Baseboard Heaters: An Overview

Baseboard heaters are well known and used for heating a room or an entire house. They are always seen either on the floor or just slightly above the floor. The major reason for baseboard heaters is to heat up the home with some warm air without consuming much energy. Baseboard heaters allow the central heating system to be off during winter while they do the work of getting the house heated up.

Baseboard heaters are heat sources and are powered through an electric resistance; the heaters’ cables are the major heating source; once the cables are heated, they would release warm water into the air and get the place warm.

The presence of thermostats in the baseboard heaters helps to regulate the heaters. The heaters are turned off when they get to a certain temperature, and immediately the temperature is getting low, the heaters pick up automatically on their own.

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Advantages of Baseboard Heaters

  • Reduces the cost of energy bills: You will not be spending much money on energy bills when you have baseboard heaters at home. The heat from one baseboard heater can gradually move into the other rooms and get everyone warm. With baseboard heaters in your house, there would be no much stress with a high energy bill.
  • Portable and user friendly: When you have in mind to heat a specific location in the house, portable baseboard heaters are the best for such a purpose. They are user-friendly and can easily be plugged into an electric socket near the wall. The uniqueness of this is that they can be easily moved from one location to another because of their handles.
  • Suitable for hard-to-warm-up rooms: Many parts of the house are so difficult to get warmed up, the best way to defeat this would be to get baseboard heaters for such rooms.
  • Supplemental heating system: Most apartments use some other forms of heating system that are either upgraded or not. This type of heating system can be effective during the mildly cool days, and once winter comes, you will be struggling with your duvet to cover up the cold. The best option is to get baseboard heaters as a supplemental heating system for such apartments and get everything heated up to your desired choice.

Pros of Baseboard Heat

Although not as common as other home heating options, baseboard heaters are still easy to find, especially in older homes. What are the electric baseboard heating pros?

1. It’s Quiet

We’ve all heard it — you’re visiting a friend with an electric heat pump and “woosh!” The heater turns on and starts to blast the house’s occupants with warm air. If you’re near the furnace when this happens or the blower isn’t in great shape, it can be loud enough to disrupt a conversation or make sleep more difficult. Baseboard heat isn’t like this. You’d be hard-pressed to notice when baseboard heaters turn on and off. Other than a few pops and clicks as the heating element begins to warm up, there’s no noise coming from baseboard heaters.

2. Zone Heating

Zone heating allows families to set different temperatures in different areas of the home. Today it’s often presented as a digital feature allowing you to designate different parts of your home to be heated and cooled at certain preset temperatures without being influenced by temperatures in other areas of the house. Electric baseboard heaters have offered this option for years because each baseboard unit has its own thermostat.

If you want your bedroom to stay a cool 67 degrees, but you don’t want to freeze while you’re watching television, then you can set it to 70 in your living space. Or, if your child is away at college most of the winter, you can turn off the unit in their room and then flip it back on when they come home for the weekend.

3. Simple Installation

In homes where it might be difficult to install new ductwork or the cost is too high, baseboard heat can be a more economical alternative. Because there is no ductwork involved in electric baseboard heating, it’s easier — and cheaper — to install than other types of heating.

4. Secondary Source of Heat

When winter temperatures take a dive, electric heat pumps often can’t keep up. In areas prone to extreme winter temperatures, baseboard heaters make a great secondary — or backup — source of heat. Why? Heat pumps weren’t designed to handle the bitter cold of winter. When it’s too cold for a heat pump to operate as it should, flip on the baseboard heaters in rooms where a little extra heat is needed. Besides keeping the house warmer, this keeps the heat pump from running constantly, trying — and failing — to keep up.

Best Hydronic Baseboard Heater for Large Rooms

Fahrenheat’s 1,500-watt Baseboard Heater is an ultra-efficient hydronic heater. It pairs strong heat output with a steel exterior that stays cool to the touch, minimizing the risk of burns and fires. Sure, it’s more expensive than convection units with comparable heat output, but its greater energy efficiency means it will pay for itself over time.

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Our Verdict

Shoppers looking for a reliable heater that is both lightweight and powerful should consider the Fahrenheat baseboard heater. For a more budget-friendly option, the Comfort Zone baseboard heater is worth a look. It features a compact design and an easy-to-use digital control panel.

Baseboard Heating Pros

While they are a good fit for many homeowners, it’s important to understand baseboard heating pros and cons before jumping in.

Since electric baseboard heating doesn’t require ductwork like forced-air systems, they can be good options for heating older homes that would otherwise need to be retrofitted.

They can also be an option for rooms in a home that need an extra source of heating — for example, in a bedroom overnight.

Pro 1: Quiet Operation

A benefit of baseboard heating is it operates quietly, unlike forced-air systems that periodically blast air. This is a big pro when installing in bedrooms. They won’t negatively affect your sleep schedule or keep you awake with loud noises.

Pro 2: Easy Installation

Baseboard heating offers a unique heating option to homeowners since installation doesn’t require ductwork.

