How much does it cost to install an electric baseboard heater?
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Install Electric Baseboard Heater Cost Guide
Updated: August 17, 2022
A baseboard heater serves as a viable heat source in any room of a home. They require no ductwork, making them a more cost-efficient heating option than other heater sources. You choose the room in the house where you require heat. The heater operates off electricity and works well as a supplemental heat source. Coils heat up and emit a form of radiant heat throughout the room.
Installing an electric baseboard heater costs between $400 and $650, with the average homeowner spending around $550 on installing a 72-inch, 1500-watt, 240-volt electric baseboard heater to heat a 100 sq. ft. room. Homeowners can purchase a lower quality, lower wattage (350 watts) electric baseboard heater and have it installed for around $285. Prices can go as high as $1,400 to install a 4,000-watt, 240-volt unit with a Wi-Fi thermostat.
Electric Baseboard Heater Cost
|Cost to Install Electric Baseboard Heater|
|National average cost||$550|
What Size Electric Baseboard Heater Do I Need?
Electric baseboard heaters come in a wide variety of sizes and wattages. Typically, the size area covered is based on the wattage and amps of the heater. However, if you have an area that is being supplemented by an electric baseboard heater, you may be concerned with the size of the heater itself. For instance, if you are trying to heat areas around windows, doors, or outside walls, measuring the area where you want the heat concentrated is the best course of action.
|Size||Cost (Materials Only)|
|2 Feet||$40 - $70|
|3 Feet||$80 - $110|
|4 Feet||$120 - $150|
|5 Feet||$200 - $225|
|6 Feet||$250 - $275|
|7 Feet||$300 - $325|
|8 Feet||$350 - $380|
|9 Feet||$450 - $500|
|10 Feet||$575 - $650|
Electric Baseboard Heater Prices by Home Size
As we already stated, the square footage covered by an electric baseboard heater is measured by the wattage and the amps or voltage. Not only will using the proper amount of wattage and amps be more energy efficient but also it will be safer. So, part of determining how many units you need requires you to know how many square feet one electric unit covers. Most manufacturers recommend slightly oversizing for safety reasons. We will assume that each heater will be at 1350 watts and 240 volts as this is adequate to cover 150 square feet.
|Home Size||Units Needed||Cost (Materials Only)|
|800 - 1,000 sq.ft.||6 - 7||$2,400 - $2,800|
|1,200 - 1,400 sq.ft.||8 - 10||$3,200 - $4,000|
|1,500 - 1,700 sq.ft.||10 - 12||$4,000 - $4,800|
|1,800 - 2,200 sq.ft.||12 - 15||$4,800 - $6,000|
|2,300 - 3,000 sq.ft.||16 - 20||$6,400 - $8,000|
Electric Baseboard Watts per Foot
Baseboard heaters are used to heat one of the rooms of your home. It is not a whole-house heating system. You must determine the square footage of the room that is to be heated. They are available in 120-volts or 240-volts. The 240-volt models have less amperage, so they are more energy-efficient. A single 500 sq. ft. room will require a 4,500-watt unit to provide sufficient warmth and cost $300 to $1,000. Some examples of electric baseboard heater wattage requirements are:
|Room Area||Watts Required||Cost (Materials Only)|
|64 sq.ft.||500 W||$35 - $150|
|80 sq.ft.||640 W||$50 - $185|
|100 sq.ft.||900 W||$75 - $250|
|150 sq.ft.||1,350 W||$100 - $300|
|300 sq.ft.||2,700 W||$150 - $700|
|400 sq.ft.||3,600 W||$275 - $800|
|500 sq.ft.||4,500 W||$300 - $1,000|
Electric Baseboard Heater Installation Cost
Baseboard heaters are available in 120-volts or 240-volts. A 120-volt unit averages $50 to $120, depending on the wattage. A 240-volt unit ranges from $100 to $300 depending on the watts and may require an electrician’s skills to install it. The cost varies depending on the number of units being installed. Large rooms may need more than one heater. Electricians can install baseboard heaters, but HVAC specialists can also handle the job in some cases at a rate of $75 to $150 per hour.
Some electricians give a discount if you have them install more than one unit. Always discuss the electrician’s fees before contracting the work. Installation normally involves affixing the heater to the wall, hooking up a thermostat (if the baseboard runs on a wall thermostat instead of internal control), and plugging the unit into an electrical outlet. It takes about 5 hours ($200 to $600) to install an electric unit. Electricians charge between $40 and $120 an hour in addition to supplies and any extra wiring that may need to be done. However, the price does not include the cost of the unit.
