Baseboard heating is an easy and affordable way to keep your whole home heated or provide additional warmth in select areas of your home. One of the top-selling points for these heating systems is that they do not require ductwork when installed. There are two types of baseboard heating systems: electrical and hydronic. While both are similar, they have slight differences that we will explain in this article.

Taking a look at these different types of heating systems and comparing baseboard heating to forced-air heating, you can determine which one is the best for your home and meets your specific needs.

Baseboard heat vs. forced air

There are a number of advantages of baseboard heating when compared to forced air systems:

  • Baseboard heaters are silent when they operate while forced-air heating tends to be noisy due to the blowers forcing air through the duct system throughout your home.
  • Another reason why many people opt for baseboard heating is that it does not require ductwork, which translates to easy installment, specifically in older homes, which are notorious for being problematic when it comes to creating additional ducts. The bulk of maintenance needed for heating systems is attending to ducts and making sure they are in good order. Since baseboards do not require ducts, there is little to no maintenance, which is not the case for forced air systems.
  • Heat is emitted from baseboards evenly and not intermittently as is the case with forced air.

Another advantage of baseboards is that they are an economical choice and are perfect if you need to heat your home for a few months during the year or provide additional heat to compliment your home heating system.

Electric Baseboard Heating

Electric baseboard heating relies on electricity to power the baseboard. You can place these in multiple rooms in your home and they work perfectly if you would like supplemental heat in individual rooms as the need arises. This can be run in tandem with your home’s heating system. Simply run your primary heating system on a low setting and use your baseboard as well!

Baseboards are often placed beneath windows because they use the convention to produce heat. Being close to windows allows them to trap cold air before it has a chance of circulating through the room and lowering the temperature of the room. Baseboards draw in the cold air around the window through a vent and into a series of metal fins that warms the air and releases it into the room. The circular flow is called a convection current.

You can also use portable electric baseboard heaters for convenience, however, the most effective baseboards are the ones that are installed and wired into your home’s electrical circuit network. This will need to be done by an electrician.

Baseboard heating units either have an integrated thermostat attached to them or have an in-wall controller, which is used to regulate the heat.

We should note that even though electrical baseboard heating offers many advantages, it can become costly if it is run for long periods of time. This is the reason why many homeowners choose to rely on electric baseboard heating units as a secondary measure of heating their homes.

Hydronic Baseboard Heaters

Hydronic baseboard heaters function in a similar manner to their electrical counterparts. They still rely on electricity to generate heat, but not directly. Fluid within the system, which is either oil or water-based, is heated up by the electrical current. The electricity warms up the fluid, which then emits heat to the room.

Hydronic baseboard heating systems are known to heat rooms more effectively than electric baseboards because the fluid remains warm for longer periods of time compared to the metal fins in the electrical baseboards, which cool down much quicker. Homes that do use baseboard heating as the only heating system usually go with hydronic baseboards because they cost less to run than electric baseboard heating.

One of the disadvantages of hydronic baseboards is if you are using the hydronic system as your sole heating system that relies on water from the water heater, you may run into some issues because the lines may be disturbed by the constant flow of air. Another disadvantage of hydronic baseboards is that they take a longer time to warm up than electric baseboards.

If you are considering new or additional heating equipment for your home, baseboard heating is an option you should consider. Look into your options and assess the needs of your home to determine what is best for your particular situation. There are many heating and cooling options on the market. Having an understanding of all the options can help you make a decision based on what you need. 

Thermenergy is the GTA’s #1 source for all heating and cooling services. Contact one of our professionals to learn more about baseboard heating and the various heating solutions that we offer. Contact us today.