Cleaning an electric heater

Why it’s important to keep your electric heater clean

As well as looking far better than a dirty, unclean one, keeping your electric heater clean and free from dust and dirt can help to keep your heating costs down.

Dust and dirt in between the fins of a natural convection electric heater can prevent heat from escaping, which will mean your electric heater will have to work harder to heat your room which will cost you more to run.

It’s important then to take the right measures and thoroughly clean your electric heater at least once a year and keep on top of any dust that builds up. Making it a part of your cleaning routine is a good idea.

You may not become a wealthy overnight, but a few minutes here and there all add up and could lead to a significant saving on the cost of your home heating over the lifespan of your system.

Why does my electric heater keep getting dusty?

There’s dust in the air all of the time. Even now as you read this. It’s everywhere, and it’s probably not all dust either – there’ll be pet hair (if you have pets), nicotine residue (if you’re a smoker or a residue from an electronic cigarette) and all sorts of other stuff mixed in – it’s probably best if you try not to think about it.

The reason it clumps together and gets trapped in and around your radiator is that of the current of air that helps to circulate heat around your room.

Warm air rises and cold air falls. So as the air sinks, it takes dust with it, and as it’s drawn up through the electric heater, dust will begin to collect on the fins of your electric heater.

It could be that you never even noticed it before. I mean let’s face it, who out there goes looking into the depths of their electric heater on a regular basis? Exactly my point!And if you are one of the people that don’t peer in-between the fins down the back of your electric heater, chances are you’ll come across a fair amount of dust and dirt when you do.

What do I need to clean my electric heater?

Before you put on your clean gear on and start to clean your electric heater, make sure you’ve got each of these things to hand.
• Vacuum cleaner
• duster
• bucket of hot soapy water
• sponges & cloths
• towel or a dust sheet
• a long stick (like a yardstick)
• Any tape

Cleaning your electric heater

Follow the simple steps below to get your electric heater looking clean and shiny again and ensure that they’re working as well as they can be; saving you money and keeping you warm at all times.

Step one – turn off your heaters

Before you even start to clean your electric heaters, it’s important to make sure that your heater is turned off.
Not only is this a much safer option than trying to clean a hot heater, but it makes more sense to start cleaning when the electric heater is cold, as this will stop the convection current from drawing, even more, dust-up behind the radiator as you clean, also water and electricity don’t mix that well.

Step two – get the vacuum out.

Cleaning your electric heater vacuum

To begin with, you need to try and clear as much of the dust from in, around and under your electric heater as possible.
Try all the attachments on your vacuum cleaner to see what works best you may even be able to get down and inside the fins. But don’t worry if you don’t, there are a few simple ways around that problem.

Step three – the stick or ruler method

Of course, you can buy specialist radiator cleaning brushes, but if you don’t have them, you will have to improvise.
Anyone will tell you that there’s more satisfaction in completing a job with tools that you’ve made yourself – and this is pretty rudimentary if I’m honest.

Just take a long piece of wood – something like a yardstick or a metre ruler – wrap a cloth around the end and secure it in place with some tape. Being careful not to cover too much of the cloth with the tape or put too much cloth around the stick or it will be too big to get into the places you need it to get too.

Place a towel or cloth under the electric heater (to catch any dust or dirt and keep your floor clean) and begin to push the stick down the back of your radiator, from top to bottom, pushing dust and dirt out until all nice and clear.

Repeat this on each section of your radiator, until you have cleared most (if not all) of the dust and dirt away.

Step four – the hairdryer fix

hairdryer the electric heater

Believe it or not, but a straightforward and efficient way of getting the dust out from the inside and down the back of your radiator is to use a hairdryer.
Just point the nozzle of your hairdryer into the grooves at the top of your radiator and turn it up onto the highest setting.
That should help you to get a lot of the leftover dust and dirt down and out from in and behind your electric heater – just be sure to place a suitable cloth or towel down on the floor before you begin.

Step five – soap up your electric heater

Grab your bucket and fill it up with warm water.

Pour in a little washing up liquid or your favourite household cleaning fluid product
Swirl the water around till you get a good amount of suds going.

Double check that your electric heater is turned off.

Plunge your sponge or cloth into the water and wring it out, so it’s just slightly damp.

Wipe down the exterior of your electric heater with the sponge, being careful not to splash too many drips on the floor or carpet and wipe it off with a dry cloth to avoid any rust.

Some extra electric heater cleaning tips

• Be sure to vacuum your electric heater regularly. This will not only help to protect you against allergies but will contribute to ensuring that your heating is working at its optimum level at all times.
• When to clean your electric heaters – summertime is the best time of year to give them a thorough clean.
• If you want to give your electric heater a full-blown clean and, you can always remove it from the wall altogether, just take it off the brackets then you can clean the heater, and the wall behind or paint it.
Things to remember when cleaning an electric heater

Cleaning your electric heater is pretty easy to do once you’ve got the hang of it.

But there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re doing the job.

It’s important to be careful with the kind of materials you use to get your radiator clean. Avoid using abrasive materials like brillo pads for example, as these may scratch and damage the surface.

If there are stubborn stains on your radiators, leave a spray solution on for a few minutes longer than normal and wipe it away vigorously with a cloth or a sponge.

Never try and remove the panels on an electric radiator for cleaning purposes as you may damage the heating elements. Instead, clean around the panels to protect both yourself and the integrity of the heater.
A deep and thorough clean is achieved.

Should you contact a professional cleaner?

There will, of course, be times when the best option is for you to contact a professional cleaner.

This is likely to be the case if your radiator hasn’t been cleaned for a long time, or if you have just moved into a house and don’t fancy cleaning out other people’s dust.

That way, you can be assured of a ‘proper’ job; one that will leave your heaters and have it looking shiny and new in no time.

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