Is a Baseboard Heater Right for You?

baseboard heater on carpet

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An electric baseboard heater is an electrical heating element inside a metal pipe. When the heater is turned on, an electric current flows through the heating element. This type of heater is really efficient to use for zonal heating (heating only occupied rooms in your home).

Using a Baseboard Heater

For unconditioned rooms or rooms that need supplemental heat, baseboard heaters are an ideal solution. Some homeowners use them for individual zone room heating. For example, a bedroom at night is conditioned by the baseboard heater and the rest of the house is put into a temperature setback to conserve on energy in unoccupied rooms. Baseboard heaters do not have a blower to circulate air so the heat generally stays in the same room as the baseboard heater. If you have a heater in a bedroom, do not expect the heater to also heat the hallway outside of the bedroom by simply keeping the bedroom door open.

To keep your baseboard heater working efficiently and circulating air properly, move thick carpet or rugs away from your baseboard heater. Ensure there are no obstructions that block the natural circulation of the heating air. Also, keep your heater free of dust and grime to guarantee it will work properly.

Another thing homeowners must look out for is the location of the heater. The location of the unit often limits options of how a room can look. There are some recommended locations, such as under a window, but no matter where you place the heater there are some guidelines to follow. There must be at least 3/4 an inch above your floor and a few inches of clearance in front of the heater to allow the unit to properly function.

Deciding If It’s Right for You

Did you know?

  • In colder climates, heating your home costs more than any other system and typically takes up around 42% of your energy bill?
  • Today’s heat pumps can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50% compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters.
  • Baseboard heaters are relatively inexpensive and easy to install; however, they are one of the most inefficient ways to heat your home.


To generate 1,000,000 BTUs of heat (as of March 2013):

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