There are a few common problems that you may encounter with your baseboard heater that will cause it to not perform properly or at all. Most of these problems can be easily dealt with.
A common problem for a baseboard heater is that there is something on the outside preventing it from working properly. Check to make sure that there is nothing that could be blocking your heater, such as window curtains, a bunched up carpet or even that there is not furniture placed too closely to the heater.
Sometimes, wiring can come loose and cause a problem. Check your baseboard heater to make certain that all of the wires are attached in their proper places and that they are secure and tight.
Is your baseboard heater getting enough energy? To check this, turn off your baseboard heater and use a voltmeter to look at the voltage between the two power supply lines. If your voltage is low, you may need to increase it. This can be done by calling your electric and gas company and asking for an electrical upgrade.
At the top of your baseboard heater is the damper. Depending on the model of your baseboard heater, you may need to turn the handle parallel to the damper duct or check to see if the damper is turned not only on, but high enough so that it can properly heat your entire room.
If your coils are dirty and clogged, they need to be cleaned. Remove the heater cover unit; this may or may not be a daunting and time-consuming task, greatly depending on the type of cover you have. Look at the coils. If they appear to be dirty, use a vacuum hose or a hand-held vacuum to easily remove any debris that might have gathered there. A can of compressed air can also work, but is much messier.
Fins are something else that need to be cleaned if they are dirty. To clean them, first remove the heater cover unit. Clean away any dirt that you may find that has fallen into the baseboard heater. If your fins have somehow gotten bent, you can use a pair of pliers to carefully straighten them out. Use a can of compressed air to help clear out some of the dust if necessary.
Baseboard heater covers serve not only a safety purpose, but also aid with airflow. Covers help push the air up and away from the baseboard to heat a broader area rather than just the air around the baseboard heater itself. For this reason, make sure that your cover is designed for maximum airflow, especially if you know you already have a weak heater. Avoid aluminum covers, as the prolonged exposure to heat can cause the aluminum to oxidize and warp over time. Stick to a cover made of stainless steel.