Installation Is A Snap. Here’s What You Need To Know.
There have been so many finned tube element manufacturers over the last seven decades it’s likely you have no idea which company made your baseboard heaters. The majority of these firms are long gone – along with the possibility of getting replacements for parts that went missing or need replacing. To solve this problem, Baseboarders® use a simple one piece, one-size-fits-most design that complies geometrically to about 95% of all hydronic (hot water type) baseboard heaters ever made. The overall objective of the Retrofitting Guide is to confirm that the existing finned tube element will be completely covered. The guide is applicable to all product series except Premium TALL (see the notes below to know when this taller version is necessary).
First, Check The Retrofitting Guide To Confirm Baseboarders® Fit Your Heaters:
(Hot Water Baseboard Heaters)
First remove the existing front panel and one endcap to expose the heating element. Both items should easily detach from the baseboard heater.
(Sometimes dried paint or caulk between the endcap and wall can prevent it from pulling off easily.)
Use a measuring device to determine the height of the baseboard heater from the finished floor.
Now measure the distance between the BOTTOM of the finned tube heating element and the top of the existing heater.
Finally, measure the distance between the wall and the front of the heating element.
- Step #1 – Remove one endcap and the front panel.
- Step #2 – Measure between the finished floor and the top of the baseboard heater. Objective: 7-1/2″ or greater.
If this measurement is less than 7-1/2″, the alternative mounting method that uses WB001 wall brackets will be needed. The wall brackets will bring the height up by a minimum of 1-1/4″.
- Step #3 – Measure between the bottom of the heating element and the top of the baseboard heater. Objective: Between 5″ and 6-3/4″.
If this measurement is less than 5″ it is likely the floor to top height is less than 7-1/2″ as noted in step #2. In this case, the WB001 wall brackets should be used to bring the mounting height up for proper coverage. If the distance is greater than 6-3/4″, the BB003 Premium TALL profile should be used.
- Step #4 – Measure between the outside face of the finned tube heating element and the back plate. Objective: Less than 3-1/4″.
It is very uncommon to fail this final check. If the larger 4″ x 4″ or 4″ x 6″ commercial style element is in place, a picture-framing in a wood molding as shown here will solve the depth issue.
No Back Plate? No Problem.
Sometimes the back plate is not available to be used for a quick and easy slip-on installation. It might be a new construction environment or a totally gutted renovation. As with every possible scenario, we have a simple solution.
The back plate, by the way, is that chintzy piece of metal that was secured to your wall without any thought on how it might be removed one day when it rusted. Back plates installed prior to the 1990’s are probably nailed in place, but even if screws were used, it’s still not an easy job as the finned tube element is normally positioned in a way that makes accessing the screw heads nearly impossible. It’s a tricky job, but our friends at Ask This Old House made it look easy when they did a great piece on how to remove the back plate.
So if the back plate isn’t there, follow this guide:
- Ensure the wall behind the baseboard heater is patched and painted up to 8″ above the finished floor.
- Locate the nearest stud (or some solid material behind the sheetrock) at both ends of the heater.
- To make the job easy, locate and drill a pilot hole 7″ above the finished floor. This is only a recommended height. Ultimately you can decide how high to mount the Baseboarders® panel. Do not use BB003 Premium Tall as the taller profile will never be applicable in this situation.
- Using the screws provided, secure one WB001 wall bracket at each end of the heater. Use a third in the middle for additional support and for 6′ and 7′ lengths.
- The wall bracket will produce a thin gap between itself and the wall. This gap will receive the lip on the back side of the Baseboarders® panel as illustrated.
Next, Measure The Lengths of Your Baseboard Heaters:
How To Measure Panel Lengths:
Each endcap can slide out up to 1-3/4" to cover the protruding pipes.
Measure the length of the back plate.
Note: The copper pipes might stick out further at the sides. DO NOT measure from this line.
71" Length = (standard 6' panel - cut to 71" if necessary)
How To Measure Panel Lengths:
Inside 90 Degree Corners
Determine Panel Length Needed:
38" measured - 3" for the depth of the adjacent cover
= 35" (standard 3' panel - cut to 35" if necessary)
Determine Panel Length Needed:
24" measured - 3" for the depth of the adjacent cover
= 21" (standard 2' panel - cut to 21" if necessary)
There’s no need for fractional or precise right-on-the-dot measurements. Baseboarders® are designed to yield an incredible amount of flexibility. Each endcap can be slid out to cover a greater length beyond the end of the panel once snapped on. In fact, a pair of endcaps can offer a full 3-1/2″ of additional span to the overall length of coverage on a typical straight heater. Here are a few quick tips that will ensure measuring panel lengths is quick and easy:
- Always round down the actual measurement to a whole number (example: 72-3/4″ measured, order a standard 6′ panel).
- Pay close attention to the animations above that show where to locate the zero mark on your tape measure.
- Baseboard heaters longer than 7′ (6′ for Basic series) will require the use of multiple panels and couplers to register the ends together.
Any length is possible. If you need to trim a panel, [video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”-E1hIoYVgro” width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”here’s how to do it.”] Here’s a few examples of long lengths:
- 8′ – Two 4′ panels and a coupler.
- 15′ – Three 5′ panels and two couplers.
- 9′-7″ – One 5′ panel, one 5′ panel CUT TO 55″ (no charge factory cut and labelled) and a coupler.
- Need us to trim down a standard length panel at no charge? Just indicate which panels to cut down to what length in the notes section at check-out.
- Use this handy guide to figure out any length beyond the longest single integral lengths (6′ for Basic, 7′ for all others)
As illustrated above, standard straight lengths are measured from end to end using the original back plate. If a straight section is missing the back plate, measure from one extreme end of desired coverage to the other extreme end of coverage. Then subtract 1″. This is the ideal panel length. Configurations involving an “L” or a “C” layout should, as illustrated above, always subtract the depth of the adjacent heater cover (always 3″) from the actual length measured.
Custom Lengths – Baseboarders® are manufactured in all of the common industry standard nominal lengths; 2′, 3′, 4′, 5′, 6′ and 7′. Occasionally some baseboard radiators will not possess these industry standard nominal lengths. Custom cut lengths are available from a select number of distributors as well as factory direct orders. There is no extra charge for providing custom cut lengths. On-site panel modifications are also possible. We recommend hand shears that are capable of 22 gauge galvanized steel to cut the panels. Endcaps and other accessories should not / cannot be modified.
Finally, Select The Style of Your Choice.