8 tips for keeping your heater clean

July 28, 2015

A dirty heater can be costly. Layers of dust can compromise the ability of your heater to do its job. Here are some simple tips for keeping all kinds of heaters clean and in good working order.

8 tips for keeping your heater clean

1. Don't let dust built up

A weekly dusting with a feather duster or a dust cloth will keep accumulation down, but before any cleaning, always turn the heater off, unplug it and let it cool down.

2. Vacuum regularly

  • Any heater with a vent or grille should be vacuumed regularly with a brush attachment to keep airflow areas as clear as possible.
  • This is especially important for heaters with fans, as these tend to attract dust through the air-inflow vents.
  • To remove any other grime, food spills or sticky fingerprints from the outside of your heater, use a damp cloth wrung out in a little water and dishwashing liquid.
  • Do not pour the liquid directly onto the casing and do not let things get too wet. Wipe the casing dry after cleaning.

3. Read the directions

If your heater came with an instruction manual, consult it. Some of the more modern gas space heaters have filters which need to be regularly cleaned, and some even have a little light that blinks when you need to do this.

4. Unplug a portable

To clean a portable electric oil-filled column heater, make sure you unplug it before you begin. Remove as much of the surface dirt as possible using a hand vacuum or the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner. The brush can actually go some way towards getting in between the tubes. But the crevice attachment goes further. You won't get everything out with a vacuum, and you'll find that there are more effective ways to clean inside the crevices between the tubes.

5. Dust between the tubes

  • Wrap a paper towel around the broad end of a kitchen spatula or wooden spoon and secure it with a rubber band.
  • Slide the spatula up and down both sides of each tube of the radiator.
  • For resistant substances, like sticky spills, spray some all-purpose cleaner on the paper-swathed spatula and have another go at it.

6. Radiant heaters

Heaters with a shiny plate that reflects heat need to remain shiny to be efficient. To clean the reflector plate, unclip or unscrew the protector grille at the front of the heater then lightly dust the plate, taking care not to damage the heating elements. If more cleaning is necessary, wipe with a well-wrung soapy cloth, then wipe again with a cloth dampened with methylated spirits.

7. Treat rust

If rust spots have already begun to form on a reflector plate (this is what happens if you don't dust regularly), you can rub the spots gently with fine steel wool moistened with a little sewing machine oil or vegetable oil, then wipe over with methylated spirits. Always replace the safety grille before turning the heater on again.

8. Service yearly

Flued or flueless gas-log fires should be serviced annually by a qualified technician to keep them operating efficiently. In between servicing, you should only need to wipe the exterior down with a well-wrung soapy cloth and keep the air vents dusted. If the exterior of the glass needs cleaning, you can use a little glass cleaner, but never attempt to clean the glass while it is still warm. Cleaning the inside of the glass is a job for the technician.

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