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  Extended Advice | Baseboard Heaters
Home Inspection | Home Warranty
Clean all baseboard heaters
If your home has baseboard heaters, early fall is the time to get busy and clean them. These heating devices come in many different styles and configurations, and the heating source can be hot water or electricity. The heating coils in some baseboard heaters may contain oil, which is heated by electricity.
First, if your heater has a damper at the top, make sure it is in the open position if you want full heating function.
The best way to clean baseboard heaters is to remove the cover, usually held on by the end caps or with a few screws, or can be simply lifted up and outward. Removing the cover should expose the heating coils and the fins. Your baseboard heaters will have thin metal fins surrounding the heating tubes in them, and they are particularly prone to getting dirty. Natural air convection causes air to be drawn in at the bottom of the heaters which then rises through the heaters as it warms. The fins provide more surface area so that the air passing through is more easily heated. This air movement brings with it dust, pet hair, etc. that can coat the fins. And things get dropped into the top of the heaters over time. Dirty fins do not transfer as much heat to the air as clean fins. Check also to see if carpeting has bunched up under the heater and is blocking air flow.
Use the brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner to remove the accumulated dust. Be gentle, you don’t want to bend the fins. A soft paint brush can be used to dislodge dust where the vacuum attachment won’t reach. If you find a bent fin, use needle nose pliers to gently bend it back into place. Be sure to clean the inside surface of the cover, too. Replace the cover when finished cleaning. Baseboard heaters work best when not blocked by furniture, and should never have widow drapes touching them. Enjoy the improved heating from your clean baseboard heaters!