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Heat Smarter with Electric and More Energy Saving Tips

October 21, 2014

 

HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR ELECTRIC BASEBOARD HEATERS AND PAY LESS ON YOUR ELECTRICY BILLS

how electric baseboard heaters workElectric baseboard heaters probably account for the largest chunk of you total yearly hydro bill.  Your kitchen appliances and lighting probably account for less than half that amount combined!  If you want to reduce your energy bills, it pays to make sure you are using your baseboard heaters properly.

TURN YOUR HEATERS DOWN WHEN YOU CAN

The biggest advantage of electric baseboard heaters is that you can control them room-by-room.  Instead of a central system that heats all rooms in your home to the same temperature, you can decide to have one room warmer or cooler than the other.

A thermostat, usually located on a nearby wall, controls the heater or heaters for each room.  It turns on when the air temperature in the room falls below a set temperature and off when the room reaches that temperature.

If you want to save energy, ALWAYS turn you thermostats down when you can; at night when you are sleeping, all the time in rooms you don’t use and when you are away.

 CHOOSE THE COOLEST TEMPERATURE YOU CAN

Heating costs rise about 5% for every degree above 20° C (68° F) that you set your thermostats.  Depending on where you live, simply turning the heat down from 21° C (68° F) to 16° C (61° F) at night can save you as much as 10% on your energy bills.

Setting your thermostats to 16°  C when you are at work or away will ensure that your plumbing won’t freeze in the winter and provide you with even more energy savings.

MORE ENERGY SAVING TIPS:

SWITCH TO PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS

programmable thermostat

Most baseboard heaters are fitted with manual thermostats where you have to physically re-set the thermostat every time you want to change the temperature in a room.  As you’ve probably discovered for yourself, it’s easy to forget to turn down a thermostat at night or when you’re away especially if you’ve got four or five or more separate thermostats throughout your home.

The answer might be to switch to programmable thermostats, at least for your main rooms such as the family or living room.  A programmable thermostat works automatically: you set is once – for example to turn down to 16 C every evening at 10:00 pm and turn back up to 21 C at 6:30 am.  It will continue to automatically adjust the room temperature for you.

Programmable thermostats are also more precise than manual thermostats and do a better job of keeping room temperature constant.  By avoiding ups and downs in temperature you will be more comfortable and you’ll save more energy.

RESIST TEMPTATION

When walking into a room and feeling cold, resist cranking up the thermostat as high as it can go to heat it up really fast.  It doesn’t actually work.  Turning your thermostat up to a temperature higher than you actually want only increases your energy bill – especially if you forget to turn the thermostat back down quickly.  Your room will warm up in the same amount of time no matter where you set the thermostat so don’t use more energy than you have to.

 CLEAN YOUR HEATERS REGULARLY

Dust and dirt can decrease the amount of heat your baseboard heaters are able to produce while at the same time increasing how much energy they consume.  At least once a year (the best time is before you first turn on your heaters on the fall) use your vacuum cleaner to remove as much dust as you can from each of your heaters.

 KEEP YOUR HEATERS CLEAR OF OBSTRUCTIONS

baseboard curtain clearance

The key to efficient baseboard heating is airflow.  Anything blocking the flow of air in or out of an electric baseboard heater will decrease its energy efficiency.  Your baseboard heaters should sit at least 2 cm (3/4″) above the floor or carpet to allow the cooler air on the floor to flow under and through the electrical element.  If your carpet is especially thick, trim it down around the base of your heaters.

Move any furniture or draperies away from your heaters so air can circulate properly and to eliminate potential fire hazards.  The bottom of your drapes should end at least 10 cm (4″) above your heaters or if your drapes run floor-to-ceiling, make sure you have at least 5 cm (2″) between the back of the drapes and the front of your heaters.

ELECTRIC HEAT CAN BE AN ADVANTAGE

Control Expenses

  • pay for what you use rather than having to pay inflated rent rates to cover shared heating costs

Safe and Reliable

  • does not burn fuel internally to generate heat, there are none of the associated safety risks such as carbon monoxide poisoning or explosions.
  • no radiators to leak or burst therefore minimal risk of damage to your contents
  • no moving parts to break down or ear out so extremely reliable

Improve Comfort

  • temperature can be controlled easily room by room
  • quick to respond
  • clean and very quiet

Appreciate the advantages of electric heat and use those to your advantage by following our energy saving tips – stay comfortable and save money.