Baseboard heaters are gaining popularity daily for their efficiency. In many homes, you’ll never lack a baseboard heater as a heating method during winter. However, these devices need regular maintenance, just like other HVAC units.
With that said, this article will guide you on how to remove baseboard heater covers to access the inner components.
Baseboard heaters come in different sizes. The shortest is around 24 inches, and the longest is 96 inches. As that’s the case, the baseboard heater cover size and weight may vary depending on the device’s length.
At times, you’d want to change old baseboard heater covers to make your room appealing. It’s a simple do-it-yourself task you’ll learn today.
How to Remove Baseboard Heater Covers
Functions of Baseboard Heater Covers
- They cover the hot inner components that may burn kids or pets.
- They protect the inner components from excessive dust, pollen, and grime getting into the house with air.
- They give the room a better look by covering the inner elements and pipes.
- They protect the furniture or curtains that may accidentally contact the hot heater.
- They provide a base for the heaters since they are usually installed on the floor.
Do All Baseboard Heaters Have a Similar Cover Design?
There are two types of baseboard heaters. Read below;
- Convection Baseboard Heaters
Convection baseboard heaters heat by convection means. The air passes through the element and gains heat. After it becomes less dense, it rises to circulate the room.
Convection baseboard heaters are of low-profile design. All components are installed under one cover. However, the cover length may vary depending on the heater size.
- Hydronic Baseboard Heaters
Hydronic baseboard heaters heat the room by a radiant mechanism. Water is heated on the boiler and flows around the room through metal piping. In the process, heat is transferred from the water to the surrounding air through electromagnetic waves.
Electromagnetic waves from the hot water hit the piping wall with fins attached. As a result, radiant energy is converted to heat energy.
In hydronic baseboard heaters, the boiler is usually located in the basement. Only the piping and the fins are installed around the upstairs rooms.
The answer to whether all baseboard heater covers have a similar design is yes. The hydronic and convection heater covers look similar. However, there might be different features like the mounting mechanisms depending on the manufacturer.
A Detailed Guide How to Remove Baseboard Heater Covers
To carry out maintenance or repair, check on the steps below on how to remove radiator cover.
Step 1: Turn off the heater.
Flip the circuit breaker to turn the electric heater off. If you’re using a hydronic baseboard heater, go downstairs to the basement and turn off the boiler circuit breaker.
On the other hand, turn off the gas valve and the circulator pump switch if you use a gas boiler.
Step 2: Allow the heater to cool
You wouldn’t want to try a risky experiment when the heater is hot. The baseboard heaters can boil water to around 180 degrees. As such, they can be very hot to touch the components.
For safety, give your heater around two hours to cool before resuming your job.
Step 3: Your safety first
The baseboard heater covers can have sharp edges. Bear in mind most covers are made of galvanized steel. A steel cover may have sharp edges and, at the same time, rust if the heater has served longer without repainting. To be safe, have a pair of protective work gloves.
Secondly, baseboard heaters store a lot of dust and pollen inside while circulating air. To protect yourself from allergies, have a dust mask.
Third, some heated dust may irritate your eyes once you open the cover. Wear safety glasses.
Step 4: Remove the heater end caps
The end caps are part of the covering that holds the central panel. Simply pull the end caps upwards to remove them. Note the caps may be differently secured depending on the manufacturer.
At times, the caps may be stuck due to rust. Hit them with a rubber mallet on the sides to loosen the contact points and try to pull them out.
Step 5: Lift the front cover
The front cover is hooked at three points. On each end and at the middle of the bottom edge. However, the hooking points may vary depending on the manufacturer.
Hold the cover bottom with your right hand and push it upwards as you pull with the left hand on the top. If you have an adult in the house, you can request help.
Once the cover is out, lay it in a safe place to avoid injuries. Then, proceed with your maintenance, repair, or replacement job.
Can I Put a Dresser in Front of a Baseboard Heater?
You can place a dresser in front of your baseboard heater, provided you observe the spacing rules. There are specific rules for placing objects around the baseboard heaters. Take a look;
- Front: the objects should be at least 12 inches away from the baseboard heater cover edge.
- Sides: any object on the baseboard heater side should be placed at least 6 inches away from the end caps.
- Above: all items hanging over the baseboard heater like curtains or installed shelves should be at least 12 inches from the baseboard heater.
Observing these rules minimizes fire risks and enhances the heater’s performance by creating enough space for air circulation.
Are Wood Baseboard Covers Safe?
Wooden baseboard heater covers are very safe to use. However, wood is a poor heat conductor. So, they don’t quickly transfer heat from inside to the surrounding air like steel metal.
When heat is not released from inside, the device overheats and takes longer than usual to heat.
How Do You Clean Dust from a Baseboard Heater?
Step 1: Shut off the heater and let it cool.
Step 2: Remove the heater cover.
Step 3: Use a soft paintbrush to rub off the dust from the element and fins
Step 4: Vacuum all the inner components.