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In our apartment the only place for our TV (and all associated electronics) is directly in front of one of the electric baseboard heaters in our living room. I didn't think much of this when we moved in, and ended up placing the solid TV stand directly up against the baseboard. To the right of the TV stand I build a lower stand to support our large laser printer. I build this stand so that the back of the printer would actually overhand the baseboard. The back of the printer was only around an inch above the baseboard. The printer stand was created with a slot in it below the printer. Last winter there was nothing in this slot, which was a good thing as I often noticed that the air temperature in the slot was very high. Since the baseboard hot air exhaust is directly behind the slot, the high temperature here was to be expected. Sometime this Spring I pulled the printer forward and realized that a small plastic cover at the bottom rear of the printer was alarmingly melted. At this point I finally realized what I had done in placing the TV and printer stand directly in front of the baseboard. However, since it wasn't practical to move all of these electronics to another location, I realized that I would need to build a heat management system for the baseboard.

Step 1: Design

My initial thought was to build a shroud with small fans to pull hot air away from the baseboard. However, such a system could easily overheat if the fans were to fail. Instead, I decided to take advantage of natural convection by constructing a "chimney" on top of the baseboard. Baseboard heaters are designed such that cool air enters them at the bottom. The air is heated across the heating elements before being exhausted at the top. Since hot air is less dense than cool air, it rises (think hot air balloon). The hot air rising out of the top of the radiator creates a small vacuum behind it, which "pulls" the cool air into the bottom of the radiator. This process of hot air rising is known as natural convection. Since the hot air leaving the baseboard will continue to rise, if a chimney is constructed on top of the baseboard, the air will naturally rise up the chimney. Instead of directly being exhausted onto the TV stand or printer, the hot air would be sent upward and into the room.

I used a second baseboard in the room (it was not hidden behind the TV) to create a Sketchup model of the baseboard, which the chimney was designed to fit. Since the baseboard exhausted hot air out of an angled slot at the top, the designed chimney (heat shield) could be placed directly on top of the baseboard, allowing the TV stand and printer to remain in place directly up against the baseboard. I designed the chimney to be 13" wide due to the limitations of my sheet metal brake. 5 of these chimneys would need to be constructed and placed side by side to cover the entire baseboard.

It would probably be a good idea to make sure that your heat shield is grounded well. It would probably never be an issue but if it isn't tied to ground it could build up a high static charge from the moving air which could be a danger to your electronics.
<p>Good thinking!</p><p>The metal body of the heater itself should be grounded, and the paint should not be an efficient enough insulator to prevent the static electricity from grounding straight from the new shield to the heater. </p><p>However, it's almost always a good idea to add MORE grounding to any metal that is going to be near electronics just in case. ;)</p>
<p>Good point. Years ago I would use a metal shop-vac to clean up around a CNC router. That thing would throw off 1&quot; arcs! And as much as I would try to keep it away from the router - sometimes it would hit it and knock it offline and I would need to restart it. I'm thinking I won't have a huge issue as the baseboard should be grounded well and the shield is sitting directly on that, but I suppose there is always that potential.</p>
<p>If your outlet at the right end is properly grounded, you could simply run a wire to one of the outlet's mounting screws; the receptacle's chassis is part of its grounding circuit and connecting to it via the mounting screws will dump the static charge.</p><p>Cool project, I like the solution.</p>
<p>That's a great idea! If I have issues I'll try that.</p>
<p>Very workmanlike solution - nicely done. However, there may be an easier cure for others with similar problems. You mentioned another baseboard heater in the room. Do you really need both operating? Often, having fewer feet of heat source just means taking a few minutes longer to get up to heat. If you could do without, just turn off the breaker, take off the access plate at one end, typically just one or two screws, and unfasten the supply wires. Securely tape or wire nut them, replace the cover plate, reset the breaker, and your hot electronics problem goes away. When you eventually move, just hook the wires back up, and your landlord will never know. </p>
<p>Nice solution! You're probably right that we could have gotten away with just 1 baseboard. I'll have to keep this in mind for next time. </p>

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Bio: As long as I can remember I've been building stuff. I think it's high time I shared these projects.
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