Electric Baseboard Heater Maintenance Tips

28 November 2016
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Electric baseboard heaters can be an efficient way to heat your home. Since they use radiant heat, your home's quality of heat remains consistent and there aren't usually any cold spots to contend with. Electric baseboard heaters also don't use filters nor do they have motors, which means nothing to replace regularly and no moving parts to service. This doesn't mean they are maintenance-free, though. You do need to clean them before the beginning of each heating season to make sure they continue to work well. The following tips can help.

Tip #1: Wipe down the outside

Dust and debris tends to settle on the heaters during the warm season, which then results in an unpleasant burning odor when the heaters are first turned on in the fall. You can counteract this by wiping the outside covers down thoroughly with a damp rag to remove any dust or dirt on the outside of the heaters.

Tip #2: Clean the inside of each heater

Dust also collects on the inside. Begin by making sure the heaters are turned off. You should also cut off power to the heaters via the circuit breaker, just to be safe. Then, remove the outer cover. The covers may be held on by screws or clips, or you may simply be able to lift them off. Once the cover is off, you can vacuum out the inside heat fins with the upholstery brush on your vacuum cleaner. Also, wipe down the inside of the cover with your damp cloth to remove any dust.

Tip #3: Straighten any bent fins

The fins on the heat tube sometimes get bent, which can affect the quality of the heat. You can carefully straighten them out with a plastic putty knife. The goal is to have the space between them equal. Another option is to use a fin tool, which is a small comb-like device available from HVAC companies or hardware stores. The fins can be sharp, so be careful as you straighten them.

Tip #4: Remove any blockages

Before replacing the cover, make sure that the carpet lays flat underneath the baseboard heater. Sometimes the carpet edges are pulled up, which means they partially block the heat fins. You also want to make sure no small items have become lodged beneath the heater, such as children's or pet's toys, or small pieces of paper or garbage. Once you are assured that there are no blockages, replace the cover and then turn the power back on to the heaters.

For more help with your baseboard heaters, contact an HVAC contractor like Feldman Brothers Electrical Supply Co.