Cost to Replace Electric Baseboard Heater
You’ll need to have the old HVAC system removed by a professional. An HVAC installer will charge $75 to $150 per hour to remove a previous heating system. The amount of time it takes to remove the old system varies and depends on the size of the unit. An HVAC professional can install an electric baseboard heater, or you can opt to have an electrician install the unit for a price of $40 to $100 per hour.
They are fairly resilient as long as they are maintained and cleaned regularly. However, if you experience difficulty with heating the room and your unit is older, it may be time to consider replacing it. An electric baseboard heater replacement may be slightly less expensive as the old unit is already wired and ready to go. If you have an HVAC system, it can become costly to repair, and it may not make sense to spend money on an older system.
Cost to Run Electric Baseboard Heater
According to Energy.gov, an electric baseboard heater is one of the most expensive ways to warm your home. They recommend this type of heater for small areas, as supplemental heat for areas that are hard to keep warm, and for room additions that are difficult to hook to an existing heating system.
There is a fairly simple formula you can use to figure out the cost to run your unit. First, take your appliance wattage and divide it by 1,000 to get your kilowatts. Next, multiply the kilowatts by how many hours per day you expect to run the unit. This may be only while you are at home. This provides kilowatt-hours. Finally, multiply your kilowatt-hours by your power company’s rate per kWh. This gives you a daily rate for running your unit.
Everyone likes saving money. With this type of heater, you have several ways to save some money. First of all, most of these heaters are 240 volts. This is the most energy-efficient choice. Keep in mind when using your unit that for every degree above 68, your energy costs increase by about 5%. If you can handle a cooler home, keeping that thermostat at 68 or lower saves you money. Also, adding insulation to your home helps to keep those costs down.
The average cost to heat a home with an electric unit varies depending on several factors, but the size of your house is the most important one. The average national cost to install a 72-inch, 1500-watt, 240-volt unit is $550. This includes the cost of the unit plus the installation, including any additional wiring required. This size unit would heat about 175 square feet.
Electric Baseboard Heaters Cost per Month
Although the cost to run your unit depends on many factors, here’s an estimation of the costs per month depending on the number of units. These costs are based on a 1350-watt unit running 10 hours per day with an average U.S. residential cost of 13.31 cents per kilowatt.
|Number of Units||Cost to Run Monthly|
|1 Unit||$50 - $60|
|2 Units||$100 - $120|
|3 Units||$150 - $180|
|4 Units||$200 - $240|
|5 Units||$250 - $300|
Electric Baseboard Heating Pros and Cons
Baseboard heaters are often used to heat a single room or as a supplemental heat source. As with all heating systems, you must first evaluate the pros and cons to determine if it is right for you.
An electric unit is less expensive to install than other heater types. No are ducts involved, and the actual unit can be less expensive, depending on what type you choose. These types of heaters create even warmth and are one of the safest types of heaters. They do not produce carbon monoxide and won’t catch fire or explode as long as they are properly installed. Electric units are great for small spaces. However, it takes longer to heat a room than some other heaters. It has to be mounted on a baseboard in plain sight, which can take away from the room’s aesthetics. This heater is more expensive to operate than some other heaters. It requires regular cleaning because a dirty unit loses much of its efficiency.
Where to Install an Electric Baseboard Heater
Baseboard heaters are not as easy to move as stoves or other heating systems. The decision to install it should be made considering the location, the amount of use that you will get out of that heater, and the rest of the objects in the room.
Best Rooms to Install a Baseboard Heater
Baseboard heaters can be installed in any room of your home. However, experts recommend this heating for some areas more than others. Bedrooms are a common space to add electric units. For instance, if you have a guest room, a baseboard heater can be used to heat the room only when someone is using it. They are also useful in spaces where you want additional heat. This might be the case if a living room or den needs to be warmed.
Some people choose to install their units in the bathroom because they take up little space and are unobtrusive. However, they take longer to warm than other heating options, so other people prefer to use them in other locations. When installing a unit in the bathroom, it should be away from water sources since they often rust.
Basements can also benefit from the introduction of baseboard heaters. Some people prefer to keep the aesthetic of this heating method in areas like basements where fewer people see them. In addition, it allows you to heat the basement only when it is being used. This works well for those who are not using the basement rooms continuously.
