Several decades ago baseboard heaters started to get more popular specially in cold zones or cold countries where temperatures get below 0 degrees Celsius. So, the same artefact is needed but new technology has arrived. Families who have already some baseboard heaters in their house can think about something interesting: Should they get new baseboard heaters because new technology is more efficient? And the answer might surprise you, the answer by itself is no. However, new technology is better designed. In terms of efficiency the conversion of energy in the form of heat from electricity energy hasn’t changed. They use a series of resistances to make some heat that it heats the air through convention, then the air will heat the whole room. New baseboard heaters can be more efficient at the passage of hot air. There is the only way of improvement other than design that you can see in these new heaters.
All of the electric heaters in the market regardless of the age of release can convert electricity to heat at 100% efficiency in terms of possible conversion of energy by this method. That’s why the replacement of a new baseboard heater is not going to save you energy. If you recall a law of thermodynamics that says energy is conserved between a thermodynamic system and the surrounding. That’s why you can’t do anything else to save more energy with these systems, electricity and watts are the same no matter if that gets from an old baseboard heater or a new one.
Is baseboard heating expensive?
Depending on the zone where you live and the type of baseboard heater that you are using. The most used ones are electric heaters. The conversion of electricity into heat is not an efficient one. The percentage of conversion of heat from electricity is around 30% of efficiency, that means that the total input of electricity into this system will convert only 30% of that into heat. For example, consider gas furnace that can convert up to 80% of its energy into heat, that is a more efficient system for heating.
One way to consume less energy by cost of watt usage is by adjusting your heater to turn on when the cost of energy in your zone is less expensive, that way you can heat up your room and then it is going to stay turned off when the consumption of energy is more expensive, that is a nice trick to save energy.
However, there are other types of baseboard heaters that are more efficient than electrical ones, that’s when you can get more efficiency.
Another way to make more efficiency in the heating is by creating a nice passage of air where the heat can disperse easily, try not to block the passage of air by making obstructions with objects near to the baseboard heater.
Hydronic electric baseboard heater vs standard
Even though both systems look similar, both are installed in the corners of the floors and have the same size. Both are quiet, passive and heat your room slowly. However, there are some differences that you should take into consideration if you need to decide which system you want to install. The main difference is that Hydronic heaters use radiant heat as a way for heating your room and the electric baseboards use convection for achieving that.
If we think about physics, hydronic systems will generate rays and convection system (electric baseboards) will generate the energy into waves. The Hydronic baseboard resembles the sun in the way of transmitting energy, convention needs a fan to warm the house.
If we think about efficiency, Hydronic baseboards are more efficient than the standard ones because of the way of transmitting energy. You can heat more easily with a radiant way than by convection. Another advantage of Hydronic baseboards is that the liquid, that is in the middle of the system, will remain warm for a lot more time after the thermostat is turned off. It means that it keeps warming for more time even if it is off and for the moment when it doesn’t need to warm more, it will keep functioning for more time.
Regarding prices, you need to consider that hydronic heaters normally cost a lot more. Hydronic heaters cost 4 more times than convection heaters or standard baseboard heaters. That’s why you need to think about budget, specially if you want to use several ones in your home, that is something important to keep in mind. However, for a long period of time, selecting hydronic heaters will make you save more money because of the features that it has in comparison with standard heaters.
Other important difference between those 2 types of heaters is that the hydronic heaters have less variety of sizes and options. If you need a wide area to install a baseboard heater you might consider getting a standard conventional heater. More options in the market regarding brands and sizes are for the convection heaters.
Other thing to consider between them is that the hydronic system needs more time to reach the temperature that you select in your heater. So, you get a more efficient heater that costs more but it takes more time to heat up.