With the cost of heating bills hitting an all time high as the years drift on by, most people have opted to use a more economical method of keeping themselves warm, such as purchasing an electrical space heater.
Not only are these devices portable and come in various shapes, designs and sizes that can tailor to both indoor and outdoor use for any event, but space heaters are incredibly efficient in generating heat and transforming a freezing room into a comfortable living area.
Generally, an electric-based space heater exudes approximately 1 unit of heat per unit of electricity consumed.
Some space heaters may even consist of heat pumps which are capable of putting out at least 2 units of heat per unit of electricity used. In short, a space heater of this design carries twice the heating efficiency rate of a standard heater.
As tempting as it sounds to simply slip out of your home and hit the stores in search of your new thermal-radiating buddy, you must take into account the time and effort it requires to maintain your space heater to ensure it operates without a hitch.
Perhaps one of the most common problems afflicting unmaintained space heaters is dust and dirt.
Why Do You Need to Clean Your Space Heater?
All space heaters would need to be disassembled and cleaned out at least twice per annum.
Unlike most electrical devices which are constantly handled on a daily basis, such as a cellphone or even laptop, a space cleaner is usually hefted around to an ideal spot, switched on, and left to either sit idly or put to work by cranking up the heat in your home.
Most of the time, you will not be directly touching your space heater for hours, let alone days or even weeks, unless you wish to move the device to a different location.
A heating device that is left on its own will eventually gather dust at its surface, and later build up a thicker layer of dirt on the grilles and even internal components.
Although the dust is not visible to the naked eye, the amount of it will eventually build up and clog the air filters of your space heater.
A dirty space heater will then most likely overheat easily during operation.
An overheating space heater in turn can pose as a fire hazard, and since space heaters top the list for the main reason behind house fires stemming from heating devices, this should not be taken lightly.
Therefore, it is crucial that you maintain your space heater by ensuring your unit is clean at all times, and none of the internal components is riddled with dirt and grime.
What Do You Need to Clean Your Space Heater?
Run your finger across the surface of your space heater when it is switched off and the exterior casing is cool to the touch.
Does your fingertip come off black and gritty at the surface?
If the answer is yes, then you will need to get started on cleaning your space heater.
But before you even begin thinking of disassembling your space heater to reach the air filters, you must prepare yourself with the following tools:
- Dust Mask
- Rubber gloves
- Voltage detector
- Screwdriver with multiple heads (preferably flat-head)
- Adjustable pliers
- Compressed air duster
- Small rag or cloth
- Swiffer or microfiber duster
- Vacuum cleaner
Now that you have assembled the appropriate tools and gear for your clean-up mission, the next step is simple: Let’s get that space heater clean!
How Do You Clean Your Space Heater?
Here are several quick steps you ought to take note of when you whip out those brushes to begin your task of cleaning up your space heater:
1. Wear Your Protective Gear
Before you whip out your tools and tackle your space heater with a most promising clean up, you will need to slip on your protective gear first.
This includes placing a dust mask over your face and a pair of snug rubber gloves on your hands.
You may also wear a pair of safety glasses as additional protection against any dust particles that might irritate your eyes during the cleaning process.
As for the dust mask, make sure the entire mask covers your nose and lips completely.
This is to prevent the inhalation of any dust or fine debris which can irritate the inside of your nostrils or your airways.
Forgoing the mask is risky, especially if you have any preexisting medical conditions such as asthma, which can be triggered by the slightest inhalation of dust or minute foreign particles.
Therefore, it is best to keep the lower half of your face covered as much as possible while you clean your space heater.
2. Switch Off Your Space Heater
Always proceed any task at hand on the side of caution. When dealing with space heaters, which are electric-based, you must turn off your space heater and unplug it from the major power supply before handling it.
Although an idle space heater is of no threat to your body or person, you must remember that all electrical devices carry a residual amount of electricity in their circuit, even if they have been switched off.
A space heater is no different. Once you switch your device off, you must allow it to cool down first for approximately ten to fifteen minutes.
Brush a finger against the exterior plastic casing of your space heater to check if the housing is cool to the touch.
If it is still warm, then wait patiently for another ten minutes before touching the heater again.
Once the device has been properly cooled down, test the circuit of your space heater using a voltage detector.
The voltage detector should be able to pick up even the mildest trace of electrical current running through the system.
In the event that the detector picks up a reading, you will need to double check your space heater to make sure the power has been completely switched off.
Once the reading hits zero, it is safe to assume that your space heater can be handled and cleaned without incurring an electric shock by accident.
3. Clean the Exterior of Your Space Heater
Now that your space heater has been powered down, your next step would be to begin the process of cleaning it.
Most space heaters come with a tough exterior casing that protects the internal components of the heater from being directly accessed by hand.
Over time, a layer of dust or even stains might accumulate over the surface of the casing, turning it dirty or even gritty when you touch it.