So if you live in an older home that doesn’t have any fancy ducts, don’t fret. Baseboard heating can easily be installed without the use of ductwork, making the installation process fairly painless.

Pro 3: Low Installation Cost

Baseboard heating is less expensive to install than many other types of heating systems since they are so easy to install. So if you’re hoping to get heating in your home on a lower budget, then baseboard heating might be perfect for you.

Pro 4: Good Heating Source

Baseboard heating offers a good source of heating for a single room or a secondary source of heat for a large home space.

Pro 5: Easily Cleaned

Unlike a complicated HVAC system, baseboard heating can easily be cleaned with a vacuum. This is a task most homeowners can tackle on their own without second-guessing it. Additionally, baseboard heating systems typically require little additional maintenance to run optimally.

Pro 6: Longevity

You can expect your baseboard heating to last 20 years or more.

How Much Does It Cost to Operate Baseboard Heaters?

Most baseboard heaters are inexpensive, so you won’t need to spend a lot of money upfront in order to invest in this type of heating system. In fact, baseboard heaters are far more affordable than other heating systems including furnaces and heat pumps.

Although the initial cost of a baseboard heater is low, the operating costs are usually high. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it costs nearly $35 to generate one million BTUs of heat with a baseboard heater. It costs less than $15 to generate the same amount of heat using an electric heat pump and around $7 to generate it with a traditional gas furnace. 

When to Replace Baseboard Heater Thermostat

If you are wondering when you should replace your baseboard heater thermostat, it will first be important for you to consider what kind of thermostat you need. A line voltage thermostat is the usual kind of thermostat that is installed with electric wall or baseboard heaters. In contrast, a low voltage thermostat is usually used to control central heating and cooling systems. No matter what kind of system you have, it will be important to have a functioning thermostat. If your baseboard heating system is no longer working, one of the possible problems will be if your thermostat has fallen into disrepair. A qualified repairman should be called in to investigate the matter and get to the bottom of the issue.

When Should You Replace Your Electric Baseboard Heater?

Replacing your heater with a more efficient heating system can be done at any time, but if you’re cost-conscious, we recommend that you do it as soon as you notice a loss of efficiency. If your heater seems like it’s taking longer to heat up spaces than it used to, it might be time to hit the market for a replacement.

Choosing a Baseboard Heater

If you’re in the market for a baseboard heater, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the options on the market. One of the greatest advantages of baseboard heaters is their versatility. But that also means their sizes, heat outputs, additional features and cost varies considerably.

Cost

Electric baseboard heaters are relatively cheap and easy to install. At the time of publication, these units cost a few hundred dollars, or less, and eliminate the need for expensive duct networks throughout the home, making them much more affordable than furnaces or heat pumps in terms of upfront costs. When it comes to operating costs, however, baseboard heating represents one of the most expensive home heating options. As of March 2013, it costs $34.57 to generate one million BTUs of heat using electric baseboard heating, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This same million BTUs costs $14.39 using an electric heat pump, or $7.33 via a standard gas furnace.

Which Baseboard Heater is Most Efficient?

Are you wondering which baseboard heater on the market is the most energy-efficient? Please review the following brands to discover which kind of baseboard heater may be best for your residence.

  • The CADET 9954 Baseboard Heater 1000W (the top pick)
  • Fahrenheit PLF1004 Hydronic Baseboard Heater
  • Heat-Wave EB98937 Convection Baseboard Heater
  • Comfort Zone Low Profile Baseboard Silent Operator Heater CZ600
  • Fahrenheit PLF2004 240-volt Hydronic Baseboard Heater

Baseboard Heater Efficiency

Watch to see how much your electricity bill rises the first month you use it. If your electricity usage increases considerably, you might consider finding a more efficient way to heat the room. A 1,200 square-foot, well-insulated house in most climates heated by baseboard heat averages 12,000 watts of power, or about $400 per month. This could go up if your home is poorly insulated or temperatures are extremely cold.

If you’re using a baseboard heater on a daily basis in the cold months, it should be cleaned regularly to remove the cobwebs and dust from inside the unit. That will make it work more efficiently. You’ll need to remove the front of the unit and thoroughly vacuum the unit. It’s best to clean them two or three times a year, especially if you have pets.

How Space Heaters Work

A space heater contains a convection system with a heat exchanger that converts cold air to warm air. A fan distributes the warm air into the room. These can be noisy. Regular usage can increase your monthly utility bills. The average cost to run one per day is $2.80. Space heaters work well when used for short periods of time. Space heaters work by heating the people and objects in the room rather than the air in the room.

Rebates and Incentives

Many energy providers and municipalities offer financial incentives to encourage homeowners to replace inefficient systems such as electric baseboard heating with cleaner, more efficient heating systems. The City of San Francisco, PG&E and other California organizations provide low-cost loans, rebates, discounts and tax incentives to help offset the cost of energy efficient upgrades.

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