A common heating option for homeowners is a baseboard heater. Although it helps create a warm and comfy home, a baseboard heater can also cause problems. If you're worried about how hot the device will get when generating heat, worry no more. We've done the research to address your concern.
Baseboard heaters can have temperatures as high as 195°F, which is extremely dangerous for residences. Your home is at risk of fires and can cause burns to family members. It is best to select a unit with a built-in thermostat to monitor the temperature. You should also follow safety tips when using the heater.
Even if baseboard heaters get too hot, they are not consistent with heating a room. It will help if you find the right heater type that aligns with your needs. Also, check if your heater is still in good condition so that you can save on electric bills and avoid repairs. Keep reading to learn how baseboard heaters work.
What Is The Ideal Baseboard Heater Temperature?
Baseboard heaters provide heat without any ducts or similar connections to home furnaces. It is different from the usual furnace because it heats the area without ducts. The heaters work by generating heat instead of transferring it.
You will find baseboard heaters on the floor under a window. The heater will warm up as fast as 10 minutes or a couple of hours for a large, cold room.
It is best to set the baseboard heater thermostat between 60 to 80°F. If that doesn't help reduce the cold, you can adjust the settings 2 to 3 degrees at a time. Setting a higher temperature does not make the room warmer immediately.
Some temperatures can be as high as 120 to 195°F. In that case, the room becomes like an oven, and a prolonged stay is very dangerous.
In Michigan, if the surface temperature is around 125°F, it is still normal. But surveyors still need to check the design and placement of the heaters. The heaters might not be hazardous when installed high on the wall or ceilings. But if the temperature is above 140°F, the residence is already in a fire hazard. You might get a first-degree burn within 3 seconds.
For hydronic baseboards, the standard water temperature circulated in fin tubes is at 180°F. Afterward, the convection heat will be around 100 to 160°F. The high temperatures limit the heater's efficiency, which incurs more costs. With technological progress, there are modern low-temperature and low-cost modern baseboards available.
To effectively control the temperature of the baseboard heaters, you can purchase a smart thermostat. Mechanical thermostats with levers will lose their accuracy over time. Instead of adding a few degrees, you heat the room by as much as 25 degrees more. You can manage the heater anywhere using a phone or computer.
Safety Tips when Using A Baseboard Heater
Aside from having a good thermostat, follow these tips to avoid issues with a baseboard heater:
- Do not block the heater to allow the circulation of hot air. Avoid placing a fan, furniture, and other objects in front of the heater.
- Put away any flammable materials near the heater. Observe the 6-inch distance rule.
- Curtain, electrical cords, and anything dangling things from above should be away from the heater.
- Do not let your children play in a room with a heater.
When you apply these safety tips, you can prevent issues caused by the heaters. You can keep your family safe and stay comfortable at home.
Can Baseboard Heaters Overheat?
Even if baseboard heaters can get high temperatures, it is also prone to abuse. Especially if the cold weather stays for days to weeks, you might need to use the heaters almost every day. If you fail to clean and take care of the heaters, system failures will result in overheating.
Common causes of overheating include:
- Carbon buildup in the heater's thermostat
- Loose connection to the circuit breaker panel
- A faulty high-limit switch that remains open
- Wire staples damaging the wire strand's insulation
- Burnt heater element
You can examine the device to check what parts need replacement or repair. Read further to learn how you can fix an overheating baseboard heater.
How To Troubleshoot An Overheating Baseboard Heater
To fix the issues, you can follow these steps:
- Open the circuit breaker panel box with a screwdriver. Using a volt ohmmeter, check the reading of the heater's meter. It should show 220V. If not, you should replace the breaker.
- Ensure that the two wires (red and black) connect to the thermostat. When you turn the knob on the thermostat, it should start from a "wide open" to a "direct short." Otherwise, it is time to replace the thermostat.
- Check the resistance of the heater. If the meter shows wide-open or infinite ohms, it is a sign of a burnt heater element of the baseboard. If the meter shows "OK," proceed to the next step.
- Put the red lead into the volts connector. Likewise, set the meter back to the volts position. Then turn on the circuit breaker. The leads of the meter should touch the element. The meter reading should be 220V. If it is less than 110V, replace the feed wires.
If you don't want to make errors, you can always seek professional help to avoid an overheating baseboard heater.
Are Baseboard Heaters Economical?
Baseboard heaters are not that energy-efficient. The heaters are cheaper and easier to install than a furnace or HVAC. But then, you might spend more in the long run. The benefits will also vary with the type of heater installed. Read about the two types of baseboard heaters below.
These heaters are less expensive than hydronic models. The heaters will warm up the area quickly, and adjusting the temperature is easy. The downside of this type is inconsistent heating. The device will frequently turn on and off when the temperatures fluctuate.
In effect, the heater uses more energy to keep the room warm. Your energy bills will be higher compared to using hydronic heaters.
Hydronic heaters work similarly to electric ones. Pipes fill the device with water or heat-safe oil. The liquid naturally retains heat for longer, even after turning off the heater. Hence, you get lower energy costs. The downside of this heater is the long time to heat the liquid.
If you want to save on electric bills, there are ways to maximize efficiency. Here are some techniques you can do:
- Plan for the zones where you set up the baseboard heaters. It will help if you have a programmable thermostat to monitor and control room temperatures.
- Insulate the house to significantly lower energy costs.
- Keep doors closed in rooms where you want to keep the heat.
- Clean the heater grills with a vacuum to keep the device running efficiently and quietly.
In the end, the efficiency of your heaters depends on proper use and maintenance.
When To Replace Baseboard Heater Units?
It is inevitable that your baseboard heaters will wear out and need replacement. Most heaters have a useful life of 15 to 25 years. The service life still depends on how you care for the device. If you think you need an upgrade, it is also a good decision. You can buy new models of baseboard heaters with smart features for improved efficiency.
Here are some signs to look out for if you need to replace a baseboard heater:
- The device wastes a lot of heat, and your energy costs rise.
- A faulty circuit breaker of the heater trips all of a sudden.
- The baseboard heater will not turn on or off.
- It produces a burning odor while the device is working.
Baseboard heaters will generate heat to warm up a room. The ideal temperatures are around 60-80°F but can go as high as 195°F. Too high temperatures render your home at risk of fires. The rooms will feel like an oven for the occupants and might cause burns. To avoid hazards, you can control and monitor the temperature levels with a smart thermostat.
Aside from controlling temperature, you can keep the heaters working if you do proper care. If not, the heaters might fail and be inefficient to reduce the cold inside the house. You can also replace your baseboard heaters if irreparable damages cost you more. With a functional baseboard heater, you can continue a comfortable stay at home.
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