Decorative baseboard heater covers or functional baseboard heater covers? That is the question.
Hot water baseboard heaters are a great way to heat a home. Ask anyone that's familiar with this technological wonder from the 50's and they will probably say two things; they give reliable comfortable heating and they're ugly to look at. So it's clear consumers still see great value in the functional aspects of this type of heating. However for reasons unknown, the dozens of manufacturers over the last six decades that made these things never really put much effort into making them look nice. Obviously if every single room in the house gets at least three feet of baseboard, they're going to be seen. Another fact that is completely obvious is that the installation of hot water baseboard heaters is permanent in nature. These puppies don't just pop on and off the wall to allow a quick change-out of rusty or dented parts. So then why are so many nailed to the wall baseboard heater covers just rusting away? Why do so many endcaps and other accessories go missing? We're not sure about what they were all thinking back then, but we are certain that Baseboarders are the best way to achieve a fully functional heater with an appearance and build quality that will impress.
For the most part, the definition of a nice looking baseboard heater will vary from person to person. Our company has taken the light beer approach; create a product aesthetic that offends the least number of people. For example consider the graphic posted above. Our small focus group discovered that this design concept would only appeal to those that like the techy-honeycomb look, which is probably a small minority. So it got chopped.
The decorative elements of an end-user assembled product line should not just end with the styling. The way baseboard heater covers install and fit together is an important part, sorely missing on all other solutions. Endcaps have to stay in place, panels must have no sharp exposed edges and nothing had better rust for a very long time. Our core product; Baseboarders Premium, offers some evidence that sheet steel can be made into something beautiful while offering these sought-after qualities.
Let's not forget that these things are there to do an important job. Convection air current heating has a few rules. The number one rule is proper airflow around the finned tube element. I don't care how nice a baseboard heater cover looks, if the airflow is restricted on either the bottom (air in) or near the top (heated air out), you're in trouble. We also must consider the type of material used for the baseboard heater cover. Steel and aluminum are good conductors of heat energy and are the ideal material for baseboard heater covers. Be careful with covers made of wood and plastic; both non-conductors of heat energy. Cheap plastic covers from the big box stores can possibly melt.
The best baseboard heater covers will feature simple geometry that is visually appealing, a finish that will not rust, an easy DIY installation and a design that ensures air currents can travel through the cover unimpeded.