Where to Put a Baseboard Heater in a Room
Baseboard heaters are usually placed near or below windows to counter the coldness of the glass and the outside wall. The heater is controlled using either a built-in thermostat or a wall thermostat. The unit cannot be located below a wall outlet. They must be affixed to the wall so that there is one inch of air space beneath to create airflow. There should always be at least 12 inches of clearance from all drapes, curtains, or furnishings due to the danger of these items catching fire. Also, placing items too close to any type of heater makes it less energy efficient.
Although the best location is beneath a window, it can be placed anywhere in the room. When picking a location for the wall thermostat to operate the heater, remember that they render the greatest accuracy when placed on an interior wall located away from the baseboard heater.
Electric Baseboard Heater Thermostat Options
A variety of options are available for your electric baseboard heater thermostat. Many models come with a built-in thermostat while others require a separate one. Programmable and smart help to make your heater more energy-efficient and user friendly. Whatever you choose, you will want some type of thermostat to regulate your system.
Electric Baseboard Built In Thermostat vs Separate
Some electric baseboard heaters do not come with a built-in thermostat You can purchase a very simple-dial type thermostat or go for something fancier. The thermostats come in two types: single pole and double pole. A single-pole thermostat cannot be turned off completely but can be set to a lower setting. It will turn back on once the room gets colder than the setting. A double-pole thermostat can only be turned off or on, so it is less versatile.
An electric unit with a built-in thermostat ensures that the thermostat works well with your product. It also doesn’t require additional wiring or a place to install the thermostat. Additionally, a factory-installed thermostat ensures that the unit doesn’t overheat. It allows the system to work more efficiently and save you money by turning off when it reaches the required temperature.
However, a unit with an existing thermostat means more can go wrong inside the unit. With a built-in thermostat, you don’t have the option of just replacing the thermostat. Many smart or Wi-Fi driven thermostats are available on the market that make owning an electric model more technologically advanced. Most of the built-in thermostats do not offer this feature. The cost for a smart or Wi-Fi thermostat can be as little as $100 or as much as $500. A simple dial type thermostat is about $20, and a digital, programmable thermostat starts at $50.
Electric Baseboard Heater Programmable Thermostat
One option to control the temperature is to have a programmable thermostat installed. Programmable thermostats for electric units range in price from $50 to $250. The low-cost programmable thermostats can be programmed to maintain the temperature throughout the day. You can also opt to purchase more expensive models of programmable thermostats that allow you to program a week or more in advance.
Smart Electric Baseboard Heater
A smart or Wi-Fi allows you to control the thermostat via your smartphone, laptop, tablet, or computer. A smart or Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat costs at least $100 to $500 for one with more bells and whistles. These types of thermostats will most likely require an HVAC technician charging $75 to $150 per hour for labor or an electrician at a charge of $40 to $100 per hour for labor. It typically takes about two hours to install one of these thermostats to make a programmable electric baseboard heater.
Electric Baseboard Heater Temperature
As we mentioned before, there are two types of electric baseboard heaters: convection and hydronic. Both of these heaters have small aluminum fins that push the heated air into the room. With a hydronic unit, water or oil is heated, which then moves the energy to the fins. This type of unit will rarely exceed 100-degrees.
The convection heater is constructed differently in that it uses a resistor to change the electrical energy into heated energy. This process results in much higher temperatures resulting in burns. The temperature can get as high as 150+ degrees. This is why it is important to make sure nothing is too close to the heater. The heater should be installed in an out of the way place to avoid injuries.
Energy Efficient Baseboard Heaters
Making your electric baseboard heater more energy efficient is a vital part of owning one. There are some things that you can do to keep them working efficiently.
If you arrive home and the house is freezing, cranking the thermostat up four or five degrees higher than you would normally have it doesn’t work. What happens is that it takes your house the same amount of time to warm up, but the unit continues running even after the house becomes your normal comfortable setting.
A nice thick rug is great to wiggle your toes in when you are cold. However, these soft layers can impede your unit. That is why it is important to have your unit installed at least ¾-inch above the carpet level. This allows the cooler air from the floor to flow evenly into the warm air.
Another way to get the most out of your heater is to make certain no window coverings, furniture, or other items block it. Installation should allow for at least two inches between the unit and anything else.
Electric Baseboard Heater Maintenance
No appliance works well if it is dusty. Dust is a known blocking agent for any type of air, whether it is warm or cold. Also, dust creates allergens that can affect asthma too. Keeping your electric baseboard heater clean and free from dust enhances its ability to last a long time and be energy efficient. A heater that has to work harder to push the heat into the room due to dirt build up will break down more easily and require more repairs.
