If you’re like most people who reside in Sonoma Country, there are certain times of year when your house just won’t be comfortable without a little heat. While it is undoubtedly true that the weather in Sonoma County is quite pleasant, the area is still subject to a few chilly days and nights each year. One mechanism that many people in the area rely on during such periods is a baseboard heater, but what should you do when your baseboard heater is not working? At Valley Comfort Heating and Air, we have developed a few ideas that might help.
Baseboard heaters, for those of you who don’t know, are those long vent-like apparatuses that stretch along your walls at floor-level (usually on top of the baseboards). If you have a baseboard heater in your home, keeping it in excellent condition throughout the year should be a top priority. The reason for this is simple: baseboard homes can be beneficial to warm a space, but they can also cost you a lot of money unless they are operating at peak efficiency. In fact, those of you who use baseboard heaters may be surprised to know that they can account for as much as 44% of your annual electricity bill.
There are a few things you can do by yourself to make sure that your baseboard heaters are always operating optimally, but there are also a few situations in which you should call for professional assistance when your baseboard heater is not working. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most common examples of either scenario, so that you can know exactly what to do whenever your heater is giving you trouble.
How to Improve Your Baseboard Heater if it’s Not Working Properly
You should only confront some heater problems with the help of licensed professionals, but fortunately, there are a few situations in which you can improve your heater’s performance all by yourself. These are just a few things you can do to solve efficiency issues with your baseboard heater and help it perform at its best:
- Stop cranking the thermostat: Many people think that setting the temperature on their thermostat five or so degrees past the temperature they want will make their heater reach that temperature faster, but this is not true. In fact, it will take your heater the same amount of time to raise your air temperature to the desired level—and then you’ll waste energy when it continues running.
- Keep an eye on your carpets: heaters make your home warmer, and so do carpets—so shouldn’t putting them together be super effective? Actually, no. Instead, carpeting can prevent the colder air at floor level from circulating through the electrical element in your baseboard heaters, which reduces their efficiency. Fortunately, you don’t have to do anything as drastic as throwing away all your carpets— merely turn down their edges around the heater’s base.
- Opt for shorter drapes: the coverings you put on your windows can be integral to retaining heat, but they can also pose problems for your baseboard heater. If they are too low, they may block the flow of air around your heater and cause the same issues as thick carpets. The more air can flow around your heater, the more efficient it should be. Make sure there are at least four inches between your baseboard heater and the end of your drapes.
- Dust: baseboard heaters turn electricity into heat, but that heat has to be distributed evenly for the heater to function correctly. If dust has a chance to accumulate on your heater’s surface or fins, it can prevent this process from taking place and make the system less efficient. It is highly recommended that the owners of baseboard heaters dust them using a cloth or the brush attachment on their vacuum cleaners at least once a year, usually in the fall.
When Should You Call a Professional to Help with Your Baseboard Heater?
Following the steps listed above will certainly help you experience better performance from your baseboard heater, but there are still some problems that call for professional help. If, for example, you notice the smell of burning or chemicals for more than an hour while using your heater, turn it off immediately and call for professional assistance. This kind of odor is common when turning on baseboard heaters, but it should never persist for that long. Defective thermostats may also contribute to baseboard heater problems. If your heater is shutting off automatically during chilly weather, you may wish to have your thermostat inspected.
Understanding how to take care of your baseboard heater is the best way to ensure that it performs well and lasts a long time. In cases where your baseboard heater is definitely not working, make sure you know of a licensed contractor you can call. For more information, let the professionals at Valley Comfort Heating and Air provide you with additional details about these systems and how to care for them.