Electric Baseboard Heat Pros & Cons

All about the basics of electric baseboard heat

During this time of year, checking the temperature and trying to stay warm by hiking up the thermostat become daily concerns –– especially within your own home.

Have you ever wondered about what other options are available for staying comfortable during the winter? These days there are many options to choose from that go beyond the norm. One such option you might consider adding to your home is baseboard heating.

If you have already started to look into the option, you may have noticed that there are actually different types of baseboard heating available: electric baseboard heaters and hot water baseboard heaters. Both work on the same principle of individual units that work room by room, but function quite differently.

As the name suggests, hot water baseboard heaters channel hot water through pipes to each unit which then transfers to the air to heat the rooms, while electric baseboard heaters leverage electric resistance to warm the air inside the unit and push it out.

In this post, we will be discussing electric baseboard heat, as it is the more commonly chosen option for homeowners.

How Does Electric Baseboard Heat Work?Electric baseboard heater under window

Once installed in your home or other space, the electric baseboard heating system works by way of cables, which warm up the air and push it out of the unit. Simultaneously, cold air enters the unit from below to get warmed up, and the cycle continues. Once the air that enters the baseboard is the desired temperature set by the thermostat, typically the unit will switch off.

A couple key benefits of electric baseboard include:

  • Heats from the floor up, meaning that there is a more even distribution of the temperature in the room since heat rises.
  • A baseboard system keeps floors warm since it starts at the bottom (your feet will stay warm!).

Some systems even feature a draft-barrier type up-flow air outlet, which is perfect for installing under a drafty window or less insulated section of the room. In this type of air outlet, a shield is created between the glass of the window and the inside air, which helps the unit keep functioning at optimal capacity.

The Best Time to Use This Type of Heat

Commercial baseboard heat in restroomElectric baseboard heat can be a great pick for certain individual spaces but is not necessarily the best option for all setups. For example, this option should not be used to heat an entire home, as the cost of running each individual unit in every room would quickly add up.

Here are a few scenarios where this could be a good solution:

  • Rooms that tend to get colder than others or perhaps aren’t used as often as the main rooms in the home
  • Spaces such as new additions, sunrooms, attics, and extra bathrooms in homes
  • Offices and bathrooms in commercial buildings

How Much Baseboard Heat Do You Need?

Typically an electric baseboard heating systems heats areas of about 100 square feet or so. If desired, multiple systems may be purchased to heat a larger room. However, be sure to take into consideration the energy costs involved with heating a large space with baseboard heating, and calculate whether this is the best financial option.

Be sure to explore different types of heating systems before you decide on which one you would like to get. Start with our handy guide that breaks down information on each of the most common types of heating systems and in what types of spaces they work best.

How efficient is baseboard heat?

These days, many consumers are looking for efficiency in both cost and energy. While electric baseboard heat boasts 100 percent efficiency, meaning that all of the electricity used goes to producing heat, it uses a good amount of electricity to operate. So, on the surface, you may save money on the initial purchase, but over the long run, it could be more expensive. For the same reason, it is not a particularly environmentally friendly option either.

You should take into account the fact that baseboard heaters also aren’t recommended to cover a large area, so this 100 percent efficiency rating may drop if used in a bigger room.

Choose the best heating option for your home

There are many choices out there when it comes to heating your home, or a specific room or space therein. It is important to weigh out the different options and their particular benefits and drawbacks, from cost and energy efficiency to space and safety.

The electric baseboard heater option is attractive to many homeowners because of its ability to evenly disperse warm air throughout a room from top to bottom. No more cold feet with electric baseboard heating. Especially for extra bedrooms, new additions, and attics, electric baseboard heating can deliver the targeted zonal warmth when and where it’s needed.

However, you should be sure you are not attempting to heat too large of a space with this setup, as one unit isn’t designed for rooms or spaces much larger than 100 feet. So if you do choose this option for a larger area, you’ll have to purchase more than one unit. If you aren’t certain this is right for warming up your space, be sure to examine other options or consult an HVAC professional.

Are you ready to start warming up your home this winter with an electric baseboard heating system? Total Home Supply has you covered. Stop by and browse our selection of baseboard heaters and figure out which one might be the best fit for you.



Mickey Luongo

Mickey is the resident heating and air conditioning expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry.

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