the return conduit 150 is formed of coiled PEX tubing, added structural rigidity may be needed to maintain the return conduit 150 in the preferred straight configuration. One embodiment uses a carrier frame 900 to maintain the return conduit 150 in a substantially straight configuration. See FIGS. 9A and 9B. The carrier frame 900 is substantially rigid and accommodates the return conduit 150. The return conduit 150 is placed upon the carrier frame 900 and the return conduit 150 and the carrier frame 900 are supported below the conduit/fin assembly 250 by the hangers 800. In the preferred embodiment the carrier frame 900 is formed of two intersecting planar portions 910,912, thereby giving the carrier frame 900 a v-shaped cross-section. See FIG. 9B. With the v-shape of the carrier frame 900 opened at the top, the return conduit 150 is placed within the carrier frame 900 between and onto the two planar portions 910,912. The length of the carrier frame 900 should be substantially identical to the length of the return conduit 150 to best provide structural rigidity, though shorter lengths are also contemplated.

In one embodiment using a carrier frame 900, one or more frame clips 950 may also be used to retain the carrier frame 900 to the return conduit 150. See FIG. 9A. Each frame clip 950 is substantially C-shaped and made of a substantially rigid material having a small amount of flex, such as spring metal. See FIG. 9B. The one or more frame clips 950 are placed onto and over the return conduit 150 and carrier frame 900, thereby holding the carrier frame 900 firmly to the return conduit 150. In an alternative embodiment a second carrier frame 900 is used, configured identically to the first carrier frame 900 and placed over the top of the return conduit 150. See FIGS. 9A and 9B. When the second carrier frame 900 is used, it is preferred to also use one or more frame clips 950 to retain the carrier frames 900 to the return conduit 150. Other configurations of the carrier frame 900 may be used, provided they serve to maintain the return conduit 150 in a substantially straight configuration.

Where a baseboard radiator until is being placed in series with other baseboard radiator units, the primary conduit 100 and the return conduit 150 within the baseboard radiator 1 are not in direct communication with each other. Hot water flowing out of the primary conduit 100 of one baseboard radiator 1 flows into the primary conduit 100 of the next baseboard radiator 1, and water flowing out of the return conduit 150 of one baseboard radiator 1 likewise flows into the return conduit 150 of the next baseboard radiator 1. However, where a baseboard radiator unit is the sole unit used, or is the unit placed at the end of the water line, the primary conduit 100 and the return conduit 150 may be placed in direct communication with each other. In these embodiments, the primary conduit 100 has an open end 104 and a linked end 106 and the return conduit 150 has an open end 154 and a linked end 156, with the linked ends 106,156 of the primary conduit 100 and the return conduit 150 substantially aligned and in fluid connection with each other. See FIG. 10. Thus, hot water enters the baseboard radiator 1 through the open end 104 of the primary conduit 100 and flows through the primary conduit 100, then exits the primary conduit 100 through the linked end 106 of the primary conduit 100 and enters the return conduit 150 through the linked end 156 of the return conduit 150, and finally flows through the return conduit 150 and exits the baseboard radiator 1 through the open end 154 of the return conduit 150.

Where the primary conduit 100 is linked to the return conduit 150, the improved baseboard radiator 1 of the present invention may comprise a first coupling and a second coupling. The first coupling is adapted to connect the open end 104 of the primary conduit 100 to the heating system, and the second coupling is adapted to connect the open end 154 of the return conduit 150 to the heating system. Where the heating system uses PEX tubing to connect its components, the first and second couplings will be PEX-to-PEX couplings, such as crimp fittings, insert compression fittings, and outside diameter compression fittings. Where the heating system uses copper tubing to connect its components, the first and second couplings will be PEX-to-copper fittings, which may require soldering of the fitting to the copper pipe. Those skilled in the art will perceive improvements, changes and modifications in the invention. Such improvements, changes and modifications within the skill of the art are intended to be covered by the claims set forth herein, and that all matter contained in the accompanying specification shall be interpreted as illustrative only and not in a limiting sense.