With outdoor temperatures on the rise, there's a good chance you won't need your baseboard heater for the next few months. But dealing with your baseboard heating isn't as simple as just turning it off - there's plenty you'll need to do if you plan on using it again this fall. Here's what you can do to keep your baseboard heater in great shape.
Dust and Debris Removal
It's easy to ignore dust buildup throughout the year, but there comes a time when it can literally choke the life out of your baseboard heater. Dust buildup can also pose a serious fire hazard if it's allowed to get out of hand. Foreign objects and debris can also find their way inside your baseboard heater, especially if you have kids or pets that like to hide things in some rather unlikely spots.
If your baseboard heater is literally caked in dust and debris, break out the wet/dry shop vacuum and go over every inch of the unit. Make sure to vacuum as many crevices and other hard-to-reach spots as possible. After vacuuming, check for any foreign objects that could be trapped inside or wedged against the baseboard heater.
If you have a hydronic baseboard heater, then chances are it needs to be bled of air before it goes out of service. Hydronic units rely on heated liquid to produce and circulate heat throughout the room. Air pockets can interfere with that heating cycle, preventing the unit from producing consistent heat that keeps your indoor spaces warm and comfortable.
If you're hydronic baseboard heater is operating, but feels cold to the touch, then there's a good chance it needs to be bled before it can work properly.
- Locate the bleed valve on your unit and slowly turn the valve using a pair of needle-nose pliers.
- Leave the valve open and let the pressure from the hot water heater force the air out of the baseboard heater.
- Once there's a steady stream of water gushing from the valve, carefully close the valve and check the heater for proper operation.
Don't forget to clean up any spilled water before shutting your heater down for the spring and summer months.
Other Maintenance Tips
Here are some other maintenance tips to remember as you prepare your baseboard heater for a well-deserved rest:
- Look out for rust and corrosion. Check your baseboard heater for signs of rust or corrosion and be prepared to replace affected components.
- Watch out for leaks. Always check your hydronic baseboard heaters for water leaks. If you see any leaks, repair them before surrounding areas take on water damage.
- Keep curtains at bay. Curtains draped over a baseboard heater not only disturb airflow, but they also pose a serious fire hazard. Maintain at least 12 inches of clearance between your curtains and the baseboard unit.
Don't hesitate to contact your HVAC technician if you need a helping hand with any of the above items.