At Home with Lisa: Heating with Baseboards

I’m sad to announce that summer is officially over and it’s starting to get a lot cooler outside. This means that very soon, I’m going to have to start turning on my baseboard heaters.

I’m not a fan of my baseboards, and someday I hope to make the transition to some kind of central heating option. But for now, it’s what I have to work with this winter.

I read on Avista’s Energy Saving Checklist, that I should practice “zone heating.” This means I need to turn down the heat in unoccupied rooms, which we already do. It also means to use space heaters in occupied rooms and only for supplemental heating. Continuous use of a 1500-watt space heater (a small one) can run up my monthly bill by $100. This will be something I’ll crack down on this winter. My boyfriend likes to rely on those, rather than the baseboards.

But before I turn on any of these baseboard heaters, I want to make sure I’ve cleaned them. You know that smell of a heater that you’ve just turned on for the first time this year? I want to avoid that.

I found a video on YouTube of someone doing this—they are pretty easy to find. All the tools I needed were my vacuum cleaner with its’ small, triangular attachment and an old toothbrush to get into the smaller areas.

Vacuum with brush attachment cleaning baseboard heater

First, I pulled off the front cover to expose the grills inside. This was tricky: I slid the cover over as far as it would go to one side, then I was able to remove it.

I vacuumed and brushed and even made sure all the dust was off of the cover, too. Be careful not to bend the grills. They can be pretty fragile. Honestly, the hardest part of the job was replacing the cover.

The cold weather is coming. My baseboards are ready.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient.  Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same.  You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday morning.

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