Most people clean heater units in the fall right before using them for the first time and then again in the spring after the weather warms. Remove the heater’s faceplate so you can get to all of the parts. Using a clean, microfiber cloth, wipe down the heater’s surface, and vacuum the fins and other accessible parts. You may want to use gloves as the fins can be sharp and can cut you. If you notice any rust, apply a rust remover to ensure this doesn’t worsen. Gaps in the pipes or baseboard around the unit should be filled with a high-heat sealant.
Some homes may be especially dusty, particularly those with pets. If you notice a large amount of build-up or if you have allergies, clean more frequently. Monthly, weekly, or even daily cleaning may be necessary.
Hydronic Baseboard Heater vs Electric
There are three types of baseboard heaters: convection (commonly called electric), hydronic (hot water) and oil-filled. The electric units require no core central heating unit or ductwork. They operate using airflow. You can choose different wattages to heat small or large areas. Watts usually range from 500 to 5,000 watts.
Hydronic and oil-filled units have many characteristics in common. They often use radiant heat with heating pipes that run up through the floor. Depending on your home’s flooring, this form of baseboard heating might be impractical. However, hydronic heat that is not used with a radiant heat system is an option too. The advantages of this type of heating are that they are more energy-efficient and stay warm for a longer time. However, they have a shorter life expectancy than an electric one. Hydronic heaters are more expensive to purchase and install. It takes longer for them to get warm. For a hydronic heater, you will pay about $250 to $300.
A convection model is more inexpensive to install than a hydronic one. These heaters are reliable and last up to 20 years. They are quiet and warm up quicker than a hydronic one. An easier to maintain choice, convection heaters tend to lose the heat more swiftly than a hydronic heater. Expect to pay about $85 to $350 for a convection unit.
|Electric||$400 - $650|
|Hydronic||$450 - $700|
Electric Baseboard vs Wall Heater
Wall heaters heat a room quickly but rely on a fan to circulate the air, and a baseboard heater uses convection. Many wall heaters offer variable temperature settings and come with an electrostatic or HEPA filter to help keep the home’s air cleaner. Electric models average $400 to $650 depending on size, and a wall heater averages $450 to $800.
The fan can be noisy in a wall heater, especially if you are using it in a bedroom. Another consideration is that a wall heater lasts only 8 to 12 years, but a baseboard unit will easily make it 20 years if kept clean. A wall unit is more energy-efficient than an electric unit. Wall models tend to heat up in just a few minutes, while it can take up to an hour for a baseboard unit. Baseboard heaters are cool to the touch, which may not be the case for a wall heater. Finally, an electric unit needs free space near the floor, while wall units need additional wall space, often near a window.
|Electric Baseboard||$400 - $650|
|Wall Heater||$450 - $800|
Baseboard Heater vs Space Heater
An infrared heater, otherwise known as a space heater, warms an area by emitting rays that are absorbed by furniture and flooring. This creates a more natural warm atmosphere quickly. There is no waiting for the room to heat up. Because they use radiant light, an infrared unit is completely silent, making it a good choice for a bedroom. Although other types of heaters dry out the skin and nose, an infrared unit will not.
New models of the infrared heater are much safer. Many of these come with an automatic shut-off if the unit is tipped and have a cool touch surface. Like other zonal warming heaters, the infrared unit only heats while it is running. As soon as it turns off, the heat quickly dissipates.
Space heaters are not recommended around children or pets as it is easy for them to get burned. These are also portable units, whereas an electric unit is permanent. The pricing for an infrared unit varies and can range from $250 to $700, depending on the type of heater and needed preparation. If the heater needs a new electrical outlet and thermostat, the price will be at the higher end. Electric baseboards, on the other hand, cost around $400 to $650.
|Infrared Heater||$250 - $700|
|Electric Baseboard||$400 - $650|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Electric Baseboard Heater Safety Covers
Some electric baseboard heaters do not have a safety cover to protect from someone getting a burn. Baseboard panels protect a child from putting their hand inside of the unit and getting cut or burned. However, these covers are not fool-proof as they are made of steel and can get very hot. The website states that they are not meant for convection heaters, only for hydronic heaters. These covers cost $50 to $170.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Brackets. You’ll need wall brackets when installing a baseboard heater if the distance from the floor to the top of the unit is less than 7 1/2". The price of the brackets averages $6 to $10 per bracket.
