Let’s face it, electric wall heaters and baseboard heaters will never be a decorative feature for your home. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spruce them up and improve their looks, so they fit better with the décor of your home. Is painting these heaters an option to improve the look of these necessary appliances?
Electric wall heaters and baseboard heaters can be painted. The success of the paint job requires the correct paint to be used that will withstand the high temperatures of the heater. The paint must be given adequate time to dry before using the heater. Ensure the electricity is off before painting.
Wall heaters are functional rather than fashionable and, as a result, are often neglected to the point where they begin to look a little shabby. If shabby is not the look you are going for in your home, you need to give your heaters a little love to improve their condition. Safety is the watchword here to avoid any accidents when you are ready to use the heater again.
Read our guide to find out are electric wall heaters safe (hint: they are, but you need to use common sense and caution)!
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How Do You Paint An Electric Heater?
There are two main designs of wall heaters fitted to homes in regions that have cold winters; box heaters and baseboard heaters. Read more about how an electric wall heater works if you are interested.
Box-type wall heaters are roughly square-shaped heaters that are recessed into the wall, and only the faceplate of the heater is visible externally on the wall.
Baseboard heaters are fitted along the bottom of the wall and are generally not recessed into the wall. They stand proud of the wall, protruding into the room-space. The outer casing of these heaters is usually metal and often suffers scrapes and dents because of its position on the wall.
There are two main questions that homeowners have regarding giving their wall heaters a facelift.
Can you paint an electric wall heater?
The main concern from this question is generally whether it is possible to paint a wall heater to improve its looks or whether some other method should be used. You can most certainly paint an electric wall heater, but you have to go about it the right way and choose the right paint
Is it safe to paint electric heaters?
Caution is always the wise route when you are dealing with electric appliances. It is safe to paint electric heaters so long as the right paint is used and the process is followed diligently to allow the paint to dry before using the heater post-painting. Care should be taken to prevent paint getting on the heating element.
Because of the differences between the two heater types, we will discuss how to paint them separately to note their differences.
Given the high temperatures associated with heaters, you need to do this the right way to avoid safety issues when you switch the heater back on.
How To Paint An Electric Wall Heater
As with any paint job, good preparation and quality products will be the key to your success for it to look good and be long-lasting.
The faceplate of some wall heaters can be removed from the main structure of the heater. For greater accessibility and ease of working, it would be better to remove the faceplate of the heater before starting. If the faceplate of your heater cannot be removed, you can still get the job done, but it will be a little more challenging.
Before you start your paint job, you need to get in the supplies you need for the job, with the paint and primer being the stars of the show.
What Kind Of Paint Can You Use On Electric Heaters?
Box-type electric wall heaters do not generate as much heat as baseboard heaters, but the temperatures can still be significant.
It is important to select a paint that can handle the heat without flaking off after a short time. Oil-based paints or latex-based paints can pose a fire risk when combined with the heat from the heater.
The recommended paint for electric wall heaters is appliance epoxy paint. This is an enamel-type paint that dries to form a hard protective surface on the heater faceplate. A product such as Rust-Oleum Appliance Epoxy is a good example of a quality product for this job.
Method For Painting An Electric Wall Heater
The method for painting an electric wall heater is an easy project that anyone can perform as a DIY project.
- Switch off the electricity to the heater.
- Wipe the faceplate of the heater down with a damp cloth to remove all dust and dirt.
- Use some light steel wool or 120-grit sandpaper to gently sand down the surface to be painted.
- Wipe the heater again to remove dust from the sanding process.
- Tape any areas that should not receive any paint.
- If you are using spray paint, block, or tape off the vents to prevent paint from accessing the heater’s interior and landing on the heating element. You could tape the vents with painters’ tape and use a brush to touch them up afterward. If you have removed the faceplate from the heater, you do not need to worry about this step.
- Paint the faceplate with the first coat of paint and allow between 4 to 8-hours for the paint to dry. The dry time may vary depending on the paint product you use.
- Apply the second coat of paint and wait another 4 to 8-hours for the second coat to dry.
This should complete the paint job for your electric heater. You may notice a paint smell when you turn on the heater the first time after painting, but this should dissipate and not pose a problem.
How To Paint A Baseboard Heater
A baseboard wall heater can be painted using a similar process to the box wall heater, but a baseboard heater is more likely to have rust spots.
These will need to be treated correctly to prevent them from becoming a problem for the new coat of paint.
What Paint Can You Use On Electric Baseboard Heaters?
Most baseboard heaters have spots of rust on them, and it is important to deal with these spots before you paint. This will prevent the rust spots causing the paint to flake off in those areas.
A good metal primer such as Rust-Oleum Clean Metal Primer is a good quality primer that will stop rust and cover the rust spots to provide a good painting surface.
When choosing paint for a baseboard heater, a good-quality heat-resistant paint is a good choice. This will prevent the paint from becoming damaged from the heat generated by the heater. It is also a safer choice since the paint will not pose a fire hazard from the heat.
Paint that will withstand heat up to 200-Fahrenheit is suitable for this job. It is not necessary to choose a high-heat resistant paint that protects up to 1000-degrees or more.
The Benjamin Moore range of Ultra Spec paints are rated up to a temperature of 250-Fahrenheit and will be more than sufficient for the task.
Rust-Oleum also has a good range of heat-resistant paints if this product is more accessible in your area.
Method to Paint A Baseboard Heater
The method used to paint a baseboard heater is similar to a wall heater other than the extra step to apply the primer.
- Ensure the electricity to the heater is off.
- Sand down the surface of the heater with some steel wool or 120-grit sandpaper, paying particular attention to rust spots.
- Clean the surface of the heater with a damp cloth and allow it to dry.
- Tape up any areas that should not be painted and protect the electric element by using a shield such as a cloth or a piece of paper that you can put over the heating element while painting.
- Apply the surface primer to the surface and allow it sufficient time to dry. This could be up to 4 or 6-hours, depending on the product. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Apply the first coat of paint, giving it sufficient time to dry. Check the product instruction to get the right timeframe to wait between coats.
- Apply a second coat of paint. Give this coat of paint the same amount of time to dry before using the heater.
- Remove all protective cloths and pieces of tape and paper from the heater.
The paint job to facelift your baseboard heater is now complete. There may be an initial odor when you turn on the heater for the first time, but this will not last long and will dissipate. It would be worthwhile opening the windows to help clear the smell on first use of the heater after painting.
Painting an electric wall heater is possible, and it is safe to do if you use the right products. With the right treatment, your wall heaters no longer need to detract from the rest of the décor in your home.
This painting project is not difficult, but it should not be rushed. You must give all the coats of primer and paint adequate time to dry.
If your wall heaters are in a very state with a lot of rust, it may be time to look at an upgrade rather than a paint job, view our guide on the best electric wall heaters here!