In the simple case of dust, all you need to do is wipe down the surface of your space heater using a damp cloth or rag, or even a paper towel.
But if you are up against a miserable stain that simply refuses to budge no matter how many times you wipe over it, it is time to apply some classic countermeasures.
In this case, all you have to do is use a cloth soaked in a small bucket or pail of soapy water.
Make sure you squeeze the cloth tightly to get rid of the excess water, and run the now-damp cloth over the stain repeatedly.
You might have to put a bit of force behind your scrub, but make sure you do not use an excessive amount of force because you might risk breaking the exterior casing, especially if you are cleaning an old space heater with a brittle exterior.
There are stain removers sold in stores which are meant specifically for the removal of tough stains on plastic and metal.
Be wary of these liquids, because some of them are highly flammable or even toxic. It would be best to get rid of any stubborn stains with some soapy water and persistence – once you prevail, make sure you air dry your space heater so that there is no trace of moisture left on the surface.
4. Disassemble Your Space Heater
Cleaning the exterior housing of your space heater is only half the battle. Most space heaters will require a thorough clean up even in the interior sections, especially the air filters.
In order to access the internal components of your space heater, you must first disassemble your device.
Take a good look at the plastic casing of your space heater and observe how it is anchored to the interior section of the device. Is it held together by screws? Fasteners?
If it is held together by screws, you will need to unscrew each screw using a screwdriver with a flat head.
Keep all the screws in a small container so that you do not lose track of them, because you will need each one of them when you reassemble your space heater later.
If your device is secured by clips or fasteners, simply unclip or unfasten the holders one by one.
Once you have removed all the necessary holders that have been put into place to secure your space heater, use an adjustable plier to remove the knob for the thermostat of your space heater.
Do not remove the grilles first! Most people wind up damaging their space heaters irreparably by forcefully removing the grilles without removing the knob first.
Removing the knob will not only reduce the chances of you accidently damaging your thermostat, but it might save you from a costly repair service, or even the need to purchase a new space heater.
5. Clean the Interior of Your Space Heater
Now that you have removed the exterior casing your space heater, you will need to tackle any dirt that has built up in the interior segments and components.
Using a compressed air duster, began targeting any dust or dirt that has built up in the slats, grilles or vents of your space heater.
You may also blow off any dust gathered near the heating element, but do not use any liquids, especially cleaning detergents or solvents that promise a quick stain or dust removal.
Most of these liquids are extremely flammable and if left undried fully on your space heater, can cause your device to go up in flames.
Also try to avoid using any soapy water to clean any interior components of the space heater because undried soapy water can either damage these components or cause them to rust.
If you come across electric wiring or even the thermostat unit inside your space heater, try not to disturb them if possible.
The wiring found inside your heater is incredibly sensitive, and one incorrect tweak or adjustment may cause a fault within your device, or even turn it into a shock hazard when it is switched back on.
You may also use either a Swiffer or a microfiber duster to brush off the stubborn spots of dust that cling on to the hard-to-reach areas inside your space heater.
Gently scrub off any dust you can find, and remove all loose particles using your compressed air duster.
Using a vacuum tipped with a narrow nozzle and brush attachment, suck up any loose dirt that has formed along the grilles or vents, or even around the heating element.
Be sure not to use excessive force during your routine clean-ups and focus on any nooks and crannies or crevices found within your space heater.
6. Reassemble Your Space Heater
Once you have cleaned the insides of your space heater thoroughly and you are satisfied with your handiwork, you will need to reassemble your space heater.
Make sure the interior is completely dry before reassembly – you may speed up the process by using a hair dryer set on cool mode.
Replace the plastic cover of your space heater and screw it back on using your flat-headed screwdriver.
If the cover needs to be fastened by clips or fasteners, then secure the holders in place once again and make sure the fit is tight and snug as a bug.
Count the numbers of clips, fasteners and screws used to limit the chances of you missing out on any of the holders.
Once the cover has been properly affixed, you are ready for one last cleaning maneuver.
7. Give Your Space Heater One Last Wipe Down
Is everything fixed back in place? Yes? Good! Now your space heater requires one final wipe down before you are done for the day.
Using a dry rag or scrap of cloth, wipe down the vents and exterior casing one last time.
Make sure the plastic housing is not only clean, but completely dry as well. If there are any signs of moisture on the exterior casing, let your space heater air dry properly for several hours first.
Only after your heater is completely dry can you plug it back into the electrical socket and switch it on for further use.
By abiding by these simple steps listed above, you are all set on having a clean and dust-free space heater.
It is highly recommended that you do this on a regular basis to prevent an excess of dirt and dust from building up both on the surface of and inside the space heater.
Remember, a dirty space heater is not only filthy to the touch, but it is most likely to overheat as well.
To prevent your space heater from incurring any damage or even turning into a possible fire hazard, it is best to keep your device clean and well-maintained as much as possible.