Electric baseboards

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Old 11-10-13, 06:03 PM
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Electric baseboards

This is probably going to be considered a really basic and almost dumb question, and I hope I have it in the right section....but here it goes.

We're hoping to switch out to newer baseboard heaters and thermostats in our living room and kitchen and we're trying to determine the wattage we need. They are currently WAY too large for the spaces (about 8-9 feet long, and likely over-powered) I've done the calculations, including heat-loss calculations and we're at about 1260-1280 in each room. Unfortunately the heat loss calculations don't take into account a couple of things. Our kitchen has an open (average door-sized) archway into the living room, so no door keeping the heat in. Our living room has the stairs to the second floor coming from it....also open to upstairs (making the ceiling in the stairwell very high. We do have 2 older windows in our living room but are hoping to switch those to newer ones next summer (which will mean less heat loss obviously).

So, the question is, do we go with the 1250w heaters, or the 1500W. Over powered, or very slightly under-powered. What are the pros and cons here? The one reason I very much lean towards the 1250, in the living room especially is because the living room has an awkward configuration and the extra 5 or so inches of space saved with the lower wattage heater would be useful. Do we do 1500 in one room and 1250 in the other? Thoughts?

Also, an associated question. Considering the free-flow between the kitchen and living room would it be better to go with a single thermostat located just on one side or the other of the shared wall? The thermostats currently work independently but are practically through the wall from each other.

Sorry for the slightly dumb question, but I can't seem to find information anywhere that quite addresses this stuff. Thanks in advance!!
 
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Old 11-11-13, 01:50 AM
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If you did a heat loss calculation to arrive at the BTUs needed then you are far better to slightly undersize as most heat loss calculations have a built-in fudge fact of close to 20%. Remember also that the heat loss calc, is based on the coldest expected night of the year and 99% of the time you will be above that design outside temperature.

Electric heat thermostats are relatively inexpensive so I would opt for two separate thermostats.
 
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Old 11-11-13, 06:37 AM
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That fudge factor is good to know, and it does make sense, so I have a feeling we can opt for the smaller unit with no issues then (especially if we promise ourselves those old windows are getting replaced!).

I figured two thermostats would be a better way to go, but why not ask right!

I can't figure out why those huge heaters were put in these tiny rooms, I have a feeling even if the heater is slightly under-powered we're going to save a ton on our heating getting rid of those monsters. Going to be a pain installing new trim to take up the empty area left by the big heater, but its going to be SO much nicer not having that beast take up an entire wall in such a small room.

Thanks!
 
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Old 11-11-13, 09:55 AM
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Since you've had electric heat for a while, you can check your heat loss calculation by totaling up the actual kwh for a heating season (from your past bills), and dividing by the number of hours that the heat was on. These numbers should be pretty close to your heat loss calculations.

As for the individual heater size, you probably want the size so that on the coldest possible day the heater just stays on full time ... being underpowered won't save you money - a watt is a watt no matter if it's produced by a 1200watt or 1500 watt device.
The advantage of a smaller heater is that it won't cycle as often so maybe yields more even heat; the advantage of the bigger heater is that you can get up to temperature more quickly, e.g. first thing in the morning if you lower the set point(s) overnight.

The advantage of more thermostats is that you can adjust the energy demands to places where it's needed, so more thermostats would seem better - choosing their optimal locations and which heaters they control is the fun part. And, if you have time of day pricing you'd have more flexibility in powering down certain heaters at peak times.
 
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Old 11-11-13, 10:07 AM
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That fudge factor is good to know, and it does make sense, so I have a feeling we can opt for the smaller unit with no issues then
Not really. Electric heat is considered slow recovery so a larger heater will run less and heat faster. Dsomerv explained it pretty well in the post above.
 
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Old 11-11-13, 02:32 PM
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Electric heat is considered to be slow recovery BECAUSE it is far more likely to be correctly sized than any fossil-fuel heating system.

If you are going to allow the house temperature to drop significantly and then want it to warm quickly then you will need to oversize the heaters. If you want to maintain the temperature with minimal over/under shooting of the desired temperature then right size the heaters.

In the end, cost of operation will not vary much over the course of the year.
 
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Old 11-11-13, 04:44 PM
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Interesting.....
So basically I'll be good with either the 1250W or the 1500W.....I'm not too terribly worried about it getting up to heat really fast, since we don't change the temperature by TOO much (15C daytime, 18C while we are home, or that's what we try for, our old thermostats aren't the most accurate). I'd prefer minimal under/overshooting, so along with the space saving the 1250 would be a perfectly good choice I guess.
Our temperatures (in NB, Canada), get pretty chilly (-30C) some days, so I do think with the 1250 we might be a little underpowered until we get those windows switched out, for now its plastic and thick curtains on those puppies.
I'm hoping that we'll at least save a bit with the newer baseboards (supposedly more efficient) rather than the older ones along with the new thermostats. We did the switch in the bedroom previously and we have noticed that it is FAR more comfortable in there with the new combination. No idea on savings, but that is only one room, and this is our second winter in the house so we aren't likely to really notice.

I think we'll be going with a thermostat in the kitchen and living room, we spend less time in the kitchen, so I think it'll be turned on far less.

Thanks for the explanations too by the way everyone, helps a lot!
 
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Old 12-06-13, 12:03 AM
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electric baseboards

I have no heat going into one 200sq ft room and was wondering which way I should go as far as heating the area,i have an electric furnace but I don't use it as I have a fireplace that heat up most of the rooms, we only have electric in our area, so it is quite expensive using the electric furnace, would a baseboard heater, or wall heater, or just a ceramic heater be best, any help would be appreciated
 
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Old 12-06-13, 07:16 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

There are many choices. Are you looking for something permanently installed or "plug and play" ?
 
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Old 12-06-13, 08:21 AM
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Just thought to chime in on the previous discussion.

You might consider leaving the existing baseboard heaters in place and changing out the thermostat(s).


Recent electronic thermostat developments have actually improved the control of baseborad heaters and eliminating the noises associated with them.

Old style thermostats go on ..... stay on a while then go off ...... then stay off a while .. and so on. This allows the element to swing from room temperature to very hot and back constantly. It also makes baseboard heaters the least comfortable of all heating systems.

The electronic thermostats .... set-back or otherwise .... have changed that. The better of these devices actually check the temperature of the air every 3 seconds or so and by proportional control modulates the outpiut.

They are turning the baseboard on or off .... or leaving it on ...... or leaving it off .... every 3 seconds. The effect of this is ..... it doesn't get hot .... it just gets warm. If you do this constantly you could maintain any temperature you want and it never gets either cold or hot.

So under normal circumstances the electronic thermostat causes the baseboard electric heater to stay warm ..... just the temperature necessary to keep the room at the set temperature.
If it gets colder outside it will stay on a little more to maintain that temperature .... it will be slightly warmer but still constant.

This process not only saves a lot of energy and keeps the room more comfortable .... it eliminates that expansion and contraction ping in electric heaters.

The same heaters ..... with a better control and quiter as well.
 
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Old 12-06-13, 10:31 AM
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whatever is going to end up being energy effecient
 
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Old 12-08-13, 10:56 AM
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Im having virtually the same problem in my kitchen, it is arched open to the living room and the living room has a fireplace that is being used to heat the house, i have a 8 ft window and a 5 ft French door and a bay window in the kitchen was wondering what I should used for heat in this area as it is very cold
 
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Old 12-08-13, 12:40 PM
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Either a fan to bring the heated air in from the living room or some type of electric baseboard heater in this area also.
 
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