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Awful odor when baseboard heater on

I live in a 1970's duplex which have baseboard heaters, probably original. They worked fine until last year. Now, when turned on, one of the heaters in my bedroom gives off an awful odor like urine. There is no odor when the heaters are off.
Is there a way that the heater can be safely dismantled and the odor eliminated? I don't want to spend another winter using a space heater! BTW, I have 2 cats. Help!

Re: Awful odor when baseboard heater on
rhiannon960 wrote:

BTW, I have 2 cats. Help!

I think you know why you have the smell. I bet the cats enjoy the smell though.:rolleyes:

I would try to remove the covers & clean with one of the enzyme cleaners they sell in the pet stores to remove pet odors. It's probably in the carpet too.

Get a dog, dump the cats.

Re: Awful odor when baseboard heater on

Thank you for your response. However, as I am a complete novice to home repairs etc, I would like to make sure I do this right. Should I switch off the electric breaker before removing the cover or just the switch to the heater itself?
(I love dogs, but it wouldn't be fair to leave them alone whilst I'm at work, so I have my cats.)

Re: Awful odor when baseboard heater on

I wouldn't bother with the enzyme cleaners. They don't work all that well. (We have three cats, two of them very well-mannered and one total neurotic.)

For the metal heater parts, use household bleach, diluted, and scrub everything you can scrub. For the rug, use borax crystals. Sprinkle the area heavily, wait a day, and vacuum it up. Repeat at least three times. If it is a heavy carpet with a pad beneath, this may not work and you may have to remove the carpet.

By the way, dogs are guilty of these transgressions, too, so don't give up your cats.

Re: Awful odor when baseboard heater on

I was assuming hot water heat, if electric breaker- off & be careful with water.

Re: Awful odor when baseboard heater on

I have a cat too and have found for carpet Resolve carpet cleaner works fine for the carpet. I never have had any urine smell from my space heaters as they are in the basement in my house. I have had plenty of smells coming from them though as I have a workshop in my basement. I think the best way to get rid of your smells is to make sure you don't have any dust on the fins of your space heater. To really get rid of the dust I would use a compressor with a blower attached to the hose and then blow all of the dust away first. Don't however use a vacuum as you don't want that smell migrating there too. As for getting rid of the urine on the fins, I agree use bleach or something with bleach in it such as Clorox Clean-Up Spray and spray the fins. I would let them dry then spray again and use a Q-tip to clean the individual fins being careful not to bend them. Then carefully clean the floor directly underneath and some of the wall under the space heater with the Clorox-Clean-Up. Afterwords clean your dust up with a broom and dispose of it in a plastic bag. Also as mentioned before turn the electricity off to electric space heaters and make sure everything dries first.
As for your cats and whether this will happen again it might especially if you have a male cat as that is how they mark their territory. Also if a cat gets mad about their litter box being dirty male or female they will select a place to use as a substitute. So always make sure that the litter box is clean. On a multi-story house it doesn't even hurt to have two litter boxes so that one is always available to your cats at all times. In any event enjoy your cats as they make excellent companions even if they do sometimes cause problems.:)

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