An oil filled baseboard heater is made up of a heating element which is inserted in oil. The oil transforms the heat from the heating element, and the heat is sent out into the room. An oil filled baseboard heater is considered a more energy and cost efficient space heater, but there are a few dangers associated with this type of heating device. Most dangers are linked to misuse or damaged heating devices, but you should still be aware of them.
1. Oil Residue Buildup
Even if the oil is not burned while the heater gives off energy, in time, there will be buildups of oil residue on the inside of the heater. The oil filled heaters are typically made of metals, which are heat resistant. However, if the oil residue accumulates, it may start corroding the metal, and the residue can potentially heat up and catch fire. If the heating device has a venting system, it should be cleaned on a regular basis to reduce the risk of fire.
2. Overheating and Fire Hazard
An oil filled baseboard heater heats up extremely quickly and will be hot to the touch. Make sure the heater is not placed near any flammable items or drapes, and keep small children and pets away from the vicinity of the heater. You should also make sure that there are no large objects blocking the heater. These objects can overheat and catch fire. The oil filled heater may also melt electric cables, so ensure that all cables are at a considerable distance from the heater.
3. The Heater May Emit Fumes
The oil that is burned in the baseboard heaters may emit fumes, such as carbon monoxide. A large amount of carbon monoxide is deadly, and it cannot be sensed because these fumes are unscented. In the case of an oil filled heater, the emissions of carbon monoxide are extremely low and harmless if the room is ventilated on a regular basis. Open windows at least every 12 hours to prevent a buildup of harmful fumes. If the heater is larger, and the space is smaller, open your windows more frequently. Make sure to vent the oil filled baseboard heater as well. Don’t leave the heater on unattended, and turn it off when you are not at home or during nighttime.
4. Oil Leaks
An oil filled baseboard heater may cause an oil leak, which not only stains carpets, but may also present a fire risk. Oil is extremely flammable. Check for any oil leaks around your heater regularly, and make sure to remove any stains from your carpets.
The oil filled baseboard heater is an energy efficient device because oil transforms heat more effectively than air. However, if the oil fueled device is placed in a corner or on its side, the heater will not be more efficient than other convection heating units that are placed more centrally.