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electric hydronic baseboard heaters

our house is all electric and the baseboard heaters are over 30 years old - we would like to update and be more energy efficient - can they be replaced with electric baseboard hydronic heaters and use wireless thermostats? Is this something a electrician does or an HVAC contractor?

Re: electric hydronic baseboard heaters

This would require a call to an electrician; consult the Yellow Pages under "electric contractors".

Not that familiar with electric baseboard heat; what is the total square footage of the house; what are you paying monthly on the elec. bill in the winter; how much do you pay for a kwh of elec.; do you have good insulation in the exterior walls & attic; do you live in a very cold climate area, or a moderate one ????

Most heating experts agree that electric heat is the most costly way of heating a home; it helps if you live in a moderate climate & the kwh cost of elec is 6 cents or so---most people pay 10 to 14 cents/kwh.

The experts state that all elec heating elements are the same---they all deliver 100% efficiency; some oil-filled or water-filled convectors spread the heat more evenly, but that's about it---

Electric heat is produced by running elec current thru a thin wire or resistant material so that it gives off heat (sometimes light), as in an incandescent light bulb; the bulb gives off light, but also a lot of heat.

Consult several electricians, but you may gain little or nothing by upgrading to newer baseboard.

If you have cold winters & your fuel bill is high, consider switching to some other form of heat; if you have ducting for summer AC; determine if a HVAC man can install a heat pump in the ducting for winter heat; there is also a hi-velocity forced hot air system that uses 4" flexible ducts for heat & AC that is easy to install; see Unico site below.

The use of PEX high temp plastic piping in recent years (instead of rigid, expensive copper tubing) has made the installation of forced hot water baseboard with a high-efficiency boiler more feasible; the flex tubing is snaked thru wall cavities & sub-flooring for relatively low-cost to reduce monthly heating costs for gas-fired or oil-fired systems to $300/month during the heating season.

If your monthly elec. heating bills exceed $400 or $500 you're paying too much for heat; do a "Heating Plant Return on Investment Calculation" (last site below) to see how long it would take to buy a new system & pay it off in the coming years, and how long you expect to live in your current home.

It may make more sense to invest in more blown-in insulation for your exterior walls & attic, as well as getting air-tight double pane storm windows if they are not now present.


Re: electric hydronic baseboard heaters

Electric-hydronic heaters have a liquid filled element to prevent wide temperature swings. They run at a lower temperature and can be mounted on carpet or wood floor without a clearance space.

Other than that, Nashau is correct. All electric resistance heaters give you the same efficiency. 1 Watt = 3.412 Btu's.

Standard 240 volt heaters are 1000 watts (3412 btu's) per 4 feet length. They are installed on dedicated circuits and you can only put a load on a 20 amp circuit of 3840 watts by code, which equates to about 15' lineal feet of heaters.

If you have a brand that has built in relays and a wireless receiver and stat, then yes, it can be easily connected to the existing electrical wiring. I am not familiar with them, please list brand and model number if you have them.

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