Electric baseboards safe?

We're looking at a 1955 house with electric baseboard heating. We're wondering how much distance we need to keep between the heaters and furniture/curtains. Is it a few inches, or a couple of feet? The rooms are small, so it makes a difference.
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Here is the instruction sheet from markel: http://www.markel-products.com/onlinecatalog/HEAT/built-in-heaters-subweb/baseboardpages/residentialstandardconvection/productpage.htm

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On Tue, 22 May 2007 12:11:10 -0700, skybearer wrote:

depends on if they are hydronic or not. But its not that far, its a few inches.
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Amen!
I lived in a rental hat had baseboard heat.... When I moved out, I noticed that some of the fabric of my sofa had MELTED and fused! I can only assume that I created a hot spot when I put the sofa too close to the element.
I don't know about reliability issues but it seems to me that the same "technology" used in the "heat tape" whereby the heating element can not get beyond a certain temperature regardless of how much insulation is applied could/should be applied to electric baseboards.
IMO the max temperature should be around 140F.
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On Thu, 24 May 2007 03:27:54 -0300, John Gilmer wrote:

Thats why i said hydronic. Those have the fluid in them, and they heat up slowly, and they maintain a slow heat. Its so comfortable that I can put my hand on the thing. But the other type seem to have more rapid heat and I would not put anything near them. It does not make total sense to me, but I have been near both and would only ever buy hydronic.
dnoyeB
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But the OP said they were electric.
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There are liquid filled electric heaters. Thermal mass spreads the heat distribution.
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We have used electric baseboard heat for last 37 years. When we installed it we were careful to buy GE type baseboard heaters, even though could have bought Sylvania etc. type more cheaply. We bought the GE because, then with young children, unlike some other types they have a series of narrow slots (just about big enough for a pencil to be inserted into each vertical slot) for the air to circulate. Some people claim electric heat is 'dry' but we have not encountered any problems.
Some types of electric baseboards have a long horizontal opening, similar to hot water radiation heaters. With ours we have had no scorching or other problems, whereas an acquaintance had some bedclothes that draped down into that more open type and did have some scorching, but fortunately no fire. It was possibly fortunate that the material was not 'synthetic'!
With electric baseboards the ease of installation, flexibility to to rearrange, safety and not having to maintain or worry about fuel tanks, fuel lines, gas leaks, chimneys, furnace fireboxes, air circulating fans/pumps etc. has been significant.
Our baseboards have proven extremely reliable, no heaters have failed. Our total repair costs for the 37 years have been one circuit breaker and three thermostats, one of which was changed because of styling. Certainly less than $100.
The electric baseboards of all manufacturers were all available in the various wattage ratings specified by our electric company.
In general ours are located below windows in bedrooms etc. Beds are rarely placed below windows so there has been little chance of bedclothes or curtains coming into contact with them. There is a small 500 watt in the windowless bathroom above towel rail and even though occasionally a towel has slipped off to fall partially on the heater, no problems.
In a larger room when we installed a chimney/fireplace it was necessary to remove a 2000 watt unit along a side wall. I replaced it with two 750 watt units one either side of the sliding glass doors to the outside deck. The reduction of wattage has been no problem. In fact it does seem the power utility over-engineered the size and total number of heaters; I have since removed two others. We have also successfully removed stripped down and resprayed the metal portions of two of the baseboard heaters, to recondition their appearance. They are simple devices and a little rubbing down and a six dollar can of suitable colour auto type spray paint did the job. each group of heaters is wired with #12AWG and equipped with Double Pole 20 amp breakers.
The individual room thermostats are useful; we have a total of eight on the main floor of this 4 bedroom house, not including the rarely heated attached garage and a manually controlled heater in a basement workshop. Individual thermostats allow main floor rooms not in use to be turned down to a low setting.
Certainly inadvisable to push furniture right on top of any type heaters!. Would strongly recommend electric baseboards per the above remarks.
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