- Life expectancy. A baseboard heater lasts around 20 years. However, as with other items, the heater lasts longer with proper maintenance. The amount of use and climate of the area where the unit is installed also affects how long the heater will last before it needs to be replaced.
- Permit. If you have a professional HVAC company or electrician install a baseboard heater, you typically need a permit. However, local laws vary. Ask the installer if a permit will be needed and whether this carries an additional cost. In most cases, the professional will handle the process of procuring the permit.
- Saving tips. If you purchase baseboard heaters in the offseason, such as summertime, you might save not only on the price of the unit but also on installation.
- Alternatives. You have alternatives to baseboard heaters, but they can be very costly. Radiant floor heating costs around $28,000 installed in a home. A central heating unit such as a heat pump averages $10,500 installed. Wall heaters cost up to $800, including installation. Space heaters or infrared heaters run from $65 to $250 but do not require installation because they are portable. Radiant panels are very decorative but can be expensive at $200 to $5,600. A cove heater is another option that mounts on the wall or ceiling and costs $185 to $700.
- Hiring tips. When installing baseboard heaters, you should always hire either a licensed electrician or HVAC service installer to perform the task. You should always get more than one estimate when hiring someone to install your unit. Also, some people opt to use an electrician instead of an HVAC service technician. This might be the case if there is a need to do extensive wiring or install a thermostat at the same time.
- Replace electric baseboard heaters with hydronic. The hydronic electric baseboard heater does not contain heating coils but uses oil or water that is heated by the element. There is no need to change out or charge the oil or water. The drawback to this type of heater is that it builds up corrosion, rust, or calcium deposits that have to be removed. While the hydronic heater takes longer to heat up, it stays hot longer.
- Are electric baseboard heaters safe?
When installed correctly, electric baseboard heaters are relatively safe. There is no flame involved, and the unit does not release any type of carbon monoxide. However, convection units should come with a top panel cover to protect curious children or pets.
- Is electric baseboard heat efficient?
All the electricity that a baseboard heater uses is used to create heat. They are very energy efficient for heating small spaces or as a backup heat source. When used as the sole source of heat, they are not as energy-efficient and should only be used in areas where the temperatures are milder.
- Which type of heater is the cheapest to run?
Infrared heaters are very cheap to run but are a zone type heater. An energy-efficient HVAC unit is the least expensive to run and provides warmth to the temperature you choose.
- What is the most energy-efficient electric baseboard heater?
A 240-volt hydronic electric baseboard heater is the most energy-efficient. However, most people purchase a convection unit as they are less expensive.
- What is the average cost of electric baseboard heat?
To run an electric baseboard heater averages $0.08 to $0.20 per hour in energy consumption. Many things affect energy efficiency, including the wattage of the unit, if it is kept clean and free of dust, and if the unit is unblocked by furniture, window coverings, or carpet.
- Are new electric baseboard heaters more energy efficient?
As the baseboard heater ages, it loses three to seven percent transmission, so a new heater is more energy-efficient. Also, if an older unit is kept clean, it will operate more efficiently.
- How much does it cost to install electric baseboard heaters?
The average cost to install an electric baseboard heater is $550 for the heater and labor. This is for a 72-inch, 1500-watt, 240-volt electric baseboard heater installed.
- How much does it cost to install an electric heating system?
The average cost to install a central electric heating unit is $6,500 to $9,700. These systems require ductwork, an outside fan unit, an indoor unit, vents, and a thermostat, so the cost is much higher.
- Is electric heat expensive?
Electric heat can be more expensive than gas, oil, or propane. The cost of electricity varies from state to state. However, several factors determine how expensive electric heat will be. For a home that is well-insulated, thermostats at 68 degrees, and heating units that are up to date, electric heat can be highly efficient.
- What size electric baseboard heater do I need?
The answer depends on the size of the room. For instance, a 500 square foot room needs a 4,500-watt unit to provide the needed heat. If you have a room that is 250 square feet, you can use a 2,250-watt unit. A larger room that is 1,000 square feet might need a heater that puts out 9,000 watts.
- How many electric baseboard heaters do I need?
It depends on the size of the room or space that you intend to heat. In general, 10 watts of electric heating is needed for each square foot in the room. So, if you have a 10 x 10 foot room (which is 100 square feet), 1,000 watts of electric baseboard heating is needed. This is often provided with a single heater. Larger rooms may need additional heaters.