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Efficiency of 110 volt baseboard heater versus 220 volt baseboard heater

Efficiency of 110 volt baseboard heater versus 220 volt baseboard heater


Old 07-29-05, 11:54 AM
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Question Efficiency of 110 volt baseboard heater versus 220 volt baseboard heater

I am going to heat our 3 season's room which is 15' x 8' with a 9' ceiling. I will be installing one 6' and one 8' baseboard heater. I have two questions.
1. Is there any difference in the amount of heat produced using 220 vs 110?
2. Which is more cost efective to operate?

Thank you
Jim Maxwell
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Old 07-29-05, 12:10 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
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The heat produced is directly related to the wattage of the heater, regardless of supply voltage. A 240V 1000W heater will produce exactly the same heat as a 120V 1000W heater.

The 240V unit will be slightly more efficient to operate. A general rule is higher voltage yields higher efficiency. You can also use smaller gauge wire to install it as a 240V load draws half the current of a 120V load at equal wattage. Personally, I would install the 240V although it won't make a whole lot of difference unless the distance from your panel to the heater is large.

If you do use 240V heaters, make sure the thermostat or switch you get is a double-pole so you can control both hot legs with one device.
Old 07-29-05, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,219
At the heater itself, there is no difference.

However if you use 220V, then with the same wire you can supply twice as many watts of power. Because of this, higher wattage heaters tend to be 220V rather than 110V.

At the _same_ power level, with the same wire, you have less loss in the wires themselves. So you get slightly more efficiency with 220V, but not a large difference.

220V leaves your electrical supply more balanced, which can be an issue for light flicker or main breaker tripping.

220V is slightly more expensive to install because you need to use double pole breakers and double pole disconnects.

If the actual power required by the room is the same, then the cost to operate should be the same. If you have a higher wattage heater, then it may be able to keep the room warmer by using more electricity, thus costing more to operate.

Old 07-29-05, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Although the efficiecies are the same, the heat output of the 220-volt unit will be a lot higher, and thus stands a better chance of being able to keep the room warm enough on cold days. To get the same heat from a 110-unit, you'd need about four times the length of heater.

I suppose the choice might depend on whether you live in North Dakota or in Oklahoma.

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