It used to be standard procedure. When your old baseboard heater covers start rusting you had to replace them. The whole kit and caboodle. Call in the plumber at $60/hour. Not anymore. The crazy thing is, some people still haven't heard about easy slip-on Baseboarders.
It's not a gimmick. Not a temporary solution. Not a here today gone tomorrow thingy. This is how millions of tired rusty baseboard heaters are being rejuvenated. DIY style, of course.
Finned tube element is a great way to heat an interior space. It was the most common form of home heating installed in new homes during the post war building boom of the 50's and 60's. These days the vast majority of all those new builds from decades ago utilize the same heating elements. Without any moving parts they will surely last for decades more. The same cannot be said about the covers.
It is necessary to protect the delicate thin aluminum wafers that comprise the finned tube element for both aesthetic reasons as well as adding a protective shield to prevent them from being damaged. You will often see heating elements all banged up with the fins pushed in. Technically the heater will still work, however by mangling the aluminum fins, the surface area along the heating element is reduced. This causes the convector to produce less heat per linear foot. Remember: your gas company dollars are maximized when your baseboard heater's efficiency is maximized and this happens when the finned tube element's surface area is maximized around a cover that allows the maximum amount of airflow through it.
So a baseboard heater cover is absolutely necessary. So what is the best baseboard heater cover available? I think one that allows proper airflow around the heating element. I'd say it should look highly attractive. Have you ever seen a baseboard heater that wasn't ugly? What were these guys thinking back then? The best baseboard heater cover should also use as few bits and pieces as possible (missing endcaps anyone?). It should be made of high quality, heat-conducting materials. It should fit all standard baseboard heaters and the installation had better be easy and take no more than 3 minutes. Of course, these are the attributes of Baseboarders brand baseboard heater covers. It's no wonder our company is the largest manufacturer of DIY baseboard heater covers in the world.