Replace electric baseboards with what??


Old 05-06-02, 02:04 PM
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Replace electric baseboards with what??

Someone please help! I just moved into a 30-year-old condo with electric baseboard heaters. I think the existing heaters are the original equipment. We pay high bills but are still cold all the time, and I would like to upgrade the heaters, but face several problems.

First, the condo is all electric. I've been told there isn't even a gas line in the building, so I can't switch to natural gas. Second, I can't make any major structural changes, e.g. retro-fit a duct system or put a heat pump on the roof, at least not without a major hassle from the homeowner's association. Finally, my wife and I only plan to stay in the condo for 5 to 7 years, so we don't want to take on any major expenses. I think that rules out heat pumps or radiant heat even if we could get HOA approval.

So here are my questions:

1. Should I upgrade the original baseboard heaters to new baseboard heaters?

2. I have also heard about fan-forced electric wall mount heaters. Would those be a better choice? (There are no ceiling fans in the unit -- even though there is a cathedral ceiling -- so I figure any additional air circulation couldn't hurt. And the rooms currently do take a long time to warm up. Some of the current baseboard heaters have been (incorrectly?) placed on interior walls, near but not below the windows, so no convection currents.)

3. Is this replacement the kind of thing that a beginning DIYer could handle?

4. Is there any other kind of heater that I should think about?

Thanks in advance for any help...
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Old 05-07-02, 10:14 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 1,875
You do have another choice and that's electric radiant heat. You can go to

There's a good chance that your present baseboards are dirty and cleaning them might solve your problem. What occurs is during the summer dust get on the heating element and when you turn on the baseboards in the beginning the dust melt or burns on the element. This creates a film on the element and it doesn't heat well. These baseboards should be cleaned just prior to the heating season and periodically if you have pets.

The fan type electric units you mentioned are usually only found in rooms with confined wall space like a bathroom or foyer. Where there isn't enough wall space for a baseboard. I've never seen one of these units with a filter to protect the heating element and fan from getting dirty, which means they have to be cleaned more frequently than baseboards. I personally don't like them.

If you were going to change one baseboard with the same size baseboard, doing it yourself would be okay. However you intend to change more than one and/or changing the type or size, I would strongly recommend you get a qualified electrician to hook it up for you.

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