• By Jenny Marshall
  • Posted April 11, 2018

Baseboard Heaters—How they work and how to clean them


how does a baseboard heater work and clean

When the temperature in a room falls below the thermostat setting, hot water is circulated by the boiler. It is pumped through a system of pipes to the baseboard heater. At the core of the heater is a copper pipe with aluminum fins attached. Because of the increased surface area of the aluminum fins and the effectiveness of copper as a conductor, the heat is efficiently transferred from the water to the air in the room. When the heat has been released, the water is returned to the boiler to be re-heated, and so the cycle is continued.

Because there is little air movement involved in the heat transfer the baseboard heater doesn’t blow dust around a room but it does attract dust to itself which then settles on the fins and reduces the system’s efficiency. Thus, it is important that a baseboard heater is properly cleaned at least once a year.

How to clean a baseboard heater:

• Lower (or switch off) the thermostat in the room.

• Remove the front cover of the baseboard heater.

• Make sure there’s space beneath the fin tubing and that there are no obstructions.

• Using a brush nozzle, vaccuum the dust off the fins—remembering to reach under the fins as well as cleaning the top and outer surface.

• Inspect the fins for any damage—if any fins are bent out of shape, gently re-straighten them with a flat blade and pliers.

• Re-attach the front cover, making sure the louvre vents are open.

• Return the thermostat to the desired setting.


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