It’s the time of the year when your home has got a bit too cold, and you notice that there’s a strange, reeking smell that lingers across your room when you switch on your baseboard electric heater.Baseboards often accumulate dust, which can spell trouble for baseboard heat.

Like many of your friends and peers, you may fret and wonder if there’s anything you could do about it.

Well, relax…! That strange smell that you are worried about is primarily because of the dust (or in some cases, oil or mold) that has accumulated over a period on your electric heat strips – usually during the summer when the dirt or grease in the environment may settle in.

It’s an inherent thing that may happen year after another or from one season to the next.

The intensity of the smell is likely to be affected by the amount of dust that has been there.

It may seem obvious that this is something that you need to worry about.

This odor may dissipate within a few minutes after the heater is turned on since the residue is burnt off in the initial phase.

But if the stench is powerful enough, and it does not subside within the next few minutes, or even after switching it on and off for a couple of times, it’s time that you do a vigilant check to help mitigate this issue.

You may call in your service provider to have it checked so that there isn’t a bigger problem at hand.

Alternatively, you may consider taking control of the situation and getting it resolved, depending on how critical your issue is.

Potential Issues With Baseboard Heaters

Apart from the dust and mold issues, there may be a few other things that you might want to consider.

Smell From an Electric Baseboard Heater. Smells from electric baseboard heaters are usually the result of accumulated dust that is being heated.

Image credits: albertgelson – Flickr

Following are some of the most common issues leading to smell from baseboard electric heater.

Faulty Installation OR Electrical Malfunctions

Quite often, the Baseball Electric Heater may not work because the installation has not been done properly.

One of the common symptoms could be the smell of the burning rubber – a hard, nasty smell, which can be poisonous to breathe if you are exposed to it for an extended period.

Any idea why after turning on an electric baseboard heater in my basement it would generate a strong sickly sweet smell?

Image credits: albertgelson – Flickr

Switch off all the electrical units and connect with a heating professional immediately in case that happens.

Heat Blockage

There can be instances where the baseboard electric heater is blocked by drapes or pieces of furniture which can eventually lead to overheating the unit.

Try applying some lubricant on the heating valves inside the baseboard heater – not only to stop the reeking smell but to avoid corrosion inside the pipes and ensure a steady airflow.

Cleaning Issues

To ensure a longer and a sustainable life for your baseboard electric heater, make sure that you give high priority to its cleaning and maintenance.

Remember that without proper sanitation, your heating system may collect soot, smoke, dust, and even hair from the environment, resulting in additional expenses as well as malfunctions, which can consequently lead to a burning smell and other related issues.

If the service seems a bit too expensive or isn’t covered by warranty or insurance, here are the few sets of steps that you may resolve the issue on your own.

Steps To Be Followed

Here are some of the steps that you need to follow:

1.    Turn It On and Off

Switch off your electric heater as soon as you notice the smell. Give yourself at least 20 to minutes to allow the heater to cool off.

2.    Remove The Cover Of your Baseboard Electric Heater

When your electric heater has cooled down, gently remove the cover your electric heater by unscrewing the screws at the end of it.

In case it snaps off, it is advisable to take it off gently with the help of a screwdriver and place it on the side.

3.    Clean The Dust Or Accumulated Matter On The Heating Element

In a typical setting, as soon as you remove the cover, you’ll be exposed to the heating element. Remove the dust with a vacuum cleaner, an old toothbrush or a soft cloth.

Avoid using chemicals or abrasives, as this may damage the wires and harm the electric heater permanently or in the longer run.

For the other hard to reach areas, it is preferable to use a vacuum with the narrow nozzle to suck the remaining residue without damaging the filaments.

4.    Clean The Cover And Replace It Back On the Main Device

Before reassembling the cover, make sure that you clean the cover thoroughly.

You may dust it off with a dry, soft cloth and then wipe it with a small, damp towel before reassembling it onto your electric baseboard heater.

Make sure that you give it sufficient time to dry up entirely before affixing it on the board. Screw the edges up again and ensure that the cover it well affixed before switching the heater on again.

5.    Test And Run

When you’re done with the installation, make sure that everything is in place. Turn on the heater and enjoy a fresh breath of a warm and cozy feeling that you’ve always looked for.

Watch this video on how to proceed further

Maintaining Your Baseboard Electric Heater

If you want your baseboard electric heater to last for a more extended period (and you certainly would like to do that), ensure that you maintain it regularly.

Perform a regular health check at least once in 6 to 12 months, primarily if your home is in one of those areas which are prone to dust and humidity.

As long as old homes exist, so will baseboard heaters. Baseboard heaters provide a simple and affordable solution for heating an older home

Moreover, if you have pets at home, it is likely that the hair loss by your animal may accumulate in the heating element as well.

Make sure you vacuum the areas inside and around your Baseboard Electric Heater to ensure its sanitation and assurance that it does not reek out burning odor when you need it the most.

