Ready to Upgrade? How to Remove a Baseboard Heater
There are plenty of advantages that baseboard heaters have over traditional heating systems. They can be used to target specific areas of the home, avoiding the issue of wasting energy on areas that are unoccupied. They also don’t require a complicated system of ductwork to heat an area, meaning they’re extremely versatile, so baseboard heaters can be installed in essentially any type of building. They also operate quietly, unlike many other heating systems.
Baseboard heaters are not without their disadvantages, however. They tend to use a great deal of energy, meaning that, despite the fact that they can be used to target specific areas of the home, they can still lead to a hefty energy bill. They also require a great deal of maintenance compared to other methods of heating.
So, while you may love your baseboard heater, you may also want to consider upgrading to an even more advanced method. Read on for details on how to remove baseboard heater components so that you can begin the installation of a new heating system that can save you a great deal of money on your energy bill.
How a Baseboard Heater Works
Before you begin the removal process of your baseboard heater, you’ll need to know exactly how it’s installed. Essentially, they operate in much the same way as portable space heaters, but rather than being portable themselves, they are connected directly to the home’s electrical system. And rather than being switched on and off with a light switch, they are controlled through the use of a thermostat, which is connected to the wall.
The heater itself is essentially a metal box containing a resistance heating element. When the thermostat tells the system to switch on, an electric current is sent through that heating element, generating heat in much the same way that a toaster does. This heat is then vented directly into the room.
Where They Are Installed
Baseboard heaters are usually installed underneath windows, in order to counteract the cold air that can otherwise get in. These baseboard heaters tend to limit the ways that the room can be decorated, as the heat venting from them can easily damage nearby furniture. There should also be a certain amount of clearance between the heater and the floor, to allow air circulation to occur. Curtains should have plenty of space away from baseboard heaters, as well, to prevent fires from occurring.
How to Begin Removing a Baseboard Heater
When learning how to remove baseboard heater components to replace them with something more advanced, safety should always be your first and foremost concern. This means that you’ll want to shut off the power to your heater before doing anything else. Otherwise, you face the risk of an electric shock or other injury when you begin the removal.
You’ll also want to make sure that you have the correct tools for the job. For baseboard heater removal, you’ll need a screwdriver and a pair of non-conductive rubber gloves. A voltage tester is also a necessity to check whether the wires you are handling are live or not.
Begin By Disconnecting the Wiring
Once you’ve turned off the power, the next step is to begin disconnecting the wiring to the baseboard heater. Remove the access cover from the front of the heater. You’ll likely need your screwdriver to do this. Then you’ll need to unscrew the wiring caps and begin disconnecting the wires. Once again, make sure you are wearing your gloves when you do this.
All of the wires should be disconnected, at which point you can use your voltage tester to make sure none of the wires are still live. If they are, then you’ll need to return to the circuit breakers and may need to switch off more of them. You do not want to handle live wires, whether you have protective gloves or not!
Then Remove the System
Once all of the wires are safely disconnected—and you are certain that the power is off—you can begin removing the entire system from the wall. Normally, this is the easy part, as all you have to do is unscrew the heater from the wall and disconnect it. While this is a simple process, the cleanup afterward can prove to be a bit difficult.
After the baseboard heater has been removed, you’ll have to deal with the wires that are left hanging. A temporary solution you can take is to place wire caps on them and tuck them away until you can get a professional electrician to come remove them. Or you can immediately begin the process of installing a new heating system.
Upgrading Your Heating System
Once you have removed the baseboard heater, you can begin the process of installing a new and upgraded heating system. There are several choices you can make for this, depending upon your budget and needs. If you appreciate the targeted heating that a baseboard heater provides but are looking for something that consumes less power, consider utilizing a heat pump. This advanced method of home heating doesn’t require a lot of electricity to generate heat. In fact, it doesn’t generate heat at all. Instead, it transfers heat energy that is already present outside the home, inside the home.
You can also consider having a system of ducts installed and opt for a traditional furnace. In extremely cold areas, this may be your best bet, although the installation process for a system of ductwork—presuming you do not already have them in your home—can be quite expensive.Whichever alternative you opt for, it will need to be professionally installed. While you can learn how to remove baseboard heater parts by yourself, installing a more advanced system should be done by a contractor from a company like Entek. They will be able to install and maintain your new system, helping you save money over many years.