If you have an older home, then it likely includes baseboard heating. This heating method is easy to use and highly effective at warming your living space. However, if you want to replace it with something more energy efficient, you might wonder how to remove it safely. What steps should you follow?
To safely remove old baseboard heating, shut off its power and remove the access cover. Then, disconnect the wires leading to it, and unscrew the baseboard heating from the wall. Finally, seal the circuit wires, and turn the power back on.
I’ll explain how to safely remove your old baseboard heating in this article. I’ll also share some tips on responsibly disposing of the parts. Let’s get started!
1. Shut Off the Power to the Baseboard Heater
To ensure your safety while removing your old baseboard heating, shut off the power to your baseboard heating. This eliminates the risk of electrocution.
You may have to turn off your house’s power if you can’t locate the appropriate circuit breaker.
2. Remove the Baseboard Heater’s Access Cover
Your baseboard heating’s access cover protects the delicate wiring and other components underneath. It should always be toward the right or left side of the heater.
Using a screwdriver, remove all the screws holding the access cover in place.
3. Disconnect the Wires Leading to the Baseboard Heater
This is the trickiest and most complex part of removing your baseboard heating and involves a few steps.
- Test the wires. Check the wires with a voltage tester. Connect one probe to the black circuit wire and the other to the white circuit wire. The meter should read zero.
- Disconnect the wires from the heater. Using a pair of gloves and pliers, unscrew the caps holding the pairs of wires together and then disconnect the wires from the heater unit.
It’s important to remember that a 120-volt heater has the following wires:
- Two sets of white wires
- Two sets of black wires
- Two sets of ground wires
On the other hand, a 240-volt heater has an additional set of red wires. Therefore, when disconnecting the wires from the heater, you should ensure that you remove all of them.
4. Unscrew the Baseboard Heater From the Wall
Now that you’ve removed the heater’s cover, you can see the screws that secure the unit to the wall. There are usually between three and four screws. Using a screwdriver, gently remove the screws and the baseboard heater from the wall.
If your heater was installed with cement or caulk, you should use a straight-edged putty hand tool to remove it.
How To Dispose of Your Old Baseboard Heater Responsibly
If you’re removing old baseboard heating, it could contain chemicals such as lead or asbestos. These chemicals can harm your or someone else’s health if mishandled.
You can dispose of your old heating unit in two ways:
- Take it to a recycling center. This is the easiest option and only involves a trip to your local recycling center. After taking the baseboard heating apart, they will recycle the useful parts and dispose of the rest responsibly.
- Donate or sell it. If your baseboard heating still works, why not allow someone else to enjoy it? By donating or selling it for a small fee, you might help provide warmth to others this winter.
5. Seal the Circuit Wires
Once you’ve removed your baseboard heating, you’ll be left with extra wires. Remove these wires from the wall and then unhook them from the panel. If you plan on installing another heater soon, insulate the wires with electrical tape.
Alternatively, reroute the wires back into the wall and cap the opening with a cover plate.
Please read my post to learn more about energy-efficient home appliances!
6. Turn the Electricity Back On
Now that you’ve removed the baseboard heating and sealed the circuit wires, you can safely turn the power back on. However, if one or more wires still have an electric charge, you should double-check they were properly sealed.
Electrical leakages from exposed wires pose a fire risk in your home and could electrocute you if you touch them. Call an electrician if you need help dealing with this issue.
7. Touch Up the Wall and Floor
After removing the baseboard heating, you might find that the wall and floor it concealed are dirty or a different paint color. After cleaning the wall and floor, you may need to paint the area the same color so that the room doesn’t look unsightly.
You can remove your old baseboard heating by following the step-by-step guide above. It’s a relatively simple process and shouldn’t take more than a few hours.
- Shut off the electricity to the baseboard heating
- Remove the access cover
- Disconnect the wires leading to the heating unit
- Unscrew the baseboard heating
- Seal the circuit wires
- Turn the power back on, and touch up the wall and floor