Baseboard heating is one of the most common home heating methods. Unfortunately, many house fires are reported yearly, most of the causes being the window curtains.
After several investigations, it came out clear that many people overlook safety precautions when using baseboard heaters. And one of the most ignored rules is how to hang curtains over baseboard heaters.
There are specific rules to install a heater under window curtains. Although some vary depending on the manufacturer, there are a few common recommendations for placing items around baseboard heaters.
How to Hang Curtains Over Baseboard Heaters
How Baseboard Heaters Work
There are two types of baseboard heaters;
- Convection Baseboard Heater
convection baseboard heaters have air intake vents at the bottom. Inside the device, there is an element. When air passes through the element, it gets heated and leaves the baseboard heater through outlet vents on the top cover.
Hot air rises to the top circulates within the house.
- Hydronic Baseboard Heater
Hydronic baseboard heater relies on hot water or oil to heat the air. First, water is heated in the boiler then a circulating pump directs it to the pipe system.
Some hydronic baseboard heaters have electric boilers, others may use gas, and some models use propane as heating methods. For this reason, boilers are usually located in the basement.
The pipes are installed on the wall or along the room floor surface. On these metallic pipes, there are thin aluminum or coppers fins. The purpose of the fins is to absorb heat from the fluid and transfer it to the surrounding air, which rises and circulates the room.
In both baseboard heater types, there are thermostats that record room temperatures. Once the set temperature is reached, they switch off the system to regulate heat.
Why Curtains Catch Fire Around Baseboard Heaters
Baseboard heaters are usually installed beneath the windows. As a result, cold air getting through the window gets heated quickly.
Typically, cold air is dense. When it gets through the window, it sinks. After sinking, it’s heated and rises through the top of the device. If a curtain hanging over the heater comes into contact with the element or fins, it catches fire.
Tips to Hang Curtains Over Baseboard Heaters
Over the baseboard heaters, it’s recommendable to place items at least 12 inches from their top cover. With that information, let’s look at tips to hang window curtains;
- Find a Curtain that Fits Your Window
Hanging a curtain to the windowsill level is best for air circulation. Air can enter the window and easily fall under the curtain edge to reach the baseboard heater.
Before shopping for the curtain, take measurements as follows;
Step 1: Use your tape measure to take readings from the top of the window at the curtain rod brackets down to the windowsill.
Step 2: Record your measurements in your diary.
Visit the nearest curtain store and choose the right curtain by your measurements.
- Choose a 12 Inches Shorter Curtain from the Baseboard Top
If you intend to have a longer curtain, ensure it’s 12 inches shorter from the baseboard heater top cover. To avoid confusion, take the measurements as follows.
Step 1: Use your tape measure and measure from the curtain rod brackets downwards to the baseboard top.
Step 2: Leave 12 inches to the baseboard top and record the readings.
Afterward, visit your nearest curtain store and choose the right curtain for your window.
What if Your Curtain is Longer Than the Recommended Length?
If you already have a floor-length curtain, unfortunately, you’ll have to find some means to reduce it. To help you, I share some tips to minimize the length;
- Trim Your Curtain
Although a floor-length curtain may be appealing, you’ll have to trim it. To successfully carry out the process like a profession, you need.
- Iron box
- Sewing machine
- Tailor’s scissors
- A soft tape measure
- A tailor marker
Step 1: Note the measurement from the curtain rod brackets to the windowsill or 12 inches shorter from the baseboard.
Step 2: Spread your curtain on a working platform, measure, and then mark ‘X’ when you reach the maximum length. Draw a straight line from one end of the curtain to the other.
Step 3: Carefully cut the extra piece using the tailor’s scissors to the end.
Step 4: Fold the curtain edge and position it under the sewing machine foot. Move it slowly along the sewing path to sew the edge.
Step 5: Iron your curtain and hang it back on the window.
- Roll the Curtain On the Curtain Rod
Step 1: Measure the curtain from the bottom heading to the top and mark the maximum length.
Step 2: Roll the remaining upper part on the curtain rod and pin it to ensure it doesn’t roll down.
Step 3: Hook your curtain rod to the brackets and confirm the length.
- Adjust the Curtain Rod Brackets
If you don’t intend to trim your floor-length curtain, you can adjust your curtain rod brackets to a higher height along the wall.
Step 1: Measure the recommended length and mark the wall where you’d drill the mounting screws.
Step 2: Uninstall the brackets and set them to the new location. Use a cordless drill to mount using the screws.
Step 3: Fix your curtain rod and confirm the height.
FAQs on Baseboard Heaters
Can You Place Furniture in Front of Baseboard Heaters?
You should place furniture at least 12 inches from the baseboard heater. Placing any object closer to the baseboard heater creates a potential fire danger. Secondly, it hinders air circulation around the heater.
Can You Leave Baseboard Heaters on When Not Home?
You can leave your baseboard heater on once you’re sure you’ve carried out all the safety precautions, especially on clearance.