Baseboard heaters offer a number of advantages over forced air heating systems. They’re completely silent since they are typically heated by electricity. They’re also more energy efficient since they allow you to heat only the spaces in your home that you want to be warmed up. They’re especially great for bedrooms since you don’t have to pay to keep communal areas warm during the night.
A concern many have about baseboard heaters, however is that they’re unsafe. People often hear of fires started by space heaters and equate them with baseboard heater fires. In actuality, baseboard heaters are very safe. They aren’t like space heaters because the heating elements are encased in a metal case. That said, there are still a few safety tips that if followed will make them even safer.
Don’t block airflow
Baseboard heaters need airflow to work properly. While space heaters need at least three feet of clearance to avoid a fire hazard, you’re fine with just six inches of clearance for baseboard heaters. Anything closer than that and you still don’t have to worry too much about a fire but you will be wasting electricity since a baseboard radiator with no airflow can’t heat the room.
Don’t crank up the thermostat
It’s a common misperception that turning up the thermostat to the highest setting will heat the room faster. It won’t, it will warm just as fast, the only difference is that it will continue growing warmer and warmer until turned down. Instead of turning the thermostat up and down, leave it on the lowest setting necessary to reach a comfortable temperature and wait patiently for the warm to warm up.
Dust can also block airflow to your baseboard heaters, so make sure you’re vacumming regularly, and when you do, use an attachment to vacuum the area directly beneath and around the radiator. You can also run your vacuum hose directly over the grill.
Install baseboard heater covers
Since small children or pets can be harmed by coming into direct contact with baseboard heaters, it’s a good idea to install a baseboard heater cover that puts additional space between the heating elements and accidental contact. It also makes your baseboard heater cover easier to clean and more attractive as well.