How to Remove Rust from Baseboard Heaters

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Baseboard heaters play a great role in keeping us warm during cold seasons. These devices are a great house heating method, especially when you decide to spend your weekend at home or off work.

However, despite being important devices, high humidity can cause them to rust. For maintenance, today, you’ll learn how to remove rust from baseboard heaters.

Let’s face it; sometimes you spend your time out of home for work. Secondly, your house’s washrooms and kitchen may cause high humidity in the house.

Other times, kids play around the rooms and may spill water and other substances around. Due to all these, your baseboard heater encounters moisture, and with time, the sparkling overcoat will be no more.

Having a well-painted room can be fun to enjoy your alone time in the house or even with friends. But if the baseboard heaters are all over stained with red-brown color,

it wouldn’t be enjoyable even spending time in the house. It’s worth finding out how to make baseboard heaters look better.

How to Remove Rust from Baseboard Heaters

How to Remove Rust from Baseboard Heaters
Rusted water pipes

How Rust Forms in Baseboard heaters

The ugly brown color on your baseboard heaters doesn’t appear overnight. Yes, neither does it take years to appear. It just takes a few days, and whoa! One day you get into the house from work and get amazed.

Truly speaking, although house maintenance is vital, sometimes we procrastinate or spend most weekdays at work. And during weekends is when we attend most parties. As such, we lack time for proper maintenance of our houses.

Rust is a chemical process that happens gradually. The rate at which rust spread is determined by the kind of environment your baseboard heaters is installed. For instance, areas with higher humidity, salty water, or other chemicals are more likely to increase the rusting rate.

When water gets into the overcoat, it slowly seeps into the underneath steel metal. Normally, moisture collects other acidic substances from the environment and immediately reacts with iron.

Once iron particles reach the water’s acidic electrolytes, it gets oxidized to form iron oxide, the red-brown substance.

What Risks Do Rust Pose in the House

Rust in the baseboard heaters may pose several risks, especially if you live with kids in the house. Let’s have a look;

  • It discolors your skin if you come into contact with it.
  • It stains the surfaces, especially the wall or the floor tiles.
  • It can cause tetanus bacteria.
  • It weakens the baseboard cover, which may expose the inner components.
  • It can hinder electrical conductivity within the heater.

Read: Clean water heater citric acid

How to Remove Rust from Baseboard Heaters

The procedure of How to Remove Rust from Baseboard Heaters

You may use several methods to eliminate the rust in your baseboard heaters. And usually, after removing rust, you would like to repaint your heater to restore the fine look.

This article will share various practices, including removing baseboard heater cover to paint. Let’s look at the procedure;

Prepare the Baseboard Heaters for Rust Removal

Before carrying out dust removal exercises, you’ll need to disconnect your baseboard heaters from the power. If the heater is hot, give it around 30 minutes to one hour to cool. During that time, the inner components may be too hot to touch.

After your heater is cool, the second exercise is to remove the outer cover. The cover is mounted using screws or end caps. If mounted with screws, find a screwdriver to carry out the exercise. On the other hand, you can use needle-nose pliers or a knife if it’s mounted with end caps.

Once the end caps or screws are out, pull the cover out, and you’ll be able to inspect the element.

Third, carry your heater cover outside and find a platform to place it as you work.

Read: Hydrotherm baseboard covers

How to Remove Rust from Baseboard Heaters
Rust on water pipes

Remove the Rust from Baseboard Heater Cover

To remove the rust from your baseboard heater cover, you’ll have to choose any of the effective methods shared below. However, you need protective gear such as;

  • Protective gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Safety glasses 
  • Using Sandpaper

Step 1: Start sanding with the high grit sandpaper and later smoothen the surface with a fine-grit sandpaper.

Step 2: Wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove the fine dust.

Step 3: Inspect the surface for any remaining rust and sand until clear.

Step 4: Wipe the fine dust and dry the surface using a clean, dry rag.

Using Brillo Steel Wool Soap pads

Step 1: Use the brillo steel wool soap pads to scrub the metal surface.

Step 2: Wipe the surface with a damp cloth to inspect if all rust is off. It may take a while before the metal shines.

Step 3: Dry the surface to prepare it for treatment.

Read: Should curtains cover hot water baseboard heaters?

Remove the Rust from the Heater Element.

Step 1: Cover the un-paintable element parts with painter’s tape.

Step 2: Scrub the element using a wire brush until all rust is off.

Step 3: Wipe the element with a clean, soft cloth to remove fine dust.

Step 4: Use a vacuum cleaner to blow the dust off the inner components.

Paint Your Baseboard Heater

The last step carries tips on how to paint baseboard heaters.

Painting the heater requires a detailed procedure that involves applying the rust-inhibiting metal primer and later the overcoat.

Step 1: Spray or paint your high heat metal primer with a paintbrush. I recommend rust oleum primer.

Step 2: Allow the primer to dry. Check on the label the duration the manufacturer recommends.

Step 3: Apply your high heat overcoat and let it dry before connecting your heater to the electricity. (Krylon paint may work best)

FAQs on Baseboard Heaters

Is it OK to Put Furniture in Front of Baseboard Heater?

Placing objects near baseboard heaters can cause a fire hazard because the devices can get too hot at some point. Secondly, it may hinder air circulation and downgrade the heater’s performance.

Can You Use Latex Paint on Baseboard Heaters?

Latex paint is good for the baseboard heaters, but first, you should apply a rust arrester specifically for latex before laying the top coating.

Can Carbon Monoxide Come from Baseboard Heaters?

You shouldn’t worry because there is no substance in baseboard heaters that can cause carbon monoxide. Air is warmed using electricity or heated water, which is safe. However, as discussed, rust can cause health risks. Remove rust from baseboard heaters and other preventive maintenance practices to remain safe. 

Read: Inhaling kerosene smell