Hydronic baseboard heating


Old 02-07-15, 09:16 AM
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Hydronic baseboard heating


Can anyone tell me, either by personal experience or with reference to actual data, how much more efficient hydronic electric baseboard heaters are than standard electric baseboard heaters?

I live in Connecticut in a 1300 sq ft 2 bedroom condo which is heated with standard electric baseboard heaters. Our unit is sandwiched between two other units, so really only two of our walls are actually "outside walls". The condo is two stories, and we only heat the main downstairs living space (kitchen, dining room/living room) and one of the upstairs bedrooms. We keep the condo relatively cool (~65). However, our monthly electric bills are around $275 - 300 during the coldest months (Jan, Feb). I would estimate that about $175-200 of this is going towards heating.

Based on what friends have told me what they pay to heat their condos/apartments/homes, I feel like we are paying much more than we should. Hydronic electric baseboard heaters were recommended to me as a relatively simple way to improve the efficiency of our heating.

From what I have read about hydronic heaters, it makes sense that they are more efficient. However, I can't find any quantitative statements that describe how much more efficient they are. This is probably because the degree to which it improves the efficiency of a house's heating system is going to vary. I totally understand that. But it would be nice to hear some peoples' personal experiences with changing from standard baseboard heating to hydronic. Did you notice a decrease in your electric bill? Was it small, or was it a significant decrease?

Thanks so much for any/all input!

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Old 02-07-15, 11:09 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
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Electric heat is almost 100% efficient. It really does not matter if the baseboard is straight electric or if there is a heat transfer liquid surrounding the electric element. What the hydronic electric haseboards do offer is a lower surface temperature and that makes them much safer than a straight resistance heater. Straight resistance heaters run hot enough to burn people and can start fires if something flammable falls across the air vents on top of the baseboard. These problems are almost eliminated with the hydronic models.

IF you have small children in your apartment then for purely safety reasons I would prefer the hydronic units. If you have baseboard heaters in an area where they are subject to being blocked, such as in a bedroom where pillows or blankets could fall on the units, I would prefer hydronic units. I have personal experience with the latter.
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