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Electric baseboard heaters are one of the many options for heating a room. They are easily installed in most homes, require little maintenance and run quietly but what are its downsides?
There are actually very few disadvantages associated with this type of heating but they are still worth looking into. Examples are that they essentially function as space heaters, require more cleared space and must be kept clean for efficient functioning.
The Pros & Cons of Electric Baseboard Heaters
Read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of electric baseboard heaters and whether they are suitable for your home.
Electric Baseboard Heater Pros
The positives of an electric baseboard heater largely have to do with how user-friendly and affordable it is. Here are the pros explained in further detail.
1. Easy Installation
These electric devices are installed along the baseboard of a wall in the room without needing any ductwork or other electrical wiring changes. It is still advised to have a professional install them but an experienced homeowner might also be able to do the job.
Since installation is not complicated and does not require ductwork, adding extra units around the home is also relatively simple. Compared to other heating systems like heat pumps, furnaces, and boiler systems, this system is one of the easiest solutions to drafts and winter cold.
2. More Flexibility
The flexibility comes in two ways. The first has to do with compatibility to the building – without requiring ductwork, this heating system can be installed in most building types, even older homes with outdated systems.
The second kind of flexibility is related to the individual control of each unit. It is common practice to have one installed in each room which gives you full control over the run time and temperature in each individual room which is also more efficient.
3. No Lost Energy
The alternative type, a hydroponic baseboard heater, is said to be more energy-efficient because it takes longer for water to lose heat. However, the electric type is also energy-efficient with a near 100% energy conversion, especially compared to other electric heating devices like radiant panels.
You also won’t lose any energy to rooms that are not being used because you can set a timer or simply turn of the device whenever you leave the room. This proves especially energy efficient in larger homes where whole-house heating systems would be costly to run.
4. Low Maintenance
Besides installation, maintenance is also very simple in keeping things clean being the most important aspect. This is because electric baseboard heaters have few parts to them and so there are fewer elements that can stop functioning or need replacement.
Cleanliness is very important though, a buildup of dust reduces its performance and efficiency. Fortunately, cleaning an electric baseboard heater is quickly done with a vacuum cleaner and a few wipes.
As long as you keep it clean and avoid fire hazards, this appliance should last you several decades which is impressive considering how friendly they are priced. Many designs cost you less than $100 which remains affordable compared to the alternatives, even if you have to install several throughout the house.
Electric Baseboard Heaters Cons
Unfortunately, there are a few disadvantages that you need to consider before buying a unit for that cold room. Read through these cons beforehand to avoid disappointment.
1. Running Costs
Purchasing, installation, and maintenance are not the biggest costs with this device, it is the running costs that you should prepare yourself for. Any type of electric heater is more expensive to run continuously compared to a heating system relying on natural gas or thermal heat, for example.
This is why timers and turning off individual units is essential to making sure that you keep things efficient. Alternatively, you can use electric baseboard heaters as a secondary heating system in combination with a more energy-efficient whole-house heating system.
2. Requires Cleared Space
You should always keep furniture, curtains, carpets and anything else flammable, at least 6 – 10 inches away from an electric baseboard heater. This is to prevent a fire hazard but also to ensure a good flow of hot air through the room.
For the hot air to move through the room properly, nothing should be blocking it. 6 – 10 inches may not sound like a lot but in smaller spaces and apartments this could have an impact on the general functioning and comfortability of the room.
3. Zone Heating
Essentially, this heating device is a space heater because it is only capable of warming up a smaller area in its direct surroundings. Since there is no ductwork, the heat does not travel to other parts of the building.
That is why this system works best in smaller spaces for individual rooms and why it is not the obvious choice for large airy rooms and bigger homes. If you need more than zone heating, it is wise to use this option as a secondary heat source, instead.
From the pros and cons, you can see that there are more advantages than disadvantages to electric baseboard heaters. However, how suitable they are for your home really depends on the layout and size of the building.
As zonal heaters, these electric devices work excellently but they struggle to bring large airy rooms to the desired temperature. So, larger houses will need one in every room or even more than once if it is a very spacious room.
The upside of several individual units is that it gives you more control over energy use and there is minimal loss of energy when used correctly. This means smart placement near windows and keeping all windows and doors closed to avoid losing hot air to other spaces.
Overall, these devices are very affordable despite the electrical costs. That is why they remain a popular secondary heating system, especially in larger and older buildings.
In short, electric baseboard heaters are a low cost, low maintenance heating system that is suitable for many spaces.