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Baseboard heating may be easier and less costly to install in old homes, than other heating solutions like underfloor heating. However, its safety risks and energy costs may balance out its perks in the long run. So, before you replace your current heating system, it’s important to note all the baseboard heating advantages and disadvantages.
In this post, I’ll take you through the various pros and cons of baseboard heating to help you make that decision. This also will help you determine whether baseboard heating is ideal for reducing upfront costs, and controlling the temperature of each room. Besides, like any other home heating method, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to baseboard heaters.
Benefits of Baseboard heating
1. Quiet operation
Various indoor heating systems like radiators and furnaces tend to produce a lot of noise when operating at full capacity. As a result, it becomes more difficult to sleep comfortably or have a conversation when you’ve such systems in your home. However, you’ll not experience this issue with an electric or hydronic baseboard heating system.
Electric baseboard heaters produce very little noise, such that you may not know they even exist. Similarly, hydronic baseboard heated operates quietly, eliminating the irritating noise produced by older systems like radiators.
2. Easy installation
One major unique feature of baseboard heaters is that their installation does not require ductwork. As a result, they’re extremely easy to install anywhere in your home without having to spend a lot of money on labor and equipment.
At the same time, this makes them less costly to install compared to other types of heating options. For instance, the installation cost of most electric baseboard heaters is around $300. Better yet, their installation process is so easy enough that most homeowners can do it on their own without professional help. This makes baseboard heating installation one of the best options for heating your home when you’re on a tight budget.
3. Ideal for Zone heating
Baseboard heating is ideal for zone heating since most electric units come with their thermostat. This allows homeowners to set different temperatures in different areas within the house. That way, you can designate different rooms of your home to be cooled or heated at certain preset temperatures without being affected by other areas of the house.
For instance, if you want to keep the bedroom cool at 67 deg without freezing while watching the TV, you can set the baseboard heater in your living space at 70 deg. Similarly, you can turn off the baseboard heater in rooms that are rarely used, and only flip them back on when they’re being used.
4. Easy cleaning
First, it’s important to regularly clean your baseboard heating units to avoid potential safety issues and base smells. Luckily, that is fairly simple since you can easily clean them with a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. Also, unlike complicated HVAC systems, baseboard heaters need little additional maintenance to operate optimally.
5. Rare breakdowns
As you know, baseboard heaters are equipped with heating elements that work to distribute warmth. As a result, other components like the wiring and exterior casing rarely break down or malfunction if you regularly clean them. This makes baseboard heating units a long-term option, seeing that they can last for about 15 – 30 years. Moreover, they need minimal maintenance and repairs after the initial installation, allowing them to withstand several years of use.
1. Safety concerns
Baseboard heaters, especially hydronic models are very very safe to use since they don’t produce toxic air.
However, these heating systems can be unsafe if they’re installed near combustible or flammable materials. For that, fire departments advise that most household items like curtains and furniture be kept at least 12” away from baseboard heating units.
Still, on safety, baseboard heaters can be hazardous for kids wandering about the house. On the bright side, Most systems are fitted with baked enamel elements to prevent overheating and accidental burning.
2. Affects interior design
Unlike underfloor heating systems, baseboard heaters take up valuable wall space in each room. Moreover, they significantly affect the arrangement of your furniture since they’re usually installed at the base of the wall and under the windows. This will affect the organization and aesthetics of the entire room since you’ve to keep them unobstructed. Plus, they’ll limit where you can place the furniture and what type of curtains to safely hang for your windows.
3. Require regular cleaning & maintenance
Since baseboard heaters are installed so close to the ground, they tend to act as dust and fur magnets. For that reason, you have to clean them regularly to keep your baseboard heaters operating at maximum efficiency. Similarly, you have to regularly check their components and replace them if necessary. Luckily, baseboard heaters are relatively easy to clean since you only need a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment.
4. High running costs
Although most baseboard heaters are relatively cheap to install, they can be quite expensive to run, especially if they’re strictly powered by electricity. This will make your utility bills to be significantly higher during the winter months than if you had an electric heat pump or traditional furnace.
Also, the placement of baseboard heaters-near exterior walls and windows- can be another drawback. For instance, if the inbuilt baseboard heater thermostat senses cold or drafts nearby, it will make the unit work hard to keep the room warm. This will increase your energy bills, leading to higher monthly energy costs over the long haul
The benefits and drawbacks of baseboard heating are worth considering if you’ve got an older room that needs a remodel or spacious rooms. Also, it’s a great heating solution if you want to skip extensive installation for your new construction projects. It will help you determine whether the upgrade is worth buying by considering the installation costs, operating costs, and life expectancy of baseboard heaters.
After deciding whether baseboard heating is an effective home heating option, the next step will be to find the best baseboard heating system for you!