Monday, February 10, 2014

Baseboard Heater

This is so not a big deal to anyone...except me.  I did this almost all by myself.

The baseboard heater was in really rough shape.  Dingy.  Missing an end cap.  The damper fell off periodically.  The cover sagged leaving the heating coil a little exposed.

Definitely ugly...but more important...I found this.  The bedskirt that was next to the heater.  It looks like the exposed coil burnt it. It made me sick to my stomach.  The cover had to be replaced ASAP.

First I measured from one end of the copper to the other.  15' 4."  Covers come in 3' to 8' sections so I rounded down (b/c the end caps would cover the difference) and bought an 8' section, a 7' section and a splice to join them.  The end caps will each give you 2-3" of play.  The splice will give you 1-2."  That got me to my 15' 4" perfectly.

Getting the old cover off was the toughest part.  

1. Remove front cover (and damper if you can..we couldn't remove ours but would have made access to the back panel easier).
2. Use reciprocating saw to cut the nails that holds the back plate to wall.
3. Prop up heating element and pry the hangers of the back plate (flat head helps).
4. Pull the back plate out from behind the heating element, and discard.
5. Vacuum the heating element.  Decades of dust back there.  I found grocery lists that had to be 40 years old.
6. Slide the new hangers behind heating element.
7. Slip the new back plate behind the heating element.  This takes some wiggling.
8. Snap hangers into the back plate (there is a lip at the top and bottom).
9. Screw the back plate to wall studs using drywall screws.  Easier to pre-drill a hole first.
10. Slide on the end caps and, if you're connecting two or more units together, attach the splice plates.  Ours didn't come with a splice plate for the back wall unit so we used a spare metal plate and drilled that to the wall.  I'm not sure if that is required or not but seemed odd to leave the heating coil exposed to the drywall.  Also a 2nd splice kit could be used (they're cheap).
11. Snap the front cover onto the hangers.  
12.  Jump up and down and pat yourself on the back.

Those step by step instructions make it seem like it is way easier than it actually is so if you're struggling you're probably not doing anything wrong.  Getting that cover off while not damaging the copper pipe and heating coil involves a lot of cutting and cursing.

Here it is!

Now we have a new, clean baseboard to install the wainscoting against.  Looks good and better yet,  safe!
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  1. Way to tackle that project! Those heaters always intimidate me. I avoided buying houses with them in it because I knew I'd be terrible at working on them. Great job!!

  2. Those are really smart and efficient step-by-step tips! Certainly worth more than a look-see. Should be great practice for DIY as far as home improvement is concerned. Though a hired hand wouldn't hurt either, especially for those complex problems.

    Quality Heating