Step by Step ProjectsTips from the ProsAffordable Remodel
is there any reason to replace old hot water base board heaters the old ones are in good shape just need paint about 50 years old.has much changed with new ones that make it worth doing. I have separate a/c system so no reason to go to hot air.
From what you are saying, there is no need to replace them.
thank you for your help
The appearance of old baseboard covers is perhaps a COSMETIC issue more than anything else, especially with many women/housewives who feel they are unsightly, especially in a high visibility area like the living room---the least expensive way to solve the problem is perhaps to simply remove especially the front & side facing parts of the baseboard covers, take them out to the garage or back yard, clean them up, spot sand them if needed, lay down some old newspapers & then SPRAY PAINT them with the low-cost spray cans of white paint sold at Home Depot or Lowe's, etc.---the back cover/top sections are often not so easily removed in many cases, and you can damage the water-filled heating elements if you're not careful when trying to remove them----this is especially true of the thin, fragile aluminum fins that will quickly bend if touched at all---the first step when servicing the aluminum fins, is to get a vacuum cleaner & remove any accumulated pet hairs, dirt, dust, etc. from the fin tubes.
There is a "fin comb" that you can buy to straighten the bent aluminum fins, which is a good investment, since the bent fins will REDUCE THE HEAT TRANSFER efficiency of the baseboard in daily operation-----in which case it may be best to leave THAT portion of the baseboard in place, back-shield it with newspaper, as well as the carpet/floor with old newspapers & spray-paint them in place; buying a FIN COMB can be tricky---many BB fins come 6 fins to the inch, so make sure you MEASURE YOUR FIN TUBES (how many fins to the inch) before buying a fin comb (Grainger, Harbor Freight, Amazon, wholesale heating supply jobbers, Home Depot, etc.)--lots of times you're better off to straighten the fins with a needle nose pliers---a tedious-time-consuming task, but much worth it---these thin aluminum fins are VERY EASILY BENT/CRUSHED with the head of the wife's vacuum cleaner, foot traffic, etc.-----BUT THEY MUST BE STRAIGHTENED OUT IN ORDER TO MAXIMIZE THE HEAT TRANSFER INTO THE ROOM---if they are left bent, much less hot air will be able to circulate thru the rooms & you will burn more fuel, as the boiler must fire more often to compensate---the way baseboard heat operates is that when the room gets cold, the T-stat call for heat & turns on the boiler---the baseboard copper tubing & fins heat up & causes the cold room air to enter the BB at the bottom of the unit, flow thru the fins & exit the top of the BB assembly thru the adjustable top metal damper---THIS TOP METAL DAMPER OFTEN GETS INADVERTENTLY CLOSED, which will reduce the amount of heat the room gets---so MAKE SURE THE METAL DAMPER AT THE TOP OF THE BASEBOARD IS COMPLETELY OPEN, SO THE HEAT CAN CIRCULATE FREELY THROUGHOUT THE ROOM!
If you have sections of the existing BB that are bent, or even partially rusted, it may be best to consult the videos below to check out the partial or full replacements available (called "dummy baseboard" covers)--these replacements can be pricey, so consider painting the existing units first-----the last part of the video also shows attractive inserts that can be easily placed over the existing BB for those too damaged to salvage thru spray painting; also Google "Restoring and painting old rusted heater covers-youtube"