Many older homes and buildings have baseboard heat, which can be more efficient than radiators. If yours is starting to show its age, fear not because you can paint electric baseboard heaters as long as you use the right kind of primer and paint. Painting is a common task because it is much less costly than replacing a heating system. You can choose a different color if you like, but many people choose to stay somewhat neutral.
Preparing to Paint a Baseboard Heater
Before doing any painting, you must first turn off the unit by removing the fuses or shutting off the breakers. Find the front panels that hide the power source, remove the panels and expose the wiring. Disconnect the black and white wires, making sure that they do not touch. For an added measure of safety, use a voltage tester to ensure that the wires are not hot.
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Now, take off the heater's front faceplate, remove the screws or nails that attach the unit to the wall and remove the unit. Go back to the power source and look for the connector attaching the power into the back of the unit. Remove that, keeping all the parts in a safe place.
Place this heater cover on top of a pair of sawhorses and take off the end caps if you can. It is recommended to rub down the heater with some steel wool to start the prep work. Follow this with an all-purpose cleaner and then wipe everything, making sure that the surfaces are nice and smooth. If there are rough edges, sand them with 320-grit sandpaper.
Prime the Electric Baseboard Heater
Once you have finished the prep work, you can spray a metal primer onto the cover. Use one that has a high heat tolerance of at least 250 degrees Fahrenheit for best results. Apply two coats with a paintbrush or a foam brush, allowing the first one to dry before starting on the second. Another choice is to use an aerosol automobile primer, which is fast, easy to use and heat-resistant.
Most electric baseboard heater covers have a finish of epoxy/polyester powder coat paint, so you can use most interior paint on them. You won't need a special heater paint, but you can use heat-resistant lacquer, appliance epoxy, premium enamel or automobile paint and cover the heater element to protect the fins from getting paint on them.
Paint Electric Baseboard Heaters
Apply one coat of your paint and allow it to dry according to the time shown on the can. Examine the heater cover and if you see any imperfections, you can lightly sand them out. Use a damp cloth to wipe away the sanded dust as you go so that you can more clearly see if any imperfections are left.
Apply the second coat,and remember to paint the part inside the main case. This is between the bottom of the case and the top of the front panel. If you forget to do this when you paint heaters, you will notice the gap from a distance. Let the cover dry completely, reassemble the electric baseboard heater, reconnect it and power it up.