I remember back in the 1970’s my
father installed electric baseboard heating in one of our new homes due to the
fact that the United States had gone through a couple of oil shortages. The
general belief in 1978 was that the world’s oil wells were drying up and that
electricity would be relatively cheap in comparison to home heating oil.
Though oil prices have continued to
rise over the past few decades, the cost of heating an entire home with electric
baseboard heaters is still much more expensive than using hydronic baseboard
|Certainly the cost of installation of electric baseboard
heaters is significantly cheaper than hydronic baseboard heaters. However
the costs savings stop there. Hydronic baseboard heating uses hot water from
your home’s existing hot water heating system to circulate hot water through
the hydronic heating elements. The water is typically heated via gas or oil. The heat is radiated out of the heating elements to provide a slow
and comfortable heat. Normally a home has several heating zones such that each
zone can be controlled by a separate thermostat.
Photo by Mark Donovan
Electric baseboard heating on the
other hand requires electricity, and is significantly less energy efficient
compared to hydronic baseboard heating.
Hydronic heating elements are
comprised of a copper tube surrounded by a fin assembly that is encased in a
metal frame structure. The frame structure mounts to the base of the wall.
Typically hydronic heater elements are located on exterior walls, and
preferably under windows. As hot water passes through the hydronic heating
elements the energy is transferred from the water to the metal fins, where
the energy in the form of heat then radiates upward out of the heating
Electric baseboard heating is
similarly installed in each room of the home, however each room typically has
its own thermostat. The one advantage of electric baseboard heating is the fact
that you have more control of what rooms you heat in a home. Consequently, if
you only needed to heat one or two rooms of a home on a frequent basis, it may
make more sense to install electric baseboard heaters.
So, before you decide to save a few
dollars on home heating installation costs, consider the operational savings
over time. You may find out that the additional cost of installing hydronic
baseboard heaters is recouped in less than a couple of years, depending upon the
cost of electricity in your area.
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