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When a home's existing heating system is somehow failing to function at optimal or affordable levels, the homeowner tends to explore all available options for upgrading or improving the conditions. Generally, one of the most common all-around solutions is the use of single electric baseboard heaters.
HomeInspectorLocator.com puts the cost of adding a single electric baseboard heater at $150 to $200. Such costs, however, can be significantly higher if the homeowner opts for additional features in the unit. For example, there are thermostatic controls, hydronic systems which make the heat generated by the coils last longer, and even some automated features too.
For this discussion we will look at the materials and costs associated with the installation of a single electric baseboard heater.
The individual heating units, according to EPinions.com, will run no more than $75 each, and will come in a variety lengths and styles. They will all use a steel sheathed element, powder coated finish which can be painted for concealment, ratings for 120v to 240v, a 20 gauge junction box with a grounding feature, and a capillary sensor tube that manages temperature.
The costlier part of the installation project is the electrical work. This, however, is somewhat of a boon at a much later point in time because the equipment is easy to replace at an affordable cost. Consider that a traditional furnace or alternate heating system will cost thousands of dollars to replace should it fail beyond the point of repair. The electric baseboard heaters, however, are simply replaced with the low-cost unit instead of a complete replacement being done on the entire system.
Any single electric baseboard is going to demand a professionally licensed electrician (who will charge from $75-$250 per hour) for the installation process. This process will include the running of electrical lines suitable to the needs of the individual unit. Generally, this will mean a 240 volt receptacle along with an available 240 volt circuit on the electrical panel. Should one not already exist, the average cost for installation per receptacle and circuit will be between $300 and $800 each.
The electrician and the homeowner will need to discuss the placement of the units as well. These cannot go "just anywhere" and most manufacturers demand that they are set beneath a window area, and in a place where furnishings cannot impede or block air flow.
The U.S. Department of Energy indicates the importance of choosing to seek out quotes from several contractors before making a final decision on the provider. They also note that while such heating elements are easy to install and extremely effective, they are incredibly expensive to use. Consider that a single unit in a modern and well insulated home can use as much electricity in a single heating season as 120 one hundred watt bulbs being operated on a 24-hour basis (or 12000 watts). A less efficient home without good insulation, or updated doors and windows can see double that amount of energy consumption.
This is the primary reason that most installers and electricians recommend automated thermostats for all heaters. This gives optimal zone control when the units are left at a temperature setting of nothing less than sixty degrees Fahrenheit. These thermostats are the "line voltage" types that run the voltage of the heater directly through the individual thermostat. If a home already has a network of baseboard heating units without such devices, a retrofit is possible, but must also be done by a knowledgeable and licensed electrician too.
Of all modern heating options, it is the independent electric baseboards that offer the lowest maintenance, easiest repair or replacement, and the largest amount of safety in operation.
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Cost to install an electric baseboard heater varies greatly by region. Get free estimates from air-conditioning and heating contractors in your city.