A Guide to HVAC Units for the Amateur

When our family first moved into our home five years ago, the central heating and air unit were brand new. We never considered that there would be a time when it would not be operating as we wanted it to. When the time to buy a new unit came, we found that the available options were more diverse than we thought. It was all too confusing. After researching the different options, I decided to create this blog. My hope is that others who are faced with this decision can find easy-to-understand information that can aid in quickly making an informed decision.

Improve The Appearance Of Your Baseboard Heaters

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Baseboard heaters, whether fueled by an electric coil or hot water, provide an efficient and quiet means to heat your home. The main drawback is in their appearance, which you can easily improve with the following ideas.

Cover Them Up

Baseboard heaters come in a variety of designs, so you can camouflage them from the time of installation. Some are made to resemble wood, while others have decorative metal work. There are even slim heaters that almost blend into your existing baseboards.

All isn't lost if you already have an unattractive style installed. Slip-on covers are available that cover the heater while still allowing the heat to circulate freely. If you opt for a cover, don't try to make it yourself. Manufactured covers are made to cover the heaters safely so they don't impede heat flow or pose a fire danger.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

You have two choices when it comes to painting your baseboard heaters:

  1. Paint them to blend into the wall.

  2. Paint them to match the baseboards.

Whichever option you choose, go with a paint that is safe for baseboard heaters. A direct-to-metal paint, which doesn't require a primer and is heat resistant, is the best option. You can use a water-based paint if you are worried about the fumes from oil-based paints.

When painting the heaters, turn them off first and allow them to cool before removing the covers. Remove any rust or old, peeling paint with a wire brush. Even if there is no rust, the new layer of paint will adhere better and form a smoother finish if you lightly scuff the old paint on the heater with the wire brush. You will need to apply one or two coats, letting each dry thoroughly, to ensure even coverage. Make sure the paint is completely dry before reinstalling the covers.

Helpful Pointers

Although tempting, don't try and hide the heaters with your furniture. Blocking the heaters reduces heat flow and it can pose a fire hazard. Instead, arrange furniture so it doesn't impede the heat that radiates out. You will want about one foot of clearance between furniture and the heater, so pull your furniture away from the wall. If the heaters are installed beneath a window, make sure the drapes don't cover it.

Baseboard heat doesn't produce an open flame or pose a carbon monoxide danger, so it is usually a safer option compared to other heating choices. Beyond regular dusting, baseboard heaters rarely require any maintenance.

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27 December 2014