Baseboard heaters are a prevalent house heating method, yet they now lack high energy efficiency. If you have them in your home, you may want to consider moving them or getting rid of them entirely. They were once common in earlier structures and are still popular now because of their low cost and simplicity of installation. Baseboard heaters can be relocated or removed if necessary. You can remove baseboard heaters on your own if you have a basic understanding of electrical and plumbing.
Moving baseboard heaters can be tricky, and the complexity can vary depending on whether the heater is electric or hydronic. Moving your baseboard heaters will need the help of a professional. Understanding how to move or remove a baseboard heater is critical as you don’t want to stand any chance of carbon monoxide poisoning just because you’re making wall repairs.
In our guide, you can learn more about removing a baseboard heater. By the end, you’ll see all you need for safe baseboard heater removal for decorating or to upgrade your home heating systems. (Read Can You Leave A Space Heater On All Night)
Is It Easy To Remove Baseboard Heaters?
Before you even remove the baseboard, heater covers, it’s better to understand what you are dealing with for your baseboard heating systems.
Baseboard heaters come in two varieties. Aluminum fins surround the heating element in electric and hydronic baseboard heating systems.
These heaters are typically positioned under windows and on a “cold” or “outside” wall.
As the cold air falls, it is heated beneath the baseboard heater and rises into the room as the temperature rises. This heating process is repeated until the room or zone reaches the desired temperature.
Radiant baseboard heating systems installation is being phased out since they are no longer an efficient way to provide heat.
Electric Baseboard Heaters
The most basic of baseboard heaters are electric heaters. The metal heating element inside is heated by electricity and is wired into your home’s electrical system.
Except for the aluminum fins and structure that allow cold air to go through and be heated within, the inside of an electric baseboard heater is identical to that of a space heater.
You will need basic electrical understanding to work with an electric baseboard heater for removal as well as installing in a room.
Hydronic Baseboard Heaters
The mechanics of a hydronic baseboard heating system or hot water heaters are like electric heaters, except they are connected to the home’s boiler system.
These heaters work by flowing hot water through copper pipes surrounded by the aluminum fins that are the trademark of these heating units, rather than heating the core with electricity.
All the plumbing associated with these old heaters returns to your home’s boiler, so you’ll need plumbing experience and an understanding of the electrical elements to remove baseboard heating of this type.
How to Remove an Electric Baseboard Heater
1. Turn Off Power
Turn off the heater circuit breaker located in the main panel. Turning down the thermostat isn’t enough; it could turn on while you’re working, which could be fatal.
2. Remove Electrical Access Cover
The access cover is attached to one end of the heater by one or two screws. Remove the screws and the cover with a Phillips screwdriver.
3. Disconnect Wiring
You must locate the breakers on your power panel that feed electrical power to the radiant baseboard heaters before you start removing baseboard heating units.
Wearing a pair of rubber gloves for insulation. Carefully unscrew the wire caps while keeping pairs of wires together and pull the wires apart.
If the heater is 120 volts, you’ll see a pair of white wires, a pair of black wires, and a pair of ground wires. (Read Ceramic Heater Vs Oil Heater)
If the ground wire is attached to a screw on the heater, loosen the screw and remove the wire. There will be an additional pair of red-hot wires if the machine operates at 240 volts.
Disconnect them as well. Please do not touch any exposed wires unless they’ve been thoroughly tested.
4. Test the Wires
Make sure the wires are dead with a voltage tester. The black circuit wire should be connected to one probe, while the ground or white circuit wire should be connected to the other.
The meter should read zero, and any lights on the tester should be turned off. Check the breakers if you obtain a reading or if the light comes on. It’s possible that you turned off the incorrect one.
5. Remove Heater From the Wall
There should be three or four screws holding the heater housing to the wall if you look inside it. Using a screwdriver, unscrew these and keep them safe.
Gently pull it from the wall with a putty knife if the heater is stuck. Feed the circuit wires through the back hole as you pull the heater away from the wall.
6.Secure Circuit Wires
You’ll have wires hanging out of the wall after removing the heater, which you can’t keep there. So, one option is to pull the cable out of the wall and disconnect the wires from the panel (this needs an electrician for safety).
If the wires are connected to a thermostat, you’ll need to disconnect and remove it and the wires it’s connected to.
