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Gaining access behind hotwater baseboard panels

bruce pirger
bruce pirger Member Posts: 111
Well....did some exploring and came upon a few snags.
The hanger/cover bracket is wedged into the upper and lower grooves fairly tight.
It is possible to hammer it sideways and nudge it out, but the fins get in the way when the bracket is tilted over.
Some of the fins would need to be bent.
Also, the fins are fairly close the backside of the convector panel, so it may be tough to maneuver the convector past the fins with the brackets still in place. I am going to give this a try.
The panels are nailed into the wall using square head nails.
Some of them are kinda hard to grip with a nail puller.
Several have pulled out with a light tug, which means they never hit the stud.

It is possible I may have to bite the bullit and slice into the plasterwork above the radiators and patch afterwards.


  • bruce pirger
    bruce pirger Member Posts: 111
    gaining access behind hotwater baseboards for wiring project

    Hello -

    I am rewiring a house that was built in the 1950s.
    Plaster walls and hotwater baseboard convectors.
    I would like to remove the convector panels without disturbing the piping/fins and avoid having to drain the system.
    If anyone has done such a thing, I would appreciate some feedback.
    I've already determined the pipe/fins would need to be temporarily supported with blocks.
    I also see that the housing is nailed through the back of the panels and onto the framing.

    Thanks for your help,

  • I've done that

    To pull the backer, first remove or cut off the nails. Then remove the brackets that support the fintube and front cover. On some, they slide sideways at the top or bottom to free them. Slide the backer up by the fintube, or out lengthways if there is room.

    Noel Murdough
    Slant/Fin Corp.
  • bruce pirger
    bruce pirger Member Posts: 111
    thanks !!

    Mr. Murdough;

    Thanks so much for the fast reply.
    Your info gives me incentive to start poking around with more purpose.

    The wooden baseboard trim revealed a finished plaster wall that extendes down below the finished floor, which will require me to cut a slot along the bottom to gain access.

    I hope this is not the case with the convectors.
    Will find out shortly as I am headed back to the house.

    Were you removing the panels for rewiring ?
    I would be one very happy puppy if I find out the panels were nailed directly onto the studs instead of through finished plaster. Quite a few outlets I need to reach that are above radiators.

    Thanks again,


  • probably

    you will find plaster behind the baseboard convectors. I don't wire, I was changing covers for new ones. Good luck!
  • Mike Kraft
    Mike Kraft Member Posts: 406

    You may find that after you "free" the brackets from the cabinet that you will have better luck manuvering them out if you advance them to the end of the cabinets.Meaning where the piping drops through the floor.You may need to bend the brackets a bit and when you reinstall you'll have to "tweak" them back.Keep at it you'll win the battle over the inanimate object........Good Luck,cheese
  • bruce pirger
    bruce pirger Member Posts: 111
    Arrrrgh !

    Thanks, Mike -

    I'm afraid some of the fins will have to be damaged.
    The brackets are wedged into the channels fairly tight because there is a bulbous shape to the ends that fit into the channel.
    It take a considerable amount of beating on them to make them budge. With the fins in the way, the operation becomes precarious.
    I will keep at it, however.
    I hope to end up bonking myself over the head with a "why didn't I think of that ?".
  • Mike Kraft
    Mike Kraft Member Posts: 406
    one more thing

    To free up the brackets (before removing nails)hold the bottom of the chair with both hands and lift up with much force as to "pop" the bottom of the chair out of its track.

  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    new baseboard

    Alan, I will tell you what I'll tell my customers. By the time you are thru fooling around with these things, cutting your hands, bending the fins, patching the hole in the wall after you hit it with a hammer ( frustration level is high ). It might be less time consuming to just purchase new units. Yes it cost more, and yes there is nothing wrong ( now) with what you have, but, by the time you are done fooling with them you might not be happy with the way they look. The finished room will look so much better with new baseboard. They end up looking like brown shoes with a tuxedo.

    Just my opinion


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  • bruce pirger
    bruce pirger Member Posts: 111
    nearing resignation or coming to my senses.

    Scott, Mike -

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Here is what's happened so far.....absolutely no progress.

    Replacing them is not an option at this point because this is not our primary residence.
    We are only the second owner of the house and most everything in the house is original, including the convectors which are still in their gray factory primer coat !

    Anyway, the brackets are becoming a major source of headache.
    They are wedged in the slots as if they are welded.
    Couple of good whacks on them knocks them over, but then it is nearly impossible to scoot them along the channels to the end for easier removal. Some of the baseboard runs are very long with no break in the fins.

    Worst of all, even if I do manage to remove the panels, the finished plaster wall is behind them.
    Trying to cut through the plaster with the fin tubes in the way would be very messy and difficult to clean thoroughly afterwards. (I guess wrapping them is an option.)

    Since I have to slice open the plaster anyway, I should just do it above the convector panels.
    Patching the cuts may be easier then trying to remove the panels and then reinstalling them.

    (The plaster walls are also original and was never painted.)

    Thanks for helping me along on this.

    This experience will not be a total loss.
    Our main residence, which also has convetors (we love them !), may at some point need to be reconfigured.
    We have some salvaged cast iron radiators that I would like to revive.


This discussion has been closed.