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Common Problems Faced By Electric Baseboard Heaters And How You Can Solve Them

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Electric baseboard heaters are a great choice for smaller spaces or as an emergency heat source when your home's central heating is unable to keep your house comfortably warm. They're installed close to the ground on your home's baseboards, and they use the fact that hot air rises due to convection in order to circulate warm air throughout the room.

Electric baseboard heaters have incredible durability owing to their lack of moving parts compared to other heating options, so they're easy to maintain and rarely require repairs. However, if something does go wrong with your electric baseboard heater, you'll need to know how to fix it. Read on for some common problems that electric baseboard heaters face and what you can do in order to correct them.

Your Electric Baseboard Heater Doesn't Turn On

The most common reason why electric baseboard heaters don't turn on is not receiving electricity. In order to find the problem, you'll first need to check your home's electrical panel to make sure that the electric baseboard heater hasn't blown a fuse. You'll also need to check the circuit breaker on the heater itself, which will be located inside a small panel on the unit. Next, you'll need to exchange the thermostat with another one in order to make sure it's functioning. If the breakers don't need to be reset and the thermostat works correctly, it's likely that the wiring inside the heater has failed—it's continually exposed to high temperatures, which can damage the wiring. In this case, you'll need to replace your baseboard heater.

If the problem does not appear to be electrical, then the heating element in your electric baseboard heater may have failed. This is more common in older electric baseboard heaters—over time, repeated thermal expansion and contraction causes metal fatigue in the heating element. If your electric baseboard heater turns on but doesn't generate heat, it's likely that the heating element is no longer functioning. In order to fix the problem, you can either replace your electric baseboard heater or call a heater repair service like McGuire Plumbing & Heating Inc. to replace the heating element.

Your Electric Baseboard Heater Can't Keep the Room Warm Enough

Check your electric baseboard heater for dust, lint, and pet hair. Baseboard heaters rely on convection in order to heat a room efficiently, and dust buildup on the unit prevents it from effectively exchanging heat from the air around it. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove all of the dust from your unit. You'll also need to make sure that the space around your electric baseboard heater is unobstructed—curtains, carpeting, and nearby furniture can all prevent the heater from receiving adequate airflow, reducing its performance.

Additionally, you may also experience inadequate heating capacity when you're not using a wall thermostat. Electrical baseboard heaters are equipped with thermostats on the unit, but this thermostat is positioned close to the floor. Since baseboard heaters work through convection causing warm air to rise, the area near the floor is almost always warmer than the area at eye-level. The thermostat on the electric baseboard heater may shut off prematurely due to the higher floor temperature. Attaching your electric baseboard heater to a wall thermostat will allow it to monitor the room's temperature at eye level, allowing it to do a better job of keeping the entire room comfortably warm.

Your Electric Baseboard Heater Is Consistently Warm, Even When Turned Off

It's common for an electric baseboard heater to retain some heat after it's switched off by the thermostat. The fluid inside an electric baseboard heater requires some time in order to cool down, so your baseboard heater may feel warm to the touch when it's not in operation.

However, if your electric baseboard heater remains warm hours after it's turned off, it may have a short circuit in its wiring. A short circuit can cause an electric baseboard heater to draw small amounts of power from the wall, even when it's turned off by the thermostat—most electric baseboard heaters operate on 240-volt electricity, and one with a short circuit often continues to draw 120-volt electricity from the electrical outlet it's connected to. This is a major fire hazard, and you'll need to call a heater repair service to have the wiring in your baseboard heater inspected and fixed.

If your electric baseboard heater is experiencing a problem not described above or if you can't figure out how to solve your heating issue, call a professional heater repair service—you'll often be able to solve electrical problems or replace a failed heating element for less than the cost of fully replacing your baseboard heater.