If you plan to install another heater after you remove the baseboard heater, one option is to screw a wire cap onto each wire, push the wires into the electrical box, and then screw on a cover plate.
If the wires are hanging out of the wall since there isn’t a box, you can install a remodeling box that connects to the drywall and screw a cover plate to it. Adding electrical tapes can suffice if installing another heater but shouldn’t be permanent.
Taping a plastic bag to your heating unit keeps all the screws in place to remount the baseboard heating unit. (Learn How To Heat A Hot Tub Without A Heater)
What Do You Do With Wires After Removing Baseboard Heater?
If you’re permanently removing the baseboard heaters, the wires should be routed to the panel or terminated in a metal junction box with a cover. If you can get under there, you could pull them down below the landing floor and place them in an accessible place inside a junction box.
You may need to relocate your baseboard heaters. It’s important to note that the location of your baseboard heaters is crucial to the operation of your heating system.
On an outside wall or under a window, they are the most efficient. You may decide to use existing electrical and plumbing systems rather than undertake a major reconstruction job.
Moving Electric Heaters
A hydronic heater is more challenging to relocate than an electric baseboard heater. However, if you move the heater within a few feet of its original location, you may use the existing wiring while still maintaining the heating system’s effectiveness.
You’ll need to add wiring to the current electrical system and make sure a new junction box is installed. It’s best to hire an electrician for this process to confirm that you’re following the rules and that the repurposed heater is safe to use.
Moving Hydronic Heaters
Your hot water baseboard heaters have a complex pipe system. To relocate these heaters, you’ll need all new return and supply pipes and the heating element pipe. This will necessitate a great deal of skill and some little construction work.
You may need to open up floors and ceilings. The materials and pipelines required can be costly. This job will necessitate the services of a licensed plumber. It’s possible that moving your hydronic baseboard heaters isn’t the most fantastic option.
Updating Baseboard Heaters
Baseboard heaters are most commonly found in older homes. As a result, they can be inconvenient to use and unappealing to look at. In addition, they’re usually made of metal, which will corrode with time and be challenging to paint and maintain.
They also dent easily with time and depending on how they vent; this can reduce the efficiency of your heating system.
If you’re thinking about moving or relocating your existing baseboard heaters for these reasons, there’s another option to explore.
With ready-made baseboard covers, you can effortlessly replace and modernize the look and feel of your baseboard heaters.
If removing your baseboard heaters permanently, wires must be removed to the panel, or at least, the wire ends placed in a metal junction box with a cover. You could keep them in an accessible place inside your junction box.
Can You Remove Electric Baseboard Heaters?
Before removing the heater, make sure the electricity to it is turned off at the main circuit breaker. This is a crucial step that ensures both your safety and the safety of your home.
You’ll need to get to the junction box on the heater. The electrical wires that connect the heater to the home’s electrical system are found here. The heater’s junction box can be found on either the right or left side.
Double-check that the electric heater has been switched off completely. A voltmeter is a tool that can help you do this. You want to make sure your voltmeter reads 0 volts while testing the voltage. (Read Where Are Howard Miller Clocks Made)
The wires must be disconnected from the wire nuts holding the wires.
Look for any screws or bolts holding the heaters in place or connecting it to the wall. Using the correct tools, remove screws and bolts. If a screwdriver can’t do it, try a power drill with the right bit for more torque to remove baseboard heating systems.
Pull the top of the heater away from the wall with a putty knife or a small crowbar, gently tugging until it comes free.
Wire covers or temporary electrical tape will be required to cover the otherwise live electrical wires.
Can I Remove A Baseboard Water Heater?
You must turn off the power to both the heater and the boiler at the circuit breaker panel. It’s critical to wait for the boiler and the water in the heater pipes to cool down.
To get to the boiler, you’ll need to cut the supply and return pipes. Again, pipe caps should be used to finish the job.
Remove the screws or bolts that hold the baseboard in place from the wall. To get to these screws, you’ll have to remove the cover. Keep the heater off the floor as much as possible.
To remove the heater from the wall, use a pipe saw to cut through the pipes at both ends of the heater.
Pipes should be sawn as close to the floor as workable and capped with pipe caps. If you are not handy doing this, you’ll need a qualified plumber.