Thank you for your response, Dr. Home. I read at another Web site that the solution to this problem is latex caulk. The heaters are not completely flush to the walls, so if the solution is caulking, it must be the case that heat escapes from the back of the heater and goes up the wall, causing the smudging and staining. This makes sense to me because the problem has gotten worse the last couple winters as the heaters have pulled away from the walls a bit. This winter will tell!