Energy Efficient Base Board Heaters
If you live in a cold environment, you know that heating your home takes a lot of energy - you’ve probably seen that energy show up on your heating bill. However, there are several ways you can conserve energy in the winter, save money on your bill, and still have a warm and welcoming home. One of the more effective ways is by using baseboard heating.
Baseboard heaters run along the bottom of your wall. They work by taking in the cold air near the floor, warming it up, and releasing it back into the room, where it rises. As the air cools, it sinks—and gets taken back into the baseboard heater to be warmed again. This convection-powered cycle will keep on until all the air in the room is warmed to a desired temperature, and then the baseboard heating system will shut itself off to conserve energy. Baseboard heaters can be controlled by a thermostat, like central air—but they’re much more energy-efficient.
Baseboard heaters are often a cost-effective alternative to a home furnace. They are much less expensive to install, and require no ductwork or extra insulation, and very little regular maintenance—even seasonal repair isn’t required. They can also be installed only in certain rooms, so you can heat only the rooms that need it most—furnaces, however, will heat the entire house, needed or not.
Baseboard heaters can also save space within a home. A furnace will take up a huge area in your basement, while baseboard heaters are only a few inches tall and stick out only an inch or so into a room. They can also be painted to match the walls. Baseboard heaters are almost unnoticeable when painted to blend in with a room’s décor.
However, if you really want to improve your home’s energy efficiency when it comes to heating, there are a few other steps you should take in addition to installing baseboard heaters. Use all of these tips in conjunction with baseboard heating, and your home will be much more energy-efficient.
Look for the Energy Star. Energy Star is a program run by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage consumers to choose energy-efficient appliances and home maintenance products. Items that are sufficiently energy-efficient will be labeled with the Energy Star, indicating that they’re recommended by this program. Replacing your old windows and electrical appliances—including space heaters—with Energy Star products can significantly increase your home’s energy efficiency.
Upgrade to energy-efficient windows. If you have old, drafty windows, you could be losing your heat—and your money—through those leaks. If you need to replace your windows, upgrade to Energy-Star rated windows. This will prevent your home from leaking heat and draining your finances on every winter heating bill.
Check your insulation. Your home needs to be effectively insulated to ensure it’s not losing heat through the ceiling and walls. This is especially important if you have an unfinished attic or uninsulated walls with wall studs. There are lots of different types of insulation, but in general the type you choose is not as important as the contractor you use. Make sure you work with somebody with experience and knowledge about how to install insulation.
Replace your furnace. If you already have a furnace and find it’s not practical to install baseboard heating instead, you can still improve the energy efficiency of your furnace. Older furnaces—those built before 1992—generally waste at least 35% of the fuel they use. Those installed before 1998 often waste around 20% of their fuel. If you have an older furnace, you could be wasting a lot of fuel needlessly. Replace your furnace with a modern one that has a good energy-efficiency rating.
Thermal mass heating. This form of solar heating is surprisingly effective. With thermal mass heating, the walls are designed to retain heat during unwanted periods—for example, during the summer—and release it during colder periods. Some types of thermal mass heating involve building your home with an uninsulated wall facing the direction of most intense sunlight. The wall can be made of stone, concrete, or even adobe, and is often faced with a pane of glass to encourage heat buildup by focusing the light against the wall.
Heating your home doesn’t have to take lots of energy or money. With the right choices in your heating method, as well as the proper maintenance to ensure your home is energy-efficient, your home should be nice and warm this winter—without breaking the bank.