Comparing Electric And Hydronic Baseboard Heaters

Posted on: 10 June 2016

Baseboard heaters provide a low-profile, affordable heating option to your home without the extensive installation process that is associated with more conventional central heating units. There are two main variants of baseboard heaters, electric and hydronic, which operate in very different ways to provide heat to your home. Due to this difference in operation, both types of baseboard heaters provide a different set of advantages and disadvantages to your home. Understanding the differences in both types of baseboard heaters can help you choose the one that best fits your needs.

Electric Baseboard Heaters

Electric baseboard heaters make use of heating elements to warm up the room in which they are installed. Electricity passes through a thin metal filament which warms up the air that passes over it. They are extremely easy to install, and can be fitted into any wall in which there is an electrical connection or wiring can be installed in, making them ideal for older homes that need to be retrofitted with a heating source. Furthermore, electric baseboard heaters do not require maintenance besides an occasional dusting to prevent dust from igniting on the heating element.

However, electric baseboard heaters can be extremely hot to the touch, which can be a danger with pets and small children. Furthermore, their cost of continued operation can vary widely depending on the local price of electricity, which can significantly drive up your heating and energy bills over time.

Hydronic Baseboard Heaters

Hydronic baseboard heaters use water instead of a metal filament to heat up a room. The water is heated and passes through the heater, where it then transfers to the air surrounding the unit. Water can retain heat much longer than metal can, which means that hydronic baseboard heaters can provide heat to a room even after they are turned off. This means that you can turn them off if your heating needs are not severe and still enjoy a comfortable room for a while, reducing your energy bills. Additionally, as there is no exposed heating element like in electric baseboard heaters, burns are much less likely – though the unit can still become hot, so caution is advised.

However, it should be noted that hydronic baseboard heaters require a much more extensive installation process, as they have to be incorporated into your home's existing plumbing system. This can drive up the initial costs of the unit. Furthermore, it is possible for damaged baseboard heaters to begin to leak, which can cause water damage and can be expensive to repair.

For more information about heating your home, see Kangas Burner & Heating Service or another HVAC specialist near you.


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