Author Topic: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?  (Read 26960 times)

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hermanne

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Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« on: March 11, 2011, 05:00:19 PM »
Wondering how some folks here have handled/are handling a similar situation.

We moved into our house last week (yay!). It has baseboard heaters that run along at least one wall in the rooms, usually the outside wall.

How have you placed your furniture, I.e the kind that usually gets placed along a wall? Any concerns or problems with fabric/leather/wood?

We have leather sofas, one against a heater. DH and I put our bed against a wall in our room that doesn't have a heater, even though I think it'd look better against a wall that does. Several dressers are also against the the heaters.

TIA
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Wulfie

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2011, 05:12:37 PM »
DANGER, DANGER, DANGER. 

Anything flamible should be kept a minumum of 8 inches away from the heaters. This includes dressers, furniture, ect.  You will ruin your couch with it against the heater like that. Remember that baseboard heaters are basicly space heaters and you have to use the same concerns with them that you would with a space heater.

sparksals

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2011, 05:13:04 PM »
I wouldn't put a leather couch or expensive wood furniture along a baseboard heater.   For one thing, while heat rises, the furniture there will block the free flow of heat and depending on the temperature, could warp your wood furniture and discolour your leather. 

I guess it depends on how valuable your furniture is. 

sparksals

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2011, 05:13:40 PM »
DANGER, DANGER, DANGER. 

Anything flamible should be kept a minumum of 8 inches away from the heaters. This includes dressers, furniture, ect.  You will ruin your couch with it against the heater like that. Remember that baseboard heaters are basicly space heaters and you have to use the same concerns with them that you would with a space heater.

Wow!  I didn't even think of the fire hazard!!! 

hobish

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2011, 05:20:51 PM »


It’s the first thing I thought of. We have electric baseboard heat in my house and I hate it. I’ve gotten used to the fireplace; but those heaters still scare me. 

I do recommend keeping furniture, especially couches that can reach flash point quickly, away from baseboard heaters. The only reasonable place to put my couch is on a wall with a heater, so we have it pulled out about 9-12” both for fire safety and to let the heat actually go up and circulate.

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nowhere

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2011, 05:24:07 PM »
Our house has baseboard heaters on almost all the walls in each room.  It's annoying as heck.  With our sectional (fabric), we placed it a couple of inches or so away from the baseboard heaters.  We also placed our bed the same distance.  Any other pieces of furniture will basically have to be placed this way.

Edited:  Hmm... I'm really bad at determining distance, so maybe my "couple of inches" is wrong after reading the other responses.  I'm not in that house now, so I can't measure exactly what it is, but I think it might be closer to 8"-10" from the baseboard heaters.  We're going to the house tonight so I'll make another edit when I can measure the actual distance then.

Edited again:  Yup, everything is about 8"-10" from the baseboard heaters.  Ours are hot water, so they don't get terribly hot.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 11:38:40 PM by nowhere »

hermanne

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2011, 05:28:31 PM »
DANGER, DANGER, DANGER. 

Anything flamible should be kept a minumum of 8 inches away from the heaters. This includes dressers, furniture, ect.  You will ruin your couch with it against the heater like that. Remember that baseboard heaters are basicly space heaters and you have to use the same concerns with them that you would with a space heater.

Wow!  I didn't even think of the fire hazard!!! 

Me neither! And with two little kids who pounce on the sofa, it's always going to get pushed into the wall and heater!
 
Ours are hot water, does that make any difference? (Not being snarky, just want to know.)
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camlan

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2011, 06:15:38 PM »
Not all baseboard heaters are like space heaters. The electric ones might be, but there are hot water and steam baseboard heaters as well. I wouldn't put anything right next to them, but they are not a fire hazard waiting to happen. My current home has the big old cast iron radiators and I keep a clear zone of about 8-10 inches around them, just to be on the safe side.

As a general rule of thumb, try to keep anything flammable about 10-12" from the radiators. This will both prevent fires and allow the heat to rise and circulate in the room. Don't cover an entire wall of radiators with furniture--leave some of the radiator exposed so that the heat can get into the room. Otherwise you will end up heating the backs of dressers and bookcases and not your room.
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hobish

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2011, 06:19:38 PM »

I think the water ones are not quite as flamey.

...and that did not sound even a tiny bit snarky.

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MrsJWine

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2011, 06:39:29 PM »
We just placed them a few inches out.  Ours never got hot enough to be anywhere near a fire hazard, but the furniture could block heat from getting into the rooms.


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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2011, 07:23:47 PM »
We just placed them a few inches out.  Ours never got hot enough to be anywhere near a fire hazard, but the furniture could block heat from getting into the rooms.

This. My mom's lived in a house with hot water baseboard heaters for 50 years. They don't get anywhere near hot enough to ignite something. Even if you crank the heat up to 90, you can still place your hand on them comfortably.

But they are a PITA, because you can't push furniture right up against the wall, and anything too close will block the heat. And what's the point of heating the space underneath the beds?

Check your couch manufacturer to see what they recommend, though. I think a combination of normally dry winter air + heat won't be optimal for leather, but I've never had leather furniture.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2011, 09:29:45 AM »
We just placed them a few inches out.  Ours never got hot enough to be anywhere near a fire hazard, but the furniture could block heat from getting into the rooms.

This. My mom's lived in a house with hot water baseboard heaters for 50 years. They don't get anywhere near hot enough to ignite something. Even if you crank the heat up to 90, you can still place your hand on them comfortably.

But they are a PITA, because you can't push furniture right up against the wall, and anything too close will block the heat. And what's the point of heating the space underneath the beds?

Check your couch manufacturer to see what they recommend, though. I think a combination of normally dry winter air + heat won't be optimal for leather, but I've never had leather furniture.

I agree; we had cast iron baseboard heaters in the house I grew up in, and due to the layout of the room, one of my twin beds was in the corner, up against the heater, and never had any kind of problem.  They really don't get hot enough to ignite anything; if they did, they wouldn't be used.  They are PITA; as pointed out, as you are limited in where you can place the furniture, so as not to "waste" the heat. 

Funny story:  we had rattan couches in our family room, and the baseboard heaters were behind one of them.  My one cat used to go under, and stretch out full length across the heater, as it was safe, and warm.  That was HER spot.

Luci45

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2011, 10:06:13 AM »
We had that kind of heat for 34 years and never had a problem. It never hurt the old console TV which was about 5 " away from one of the radiators, and the heat just rose above the back of the sofa and never ruined it. It was still very efficient and we had even heat throughout the house.

We always painted the radiators with the same paint as the walls and it did not deteriorate the paint, so I think that says a lot.

The only thing I ever worried about was the piano, but we were always told to keep that on an inner wall anyway.

The boiler/furnace was in a utility room and we called the units in the house 'baseboard radiators'. If they start making a real noise, that means they need to be bled of air. Did they teach you how to do that?


hermanne

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2011, 03:17:07 PM »
I grew up in a house with the old style radiators, big enough to sit on (mmmm, toasty!). They were under the windows, so furniture placement wasn't much of an issue. And I remember my dad "bleeding" them with a screwdriver.

We had someone look over our system and bleed the pipes before we moved in.

Thanks everyone for your replies!
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Elfmama

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Re: Baseboard heaters and furniture placement?
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2011, 11:03:37 PM »
True electric baseboard heaters DO get hot enough to burn/scorch, and latex paint over them eventually bubbles up.  As has been said, keep them clear both for safety and to keep the heat circulating.
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