How to Clean Baseboard Heater Fins

By Robert Robillard on Home Maintenance

How to Clean Baseboard HeaterHow to Clean Baseboard Radiators

How often do you clean your baseboard heating fins? If you don’t, you should! This article will focus on how to clean baseboard heater.

Hot water baseboard and electric heating systems depend on air flowing through the numerous aluminum convector fins that surround a copper pipe.

How to Clean Baseboard Radiator Heater Fins

Fin tube baseboard radiators work by convection; cool air enters the bottom, gets heated by the copper tubing and aluminum fins and then exits out the top as warm air.

Fin tube radiators, often called “Slant Fins” after the major manufacturer, operate best when air flows freely through the fins. If the air is obstructed, — either from dirt and dust buildup, or from something covering the top or bottom of the heating units, the units will not heat effectively.

Keeping the fins clean increases heating efficiency and baseboard heat radiators should be cleaned at least once a year, and more often if you have dogs or cats. Animal hair and danger can build up quickly and block the spaces between the fins, affecting efficient airflow.

How to Clean Baseboard Heater

Reasons for Restricted Radiator Air Flow

There are many situations where obstructions can block or restrict airflow; here are a few:

  • Built up flooring
  • Built up, loose, curled or poorly installed carpet – blocking lover airflow entry
  • Radiator airflow is blocked by furniture, boxes, or other items
  • Radiator covered by long drapes
  • Toys blocking radiator airflow
  • The radiator cover is closed
  • Dirty or clogged fins

How to Clean Baseboard Heater

How To Clean Your Baseboard Heater Fins [Steps]

  1. Lower the thermostat
  2. Remove the front cover of the baseboard.
  3. Inspect the bottom fin area, and ensure that you have good air flow beneath the fin tubing
  4. Use a vacuum brush nozzle to clean the fins
  5. Use pipe cleaners, compressed air or a Popsicle stick to remove stuck debris between the fins. [note: if using compressed air, make sure to use it with the vacuum running to catch airborne debris.]
  6. Inspect the fin tubing and straighten out any damaged or bent fins. Use a putty knife and pliers to establish uniform spacing between the fins and gain efficient airflow.
  7. Re-attach the front cover
  8. Reset the thermostat.











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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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