Before the winter season, ensure that your heating device is up and running. In case, it’s not, do not risk yourself by engineering the heating mechanics on your own.

Give a call to your heating professional to repair the unit. This would help you save a lot of money as they charge you additional money when the time comes.

Finally, ensure that there are no obstructions whatsoever that can block the airflow to ensure smoother operations.

Click here to read the health issues related to heaters.

Baseboard Electric Heaters is a popular choice amongst the several households across the world, and quite rightly so.

Apart from the fact that they are safe, quite inexpensive and easy to install, these machines have been around for at least half a century.

Apart from the leverage to operate it via an electrical connection, which is of course by far the cleanest energy resource available, makes it even more conducive for daily usage.

On the other hand, centralized heating systems, also referred to as the zonal heating system, may deem suitable for professional settings or huge commercial structures, it may (often) be a viable option for residential use because of the complications involved in the maintenance and installation.

Moreover, the mechanism through it works is quite simple as well: the cold air from your room enters through one of its lower vents, gets heated from the electrical heating equipment and valves inside the baseboard, and pushed from the top.

That’s where the damper comes into play: you can adjust the level of heat and direction by controlling it via remote control.

In some instances, particularly the older versions, the body can corrode as time passes by, and it can be a big hassle to remove it from the wall (without leaving scratches behind) and reinstalling it again.

However, engineers have come up with a rather much ergonomic design, with a perforated outlook, to catalyze natural airflow, as well as fit in snugly onto the existing heating unit, thereby giving it a modern appeal and aid faster heating of your room.

Apart from the electrical systems and heating mechanisms, some people may still rely on hearths and fireplaces in their homes.

The problem with those antediluvian heating furnaces and structures is that they are not just archaic, the fumes released by them can be fatal, and the maintenance cost can be sky high.

While this may be a decent option for independent, rustic cottages, for modern housing systems, this may not be a viable option.

Get A Home Energy Audit Done

While speaking about cleanups and maintenance of your baseboard electric heater, it is also noteworthy that you get your home energy audit done from an expert.

An energy audit is an assessment of your home that takes a look at current energy consumption and then identifies energy efficiency measures that you can conduct to make your baseboard heaters more efficient.

As harsh as it may sound, it is not very difficult to get it done, and it would help you save some amount in the longer run.

In case your house has multiple baseboard electrical heaters, such as one which is installed in the bathroom, kitchen living area and bedroom, it’s advisable to manage energy efficiency to keep the temperature in control and energy efficiencies in check.

The energy audit starts off with the monitoring of the safety check, for example, whether there is any gas leakage or not, and all the pipes and fittings are in place so that they don’t cause a reek, neither induce any environmental hazard.

The most important part is to check the filters, at least once a month, and especially during the winter season when the heaters are extensively used. Also, keep a close check on the gaps, leaks, and drafts.

You might want to use a thermal imaging device to track where the concentration of heat is high.

In case you cannot afford one, use a simple trick: if you have particular corners where there is a high concentration of spiders, it’s likely that the space is quite warm, and it might need some readjustments.

Finally, patch up any gaps or air leaks. This can be done simply by using a stream of expandable foam or plaster to seal areas that invite a lot of external heat and cold into your house.

Just spray it around to seal all the crevices.

For areas that have external access, such caveats, just ensure that you install some rigid installation, such as a door, to keep cold air at bay during the winters.

Furthermore, check out windows around the edges.

More often, it’s the tiny crevices that allow chilled air into your room during winters, making it a bane for you to stay indoors despite an efficient baseboard electric heater in place.

Seal those up, and it would help you save a lot of cost in the longer run.

Maintenance Options & Tips

The odor or smell from baseboard electric heaters is a common issue and something that shouldn’t cause a lot of concern in a lot of cases.

While there may be a lot of reasons for this to occur, including the dust issue as well as the burnout of the lubricant inside the valves as it heats up, in most of the cases it’s the former that is mainly responsible for the concern amongst the dwellers of the household.

Overcoming this is easy. With regular cleanups, maintenance, and servicing, you can get rid of this issue.

However, if the problem persists for a more extended period, let’s say for around an hour, you might want to refer to the user manual, switch off the electric baseboard and contact the relevant service provider to avoid any significant hazard.

Finally, do check up on your thermostat as the efficiency of the one installed in your electric baseboard heater.

If you don’t have sophisticated equipment at home, ask professional whether it’s working fine.

If you have installed a new heater in your place, the thermostat often comes with a 3-5-year replaceable warranty (depending on the company and dealer you have brought it from).

If the temperatures appear to fluctuate a lot despite an efficient thermostat in place, you might want to have it checked.

In the end, managing the smell from baseboard electric heaters is easy. Just make sure that you have everything checked and well maintained, and

I am pretty sure that you’ll be fine.