Electric baseboard heating is about the most costly kind of heating out there, but there are some excellent reasons for considering it. If you would like to use heating of this type, here are some ways to make it as efficient as possible.
This method of heating relies on convection, not radiation as you might assume. Radiation when you feel heat “radiating out” from the unit. The other process, convection, is where air is heated and then by that fact, it moves away. Less warm air will flow to that area and the process continues. If you place a small fan near your unit, you can increase the speed of this process and it will make your unit more efficient.
The best thing about electric baseboard heating is the control you have. You can set up warm zones within your home. Shut off the heat in the rooms where you don’t live consistently. Another benefit is that this type of heating will not cause the air to become as dry like typical forced air.
For the rooms that you use less often, shut off the baseboard heaters and use a high efficiency space heater instead. For example, in a hobby room, a ceramic space heater will keep you warm for your work. Make sure you get one which is fan driven, for quick and efficient heating.
The next thing to check in all rooms is the effectiveness of your heating set up. Make sure that nothing is blocking air flow around the unit. Air flow must be totally unrestricted. How thick is the carpet under your heater? Are the fins clean? Is there anything blocking the air flow like curtains or possibly furniture? Get rid of these air blockers and you will have a baseboard heater that will work far better.
Insulation should be next on your list. Without being too expensive, here are a few ideas you can easily accomplish. Use decorative quilts on your walls. They will add wonderful insulation. Carefully remove the face plates on your switches and electrical outlets. You can insert inexpensive foam cut-outs here to aid in blocking warm air escape. If you don’t mind the look, cover your windows with clear plastic. Windows are notorious for leaking expensive warm air.
The best set up, though, will entail making the investment to correctly insulate your home. Your walls should be insulated to a rating of R20. In your attic, place enough to achieve R38 and in your floors, bring them up to R30. Your window glass should be the proper type, as well. Look for window glass with a U-Factor rating of no higher than .35. With windows a higher number is worse, not better.
You may be tempted to shut of your heat entirely to save money. Actually, it is more efficient to just reduce the temperature instead of cutting it all the way off. The amount of energy required to get a cold room back up to a living temperature will exceed the savings you would see by just reducing the temperature somewhat. Keep the room at a lower temperature, but higher than totally unheated.
A whole house forced air furnace system is going to cost you between $4,500 and $6,000, if you need ductwork as well. If you go this route be very careful in your contractor choice, because when they start installing ductwork, it is easy to cut away structural supports for your home. You do not want some incompetent contractor destroying the value of your home.
With just a few of these tips your electric baseboard heating system will be manageable and will keep you warm. You can expect to save a significant amount of money on your heating costs and you will get great satisfaction by knowing you have efficiently heated your home.